TRENTON – When the lower-chamber budget team traveled to Montclair State University two weeks ago, Assemblyman John Burzichelli, (D-3), of Paulsboro, promised 12-year-old Anthony Tumminello he would find the answer to why Gov. Chris Christie’s budget calls for $1.5 million in cuts in education services for blind children such as Tumminello.
Today, Burzichelli kept his word.
“Who determined that cutting services for blind kids was the way to go?” he asked Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff.
The cut was offered up to the state by the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, according to the state treasurer, which is equivalent to a 10 percent reduction of state funding for the visually-impaired.
CBVI Executive Director Vito DeSantis, he said, “explained that they would be able to absorb that workload from the 20 part-time instructors and the remaining 50 full-time instructors without impacting services.”
“I understand the marquee value of budget decisions. We didn’t go into this unmindful of the potential for criticism,” Sidamon-Eristoff said. “We were persuaded on the merits,” even though it realizes a “relatively small amount of savings.”
Burzichelli responded, “I suspect that gets put back in (the budget) before this is over.”