Gov. Chris Christie sent a letter to the New Jersey School Boards Association and the New Jersey Education Association Tuesday asking them to consider a wage freeze for 2009-2010 to help save jobs that could be cut because of state aid reductons.
Christie is also asking that teachers contribute 1.5 percent of their salaries to health benefit costs.
Teacher contracts are negotiated by local districts and local unions, though almost all of locals are members of the NJEA.
The school boards association is on board with the wage freeze, and in fact suggested it themselves last week.
The NJEA is not so enthused and said they would not be bullied by Christie.
Both parties would like Christie to reinstate for one year an extra income tax on residents making more than $400,000 year. Former Gov. Corzine used that tax last year to help balance his budget, but Christie has said he would not extend it. It could raise another $1 billion.
School aid is down about $820 million for next year because Christie does not have the $1 billion in federal stimulus funds Corzine used for school aid this year, which allowed him to avoid the budget mess Christie is attempting to resolve.
The Legislature still has to get its hands on the budget, so we'll see how the tax situation plays out. But unless there is an economic miracle this year, next year's revenues are not likely to generate another $1 billion for schools, so the state aid problem is not going away.