NJ Senators: Bush's Education Budget Fails New Jersey

NJ Senators: Bush's Education Budget Fails New Jersey

New Jersey Lawmakers Release Analysis of Bush Education Budget Impact on Garden State

Washington - U.S. Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) today released their assessment of the Bush education budget and its impact on New Jersey's future. The budget makes clear yet again, that our nation's students do not rank high on his priority list.
Overall, education funding is frozen under the president's budget, and 48 programs would be eliminated entirely. Cuts in afterschool programs, drug-free initiatives, technical education, and low-cost loans for college mean millions in dollars lost to New Jersey students.

"Funding education is the best investment we can make as a country. So it boggles the mind that the President's budget request would be so meager," said Sen. Menendez. "The president's request is woefully inadequate to meet the massive educational challenges our nation faces, restricting programs that raise people up, and cutting funding for programs that create pathways of opportunity. I will work with my Senate colleagues to swing open the doors of education for New Jersey students."

"President Bush's budget doesn't make the grade for our students and teachers. The budget doesn't prepare New Jersey's children for school, cuts funding for the technology our kids need in their classrooms and fails to provide the help students need to make college more affordable. I will work to make sure that Congress does not leave our children behind-and that we provide the resources New Jersey's students need to get ahead," Sen. Lautenberg said.

The two Senators, who are both members of the Senate Budget Committee, have vowed to fight the proposed cuts to critical education initiatives in New Jersey.

President Bush's proposed budget cuts funding for critical education programs as detailed below:

? Stifles Equal Opportunities for Children: The president increases funding for Title I programs, but still falls far short of reaching the level authorized by No Child Left Behind, meaning more than $200 million in unmet promises to New Jersey. If fully funded, nearly 60,000 New Jersey low-income children could receive services they were promised when the law was enacted. The budget also makes no progress in increasing the federal government's share of special education, leaving New Jersey the burden of caring for an increasing special education population.

? Keeps Young People At Risk: The Bush budget shortchanges our youth, especially those who are most at-risk for dropping out of school, joining gangs, or abusing drugs and alcohol. Critical programs like dropout prevention and mentoring would receive no funding. His budget would slash funding for afterschool programs by nearly $300 million, and instead create a voucher program, which would prevent many of our children from receiving quality after school services. New Jersey stands to lose more than $8 million from cuts to anti-drug funding under the Safe and Drug Free Schools program and the 21st Century Schools program.

? Ends Early Education Programs for Low-Income Children: While the president provides a slight increase for Head Start, which serves nearly 15,000 New Jersey students, the president's budget completely eliminates funding for Even Start. Even Start is one of the only early childhood programs that serve our most vulnerable children and families, half of whom are Latino. New Jersey has over 23 Even Start programs throughout the state.

? Leaves Technology Out of the Classroom: The president's budget completely eliminates funding for educational technology state grants, which are critical to ensuring our children grow up well rounded and technologically savvy to compete in today's economy. Last year, New Jersey received more than $5 million in funding for education technology.

? Eliminates Job and Skills Training for Youth: Once again the president puts vocational education on the chopping block, which provides high school and community college students the opportunity to learn essential job training and technical skills. The budget would also eliminate Tech Prep grants, which provide students technical skills for two years of high school and two years of community college. New Jersey would lose more than $27 million from these cuts.

? Denies Key College Assistance for Students: While the president provides a slight increase in funding for Pell Grants, his budget eliminates funding for key federal assistance programs that help students afford college, such as supplemental educational opportunity grants and low-cost Perkins loans, and provides no increase for work study grants. These programs provide more than $60 million in federal aid to some 60,000 New Jersey students, many of whom, without this aid, could not afford college.