LLANJ announces its enthusiastic support for Governor Christies’ funding proposal for Opportunity Scholarship Demonstration Grants

100 Jersey Ave. | B104 - Box 15 | New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901
Telephone: 732.249.0400 - Fax: 732.249.0206
www.llanj.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 26, 2013

New Brunswick, (February 26) The Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey (LLANJ) announces its enthusiastic support for Governor Christies’ funding proposal for Opportunity Scholarship Demonstration Grants. In his budget address today, Governor Christie told legislator that he is providing $2 million in scholarship grants to allow children in chronically failing schools to attend out-of-district public schools or nonpublic schools.

While specific details are yet to be released, the issue of children trapped in failing schools has been before the legislature for more than a decade with no action taken. The most recent bill, the “Opportunity Scholarship Act” would have provided scholarships to children attending failing schools in a limited number of school districts. The Latino Leadership Alliance has consistently supported these scholarships as a means of providing a choice to families typically forced to send children to a failing school based solely on their zip code.

The Education committee of LLANJ has testified numerous times in legislative hearings about the need for immediate relief for the children stuck in failing schools. LLANJ Vice President, Luis Vargas stated: “We are pleased that the Governor is taking action no matter how large or small the demonstration project may be. It is important to start NOW – the educational lifetime of a child is all too brief and precious years lost to political bureaucracy are irretrievable”.

The Latino Leadership Alliance has noted that while New Jersey has some of the finest public schools, the state is also home to some of the worst schools – and that Latino and Black students, by virtue of their zip codes, are under-represented in the better schools and over represented in the worst schools. LLANJ Ed Committee Co-Chair Patricia Bombelyn stated: “Although modest in size the Governor's Opportunity Scholarship Pilot Plan will give parents hope and inspire more to mobilize in demanding educational justice for the thousands trapped in chronically failing schools”.

Latino Leadership Alliance President Martin Perez, present at today’s budget address in Trenton stated: “While some in the legislative leadership have held hostage past efforts to pass a scholarship bill, the Governor’s bold actions today show his steadfast commitment to provide high quality educational opportunity to children who are denied access to good schools by virtue of their zip code”

For more information please contact Luis Vargas 732 910 7555 or Patricia Bombelyn 732 397 8707