Christie calls parts of plan to revamp NJ schools ‘discouraging and unfair’

PENNINGTON, N.J. — Gov. Chris Christie said he finds parts of the Democratic leaders’ plan to revamp aid to schools “discouraging and unfair,” but added he finds parts of it “encouraging.”

Christie commented on Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto and Senate President Steve Sweeney’s agreement on Tuesday after an unrelated announcement about transportation funding.

Christie said he would be meeting with the leaders who control the Legislature this week.

The plan would provide $100 million in new aid for underfunded districts and $25 million to expand pre-school. It also includes $46 million in aid that was given to some districts to prevent a drop in funding under the 2008 school funding formula.

Sweeney called it “a landmark first step toward restoring fairness.”

“This is a win for the parents and children in districts like Kingsway and Chesterfield, Paterson and Bayonne that have been grappling with staff and program cuts because of the state’s failure to provide the state aid it should,” Sweeney said.

All 16 Senate Republicans on Tuesday signed onto a letter to Christie opposing the plan.