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Karcher Urges Feds To Act On School Heating Assistance Bill

TRENTON – Today, the Senate Education Committee approved Senate Resolution 13, sponsored by Senator Ellen Karcher, which calls on Congress and the President to enact the “School Energy Crisis Relief Act” currently pending on Capitol Hill.

“New Jersey schools are feeling the pinch of dramatically higher energy costs this year –resulting in tough cuts to bridge the gap,” said Senator Karcher, D-Mercer and Monmouth. “Already, Marlboro Township schools are counteracting higher costs by lowering their thermostats, creating a less productive learning environment for our students. As a mother, this is an unacceptable solution and the federal government needs to take action in addressing this national problem.”

The “School Energy Crisis Relief Act” would award grants to school districts that have experienced the highest increases, either as a percentage or absolute amount, in transportation and heating fuel costs between the current school year and last school year. The grants would be awarded based on population of children and the regional cost of transportation and heating fuel.

“This is a nationwide crisis brought on by a sub par federal energy policy over the last few years. Drivers and homeowners have seen for themselves how fuel prices have skyrocketed. School budgets are simply not able to handle such large increases in costs,” explained Senator Karcher.

Senator Karcher noted that this would not be a permanent fix to the problem that rising fuel costs are having on school districts and added, “President Bush and the U.S. Congress need to step in and provide relief to our schools before they have to make cuts to educational programs just to be able to afford to heat their buildings and run their buses.”

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