TRENTON, August 11, 201 4— The executive director of the New Jersey School Boards Association today thanked Governor Christie for his absolute veto of legislation that would have restricted school district and local government efforts to save taxpayer funds by subcontracting services. Christie announced the veto of the union-backed legislation, S-770/A-2873, on August 8.
In a 2009 survey conducted by NJSBA, school boards reported over $34 million in annual savings through the subcontracting of non-instructional services, such as maintenance, transportation, and food services.
“Local school boards have directed the savings achieved through subcontracting to classroom activities, including hiring and retaining instructional staff, and to help control property taxes,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, NJSBA executive director. “We thank Governor Christie for rejecting this legislation, which is clearly not in the interest of taxpayers and the educational programs they fund.”
In his veto message, the governor stated that, by creating “an onerous and overly bureaucratic, process-laden system for privatizing government services,” the legislation would frustrate state and local efforts to save taxpayer dollars. These restrictions include what the governor termed an “arbitrary prohibition” on contracts longer than five years, as well as a requirement that a subcontractor’s employees receive wages and benefits “equal to or exceeding those of the agency employees currently performing the services.”
Christie vetoed similar legislation during the previous session of the state legislature.
For over three decades, NJSBA has successfully opposed special interest legislation to restrict subcontracting in school districts.
“In a time of limited resources, it is particularly critical that local boards of education retain the discretion to direct as much funding as possible toward the classroom,” said Feinsod. “For many school districts, subcontracting can be an important financial option.”