SCHOOLS: Officials ponder how to spend jobs aid

By Natalia Knochowski, Staff Writer
   Cranbury, Jamesburg and Monroe Township’s school districts will receive a portion of New Jersey’s Education Job Fund program, but officials still are deciding where the money will go.
   According to the New Jersey’s Department of Education website, Cranbury will receive $25,487, Jamesburg, $163,197, and Monroe Township, $154,734.
   According to the program outline on the website, the Education Jobs Fund, or Ed Jobs, is a $10 billion program that aims to help states “save or create education jobs.”
   New Jersey will get a total of $262,742,643, and school districts must use the money for the 2010-11 school year, then any remaining funds by Sept. 30, 2012.
   According to the program outline, “A district must use its funds only for compensation and benefits and other expenses, such as support services, necessary to retain existing employees, to recall or rehire former employees and to hire new employees in order to provide early childhood, elementary or secondary educational related services.”
   Cranbury Chief School Administrator John Haney said the $25,487 has to be used for salaries and benefits, but the Board of Education still has to meet with the Finance Committee.
   Jamesburg Superintendent of Schools Gail Verona said the board still has to discuss how the $163,197 will be used. She said she and the Board of Education will consider carefully what to use the money for, and there will be a determination at the next school board meeting Oct. 21.
   Dr. Kenneth Hamilton, Monroe Township School District superintendent, also said there has been no decision made, and he and the board are going to be speaking with the Finance Committee.
   He did, however, say he has been looking at classroom sizes at Oak Tree School and also what the budget will be next year.
   ”It may be prudent to reserve some money for next year,” Dr. Hamilton said.