Cerf defends FY13 education funding

TRENTON – The state’s Education chief defended the governor’s budget proposal today before lawmakers and delivered an assessment of charter schools facing closure.

Acting Department of Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf called Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed education budget “the single most generous budget that has ever been proposed by any prior governor or any prior administration in the state’s history” during an Assembly budget hearing on Monday morning.

Christie’s budget proposal provides for $11.7 billion in school aid, which includes $7.8 billion in K-12 formula aid, an increase of $135 million over last year. The budget proposal calls for $213 million in additional state aid, Cerf told the committee during his testimony.

Cerf, who noted that the state’s education results compare favorably to other states in the nation, said there are still “a couple hundred schools in the state where children are failing at catastrophic levels.”

“While we celebrate our successes, we need to be terribly honest about the work that lies ahead,” Cerf said.

Cerf also said that by the end of this year the department will have closed 10 percent of the charter schools in the state because the department “doesn’t think they’re delivering.” Cerf defends FY13 education funding