By John Mooney (Courtesy of NJ Spotlight)
Defeated again in his latest try for a school voucher program, Gov. Chris Christie last week said he isn’t giving up just yet on the proposed Opportunity Scholarship Act, even if the Legislature doesn’t appear to be going along. When asked his top priorities going forward with what has been a busy education agenda, Christie said at a press conference that passing the long-debated, long-stalled school voucher bill is No. 1.
“I think it is very important in districts where the public schools are failing to give parents an option to go someplace else,” Christie said. “I think that’s a very important priority.”
As Christie runs for reelection this fall against Democratic challenger Barbara Buono, the voucher proposal has been the one major piece of the governor’s education platform yet to be realized. The Legislature came close a few times but never mustered the votes for even a limited pilot program.
Christie tried a new tack in his latest state budget, inserting $2 million for an even smaller pilot in one or two districts, but the Democratic-led Legislature pulled that, too. When asked if a new bill was forthcoming that his administration would back, Christie yesterday pinned his hopes on the lame-duck session after the upcoming election.
“It will be after the election, I don’t see it happening before then,” he said. “Miracles happen in lame-duck after elections, so let’s see. We’ll certainly be focused on it.”
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