Assembly Democrats Wilson And Mainor To Create Pilot Program Extending The Public School Day And Year In NJ

An Assembly committee on Thursday cleared legislation that would create a pilot program to weigh the merits of extending the public school day and year in New Jersey. The bill, sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gilbert L. “Whip” Wilson and Charles Mainor, would establish a three-year pilot program that would increase the length of the school day and school year in participating public school districts to evaluate the effect on student achievement, and provide tax credits for corporate contributions to fund the program.

“The goal of the pilot program will be to study the effects of a longer school day and school year on advancing student achievement, enhancing the overall school learning environment, and increasing student enrichment opportunities and educational offerings,” said Wilson (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Considering the potential benefits to our students, it’s worth looking into.”

“Much has been said about the benefits of longer instructional time, especially on low-income students whose families may not be able to afford private tutoring or after school activities,” said Mainor (D-Hudson). “We want to give our students the best tools to succeed academically. This program will help us determine whether additional time in the classroom really makes a difference.”

Under the bill, a school district that wants to participate in the pilot program must submit an application to the state Commissioner of Education. The application must provide information on the number of hours that the school day will be increased and the number of days that the school year will be lengthened, and must include documentation that participation in the pilot program is supported by a majority of school district staff and parents of students enrolled in the district.

The commissioner will select up to 25 school districts to participate in the pilot program, and will submit a report to the governor and the Legislature no later than June 30 of the third school year following the creation of the pilot program, evaluating its effectiveness and making a recommendation on whether to continue and extend the program to additional school districts.

Under the bill, the director of the Division of Taxation in the Department of Treasury will establish a three-year program to provide tax credits to corporations which contribute funding to the Department of Education to fund the costs associated with the pilot program. The total tax credit of all participating corporations is capped at $24 million the first state fiscal year, $48 million the second state fiscal year, and $72 million the third state fiscal year. If the sum of the amount of tax credits authorized in a state fiscal year exceeds the aggregate annual limits, tax credits will be allowed in the order in which contributions are made until the limit is reached.

The bill would take effect immediately.

The bill was released 7-3 by the Assembly Education Committee. TLS.

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  1. Instead of extending the day and school year, how about providing enough “Up To Date” learning materials such as books and things the schools are in short supply of first. Supply the classroom with much needed materials for teachers to teach with and students to learn from. Lets bring our schools into the modern times. It’s time to get out the dark ages.. Otherwise we will revert back to the “One Room Schoolhouse” having 25 kids and 1 school book.

  2. I agree with writer #1. We don’t even have the technology to really engage the kids and keep their attention. There is only one Smart Board in the entire school that I work in. There are only 2-3 working document cameras, and a couple of projectors. Even worse, this year we didn’t have enough desks for the kids to sit at. We were short about 30-40 desks and the students had to sit at crowded tables and store their books at other locations around the classroom. We only ended up getting desks in April, due to the standardized testing. The situation in the public schools needs to be addressed!

  3. I commiserate with you on the lack of desks you had to deal with this year. What a challenge that must have been!

    I respectfully differ with you on the Smart Board issue. There may be only one Smart Board in the school where you teach, but the school where I teach has none at all. And if we “don’t … have technology to really engage the kids and keep their attention”, we teach without it!

    Children can be engaged without technology!

    Our children can be motivated to learn even if we lack the tools we’d love to use. Overhead projectors, smartboards, printers, computer stations — all are wonderful resources, all can enhance imparting knowledge to our charges, yet none are essential to the learning process.

  4. Extend the school day. Extend the school year. Then don’t forget to extend the teacher’s and administration salaries to go along with the added time required. Now tell me about your already high school taxes. Are you ready to pay more to educate kids who mostly don’t want to be in school?

  5. To #2: It’s sad to read what you are saying in regards to your school, BUT you gave a good point in saying your school has nothing. Why should your school be left in the dark? Many students may be illiterate when it comes to computers since many machines are outdated in the classroom or they have none at all. How can you teach students the basics of a computer when you do not have one in the classroom? Does it come down to the point of like playing the silent piano? Just draw a computer on cardboard and improvise? I don’t think so..

  6. Another point to consider is that I don’t believe that the public school teaching staff would agree to work for a longer day and school year. Lakewood teachers are already the lowest paid in the whole Ocean County. I could go and teach in Marlboro or Manalapan and make $15,000 extra per year. Increasing the school day and year would make working in the Lakewood public school even more undesirable.

  7. I teach in a non-public school. We are not able to charge very much tuition because the vast majority of our students come from low-income homes.

    It is granted that the part of teaching that is hands-on, such as demonstrating a computer and how to use it, cannot easily be done without the actual equipment.

    But the ability to teach, to challenge and to inspire the spirit, depends on the teacher and the eagerness of the students.

  8. Will the classrooms have air conditioning? How much teaching and learning can properly go on during the heat of the summer months? Remember how hot it got in May?? Will the teachers (who are already working without contract) be paid extra for the extra time? Extended school year, yes! Adequate compensation in Lakewood, probably not!!

  9. I mean if the public schools did do an extended day program or extended year they would have to pay teachers more. Teachers are contracted for 6.5 hr school days. Anything above is either given an hourly rate or a percentage of the salary.
    Just to put into perspective if they agreed to 1 hr extra per school day st an avg of 40 per hr. that would be about 7200 on avg extra just for the regular 180 day school day.
    I just don’t know where that money is going to come from.

    That being said I actually think extending the day could be a great thing for the kids. It could offer more time for smaller group and hands on instruction w students. It could also allow for students to have access to elective classes. I.e music art. Culinary arts auto shop etc…. Which have been cut back on due to time constraints.

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