As voters prepare to head to the polls for one of the most difficult budgets in decades, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez was out Monday drumming up support for the federal “Keep Our Educators Working Act.” The federal act, sort of a "stimulus II" would create a $23 billion Education Jobs Fund to prevent teacher and education job losses.
Memendez's press information says New Jersey's allocation would be $628 million. That's not quite enough to make up for the $820 million shortfall in school aid for next year, but it would go a long way toward preventing the thousands of planned layoffs. Remember it was $ 1 billion in federal stimulus funds that allowed former Gov. Jon S. Corzine to protect schools from the recession this year.
The funds are already in a federal jobs bill passed by the House in December, but must still pass in the Senate. If the bill does pass, the federal government would have 180 days to distribute the funds.