Senate panel considers N.J. education budget

    Gov. Chris Christie’s ideas for reforming public education will likely to be scrutinized when Democrats examine his proposed budget for schools.

    Acting Education Commissioner Chris Cerf will testify before the panel Thursday.

    Christie’s proposed budget includes a $213 million increase in school aid over last year, which reverses some cuts the governor made two years ago.

    School aid overall tops $8.8 billion in the proposed budget. That figure includes aid for preschool and special education, charter schools and building aid. The biggest piece — $7.8 billion — comes in aid to public schools.

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    Christie’s budget includes a $14 million increase in school choice aid. He supports a voucher program allowing students in failing districts to attend school elsewhere, along with charter schools in urban districts, and tenure reform.

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