New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced last week that all school districts in the state will see at least a 2 percent increase in operating budgets. This signals an overall $850 million in state education funding, The Inquirer reports.
The announcement comes more than one year after the state saw some of the largest educational funding cuts in history.
It also comes a day after Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) blocked two of Christie's education reform proposals from being introduced as bills. The governor suggests adjusting teacher tenure and evaluations by ridding the state of teacher seniority protections and linking teacher salaries to performance.
"I've never been a fan of merit pay. I don't believe in it," Sweeney told the Associated Press. "Sometimes when you have merit pay, you have the ability to have favorites. A real hard teacher gets less money than another teacher because he or she is not the favorite."
Sweeney and Christie have, for a while, butted heads on many issues, and The Star Ledger reports that Sweeney essentially has veto power over Christie and can block any bill from reaching the Senate floor. In a Star-Ledger interview last week, Sweeney called Christie a "rotten prick."
Although Sweeney supports some of Christie's tenure reform proposals, the senator and other critics say seniority protections keep districts from laying off older teachers just to save on retirement costs, the AP reports.