State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz visited North Judson-San Pierre schools Friday afternoon. She didn’t directly address this week’s failed general fund referendum but did speak to high school students about the significance of corporations like N.J.-S.P. to the communities they serve.
“Your schools are part of your community. It keeps your community together,” Ritz told students gathered in the cafeteria. “It’s where people meet and gather. Your football sectional tonight will be full of everybody from your community that will be there. That’s what it’s all about, making sure everybody is one big family in your area.”
Ritz notes 52-percent of the state’s budget funds K-12 schools. However she says that figure is misleading, as a sizable chunk of money now goes to charter schools and other non-public offerings. As a result, Ritz says public school funds have been cut.
Funding reductions have led corporations to slash programs in order to stretch their resources. Ritz says she wants to ensure all students have access to all types of quality programs so students can have what they need to go forward and be successful.
After speaking to the students, Ritz told WKVI News it’s time to have a conversation at the state level about how to ensure money is available for programs at schools across the state, regardless of their size. She notes one problem is the way funds are tied to enrollment.