I’m Rich Fortunato and I’m running for State Assembly in District 22 on November 7th. I am putting out these statements so that you can make an educated choice when you vote on November 7th.
I believe that parents ought to have more choices available to them to educate their children. Whatever town or school district they live in, parents ought to be able to use their share of school tax dollars to educate their children as they choose, as long as the school they pick is an accredited one.
In many other states, people have many school choice options available to them. Why don't we? Because some politicians, generally Democrats like Assemblymen Green and Kennedy, do not want to give parents real choices when it comes to how their children are educated. They are putting special interests and campaign contributors ahead of the people they claim to represent.
I will work to make more school choices available to parents, grandparents and others who responsible for the education of children. Don’t think that school choice is a reflection on our public school teachers. It isn’t. It is a way to introduce some basic competition to incentivize all schools, public, charter and private, to do better, and to give parents more choice in how their children are educated.
One option that should be available is 'education savings accounts'. The local school district would make available to any parent an amount of money (for example, 90% of what the district would spend on the child) for each school age child, and the parent would be able to spend that money on tuition and expenses at any school which satisfies basic state qualification requirements. Arizona has this program. We should too.
Another option is a voucher system, similar to the GI Bill set up after World War II. Each parent would receive for each school age child a voucher worth a certain amount of money that could be spent to pay for tuition at any qualified school. The school could be the local public school, another public school nearby, or a private school as long as it met certain minimum qualifications.
For example, if a school district spends $12,000 a year per pupil, a parent would receive $10,800 into an education savings account (or a voucher for $10,800) for each school age child which could be used, as the parent decides, to educate their child.
Imagine the effects of either of these programs. Local school districts would have an incentive to do better so that they could attract students (now it seems that they are, perversely, incentivized not to do well so they can argue for more school aid). And, more importantly, thousands of parents would be overjoyed at being able to decide for themselves how their children should be educated.
We should have more school choices available here in New Jersey. If you think that makes sense, please vote for me on November 7th in Column B (Column A in Dunellan and Middlesex). See fortunatoforassembly.com for more information.