AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera testified July 28 during the second of two virtual hearings hosted this week by Gov. Phil Murphy regarding the use of New Jersey’s share of American Rescue Plan funds.

She began by addressing educators’ concerns about “the health of their buildings: temperature, water, ventilation, air quality. … Students need to go back into buildings, and they need to be back in buildings in September, but they need to be back in buildings that are safe.”

Chiera then moved on to the “lack of human resources for our students.”

“We’ve been on this roller coaster of funding,” she explained, “where there’s money in the district, the state gives a large amount of money, we put programs [and personnel] in place … and two years down the road, funding goes away, people go away, buildings fall into more despair.

“But the one issue we need to focus on, and whether it’s PreK through 12 or higher ed, we need to focus on getting people back into a regular school, traditional building in September.”

Chiera also highlighted three key areas that she included in detailed written testimony submitted prior to the virtual hearing. Among the topics she addressed as her time was winding down: encouraging vaccination, continuing robust COVID-19 testing, the cleaning of school buildings and the need for academic supports for teachers.

“We need to make sure all stakeholders are brought to the table,” she said.

Similar Posts