Murphy budget address

Gov. Phil Murphy gives his first budget address Tues., March 13 in Trenton to the New Jersey legislature.

Several education bills addressing issues including workforce development, financial aid and school meal program access will be up for a vote Thursday in the state Legislature.

Some of the bills up for consideration were advanced last week by New Jersey Senate and Assembly committees.

On April 5, the Senate Higher Education Committee approved four bills to move forward to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

The first would establish a two-generational school readiness and workforce development pilot program for low-income households.

The second bill would help relieve state college students’ loan debt by requiring the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority to establish an income-driven repayment plan and loan rehabilitation option for borrowers.

A third bill would help new teachers with state college loan debt and chronically failing school systems by establishing a loan-redemption program. A participant would be required to be a resident of New Jersey and a certified teacher who obtained initial employment to teach in a high-need field at a chronically failing school, several of which are lo-cated in The Press of At-lantic City coverage area.

A final bill would amend laws to allow those residents who are incarcerated to receive state student grants and scholarships.

Meanwhile, a bill that would establish a grant program to assist New Jersey public colleges in coordinating services to assist veterans in pursuing higher education is scheduled for a vote by the full Senate on Thursday.

In addition, the Senate on Thursday will consider a bill requiring the commissioner of education to develop guidelines encouraging high school students to participate in apprenticeship training.

Another bill being considered by the full Senate requires the education commissioner to include data on chronic absenteeism and disciplinary suspensions on the School Report Card. It also requires public schools to make efforts to combat chronic absenteeism.

On April 5, the Assembly Appropriations Committee also approved sev-eral bills that are moving to a full vote Thursday.

Included in those was a package of four bills to expand student access to federally funded breakfast and lunch.

Another bill, Alyssa’s Law, requires public school buildings to be equipped with emergency light and panic alarms linked to local law enforcement.

A third bill permits candidates for school board to circulate petitions jointly and be bracketed together on the ballot. The measure was approved by the full Senate on March 26.

A fourth bill allows certain students, including undocumented immigrants who meet certain criteria, to qualify for state student financial-aid programs. The bill was approved by the full Senate on March 26.

Contact: 609-272-7251 Twitter @clairelowe

Staff Writer

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.

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