At the eleventh hour, however, a
The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman
It would also have exempted the charter-like schools from a requirement under the Grow New Jersey program that the application for and awarding of tax credits must be provided prior to commencement of construction of projects.
That could have benefited
The Assembly and Senate Budget Committees were scheduled to vote on the bill late Tuesday, in time for
"The idea behind [the bill] is recognizing that school construction is an economic development engine," Singleton said. He added that last year's Economic Opportunity Act was designed to promote such development.
"I feel, and some of my colleagues feel, this is a natural extension of that," he said. "It's going to create a significant number of jobs, both full-, part-time, and direct and indirect. So it fits with that law."
Then, with no immediate explanation, the tax credits were pulled from the measure.
Singleton said the bill was also intended to address the aftermath of layoffs in the
In May, the district laid off 272 district employees, 206 of them teachers, effective
Because state law requires layoffs to be based on seniority, many teachers who have spent the most time with the district kept their jobs. The bill would provide incentives for those of a certain age and length of experience -- and those with tenure -- to retire, potentially paving the way to bring back some of the newer teachers who were laid off.
KIPP is to open in a temporary facility in the fall with 100 kindergarten students, who will then move to a permanent 110,000-square-foot facility for elementary and middle-school students in the fall of 2015, organizers have said.
The facility, at
KIPP has proposed to eventually have five schools in a mini-network serving 3,000 children in
The academy was created in a partnership among KIPP Charter Schools; the
Norcross is the predominant Democratic political power broker in
Two other school operators -- Mastery Charter and Uncommon Schools -- have received preliminary approval to open Renaissance schools in
The district announced that Mastery and Uncommon would temporarily use space in currently underutilized public school buildings. Mastery will share the unused portion of
Mastery has experience with such "turnaround" schools in
The bill being considered Tuesday would have revised the Urban Hope Act to say Renaissance schools may include existing facilities that have undergone substantial reconstruction.
The legislation would also offer benefits to school district employees who retire under the Public Employees' Retirement System or
Early retirement benefits would be available for one year, if the school board votes to provide them.
Employees would have one month to file an application for benefits and two months to retire.
Under the bill, employees who are at least 50 and have 25 years of service credit in the pension system would be eligible for an additional three years of service credit.
Employees who are 60 or older and have served at least 20 but less than 25 years would also qualify for that benefit.
The bill would provide an additional
Singleton said it would be difficult to assess the costs because it was impossible to know how many employees would apply for the benefits.
Asked earlier in the evening why the bill was being rushed through
"I think, as we get to the end of this time of year, there are some issues that take high priority," Singleton said. "This is one that popped up on the screen."
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