Christie Vetoes Early Retirement Incentives for Teachers

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Chris Christie used his conditional veto power to reject one portion of a broader bill that would make it easier for privately run schools to operate in New Jersey.

The portion of the bill vetoed by Christie would have given certain teachers–specifically, those likely to face layoffs in the near future–a range of perks to retire early. From NJ.com:

Gov. Chris Christie has rejected changes to the Urban Hope Act, specifically taking exception to language that would allow Camden public school teachers to retire early.

The change, he wrote in his conditional veto Monday, would put too much of a strain on an already floundering state pension system.

“The bill … authorizes early retirement incentives to certain school district employees, and may exacerbate the solvency of the pension system,” Christie wrote.

Christie asked the Legislature to reconsider the bill without the retirement incentives.

Specifically, the vetoed portion would have offered early retirement incentives to school employees in Camden, New Jersey.

The Urban Hope Act, if passed, would open the door for charter schools to operate in Camden. But the city has already had to lay off nearly 250 public school employees, and more layoffs are likely on the way.

That’s why public teacher’s unions negotiated the line item in the bill giving teachers a chance to retire early as opposed to being laid off. From NJ Spotlight:

The bill had included an expansive early retirement package that had irked some on both the Democratic and Republican sides.

Assemblyman Troy Singleton, D-Camden, had said the package was only fair in the face of expected layoffs and other cuts in Camden. The New Jersey Education Association supported the early retirement piece, but nonetheless opposed the bill overall.

But Christie called the early retirement package hypocritical at a time when the state is grappling with a pension liability crisis.

The bill now goes back to the Senate. If the legislature approves Christie’s changes, the bill will go back to Christie. He is expected to pass the bill if it stays intact.

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