Voices From NJ Spotlight
From charter school arguments in a small Burlington County town, to Internet gambling, to the ongoing struggle to recover from superstorm Sandy, plenty of provocative statements were made on NJ Spotlight last week. Here’s another chance to catch up.
Small Town, Big Battle Over Charter
“This explains why we don’t have middle school sports, why we have larger class sizes.”
-- Donna Ambrosius, superintendent of the 1,700-student K-12 Florence school district. Ambrosius and local school officials in Florence were opposed to the expansion of Riverbank Charter School for Excellence, particularly because the cost of paying for more students to attend the charter could be financially devastating to the district..
“It just got to be too much,” she said, citing the public outcry and a petition drive against the school’s proposal. “We just put the kids first and thought about how this was affecting all the students in the township.”
-- Beth Kelley, principal and nonvoting board member of Riverbank Charter School for Excellence, after the school withdrew its expansion application..
Help For NJ's Gambling Addicts
“Our state cannot carelessly create a new generation of addicted gamers, sitting in their homes, using laptops or iPads, gambling their salaries and their futures.”
-- Gov. Chris Christie made increased funding for gambling addiction a condition of legalizing Internet gambling. In a rare instance of bipartisan support, Democrats said they agreed with the governor’s conditions..
The Struggle to Recover From Sandy
“At first there was no information. And now that it’s there, the reality has sunk in that nobody has any answers . . . Every time you think you can take a step back to your home, there’s another setback.”
-- Faith Liguori, a trained disaster-response counselor who’s staying in a friend’s summer cottage after losing the first floor of her house in Seaside Park to the superstorm..
Caring for Some of NJ’s Most Vulnerable Residents
"If he went to another development center . . . everything would be strange, the buildings, the environment, the staff. There wouldn’t be one thing familiar . . . I’m devastated because he’s been there since January of ’88 . . . Woodbridge is really all he’s known.”
-- Juana Mitchell of Bloomfield. Her son Kerr, 41, lives at the Woodbridge Developmental Center, one of two large institutions the state plans to close within the next five years. She's one of many family members asking the state take another look at its decision..
Life Sciences, New Jersey
"The growth in biotech is encouraging. As the [Jones Lang LaSalle] report points out, our location is a huge advantage. We have some huge assets. But the idea of concentrating on Fortune 100 companies locating superlarge facilities in New Jersey is not the path to our prosperity. And we’re likely to suffer more as decisions are continuing to be made to consolidate the larger operations.”
-- Gordon MacInnes, president of New Jersey Policy Perspective, commenting on a report from commercial real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle that shows the NY-NJ region slipped to seventh place among metropolitan life sciences clusters in 2012, down from second place in 2011..