PATERSON, NJ - Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (D-Bergen/Passaic) has been appointed to serve in several key capacities on the New Jersey Legislature’s Joint Committee on the Public Schools.

With the committee’s 2012-2013 subcommittee appointments being handed out, Wimberly will serve on both the School Facilities and Construction subcommittee and the Student & Field Services subcommittee, which oversees after school programs and special education.

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 “I welcome the opportunity to serve on these integral committees,” said Wimberly. “We are at a crossroads right now with so much attention focused on the direction of our public schools.  The administration’s funding cuts for school construction projects and after-school programs have made it increasingly difficult for our public schools to address the needs of our students.  I look forward to working with my fellow committee members to tackle these issues so that every student in New Jersey can have access to a quality education.”

The Joint Committee on the Public Schools provides an ongoing study of the system of free public schools; its financing, administration and operations, and makes recommendations for legislative action. Created by statute in 1975, the committee is comprised of 14 members of the Legislature from both the Senate and General Assembly. Appointments are made by the Senate President and Speaker of the General Assembly.

The Joint Committee has been at the forefront of many important educational initiatives.

When the state took over the operations of the school districts in Jersey City, Paterson and Newark, the Joint Committee began continuous interaction with the superintendents, boards and community, and held numerous public meetings to provide a forum for transparency of the process, as well as being a reporting agent to the Legislature.

In 1995, the Joint Committee's research into the nation's relatively new charter school laws played a major role for the Legislature in developing and refining a legislative proposal that culminated in former Governor Christine Whitman's signing of this enactment the following year.

Since 2002, the Joint Committee has taken the lead in providing legislative and public awareness regarding matters of school construction.