Trenton – Senate President Pro Tempore M. Teresa Ruiz today highlighted the significant investments in education, childcare and public assistance programs included in the FY2022 Budget.
“The budget we passed represents the culmination of months of long meetings and thoughtful deliberations which resulted in over $468 million of state and federal money being invested in our children’s future,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex), chair of the Senate Education Committee and a member of the Senate Budget Committee.
“Throughout our budget process, I fought hard to ensure we included meaningful investments in the education of our children. The increase in extraordinary special education and early intervention funding will reduce the financial burden placed on local districts and ensure our students with intellectual and developmental disabilities are receiving the support that they need,” said Senator Ruiz. “We also included funding for innovative programs to ensure our schools are not only providing extraordinary academic instruction but are also taking care of our students as a whole.”
Senator Ruiz, who has been adamant about the need to study and address the impact of the pandemic on students, highlighted the language she included requiring the Department of Education to analyze the effectiveness of federal stimulus dollars on closing academic learning gaps, accelerating learning, closing the digital divide and improving the social and emotional well-being of students.
“As we look to address the learning loss and close the achievement gap, it’s crucial we have a thorough understanding of what has worked thus far to ensure we are spending our money on effective programming.”
Working to further address challenges exacerbated by the pandemic, Senator Ruiz advocated for the inclusion of $100 million for childcare revitalization, “It is critical we have the infrastructure in place to support the anticipated move back to in-person work. The $100 million committed for childcare revitalization will ensure providers around the state are able to keep their doors open and meet the growing demand expected in the months ahead. We cannot afford to allow this industry to collapse; this much needed investment will ensure they are able to continue to serve their communities and care for our children.”