New Jersey School District Restores Foreign Language Program

Reversing its decision to cut foreign language study, the school system in Wayne, New Jersey, has restored its foreign language program for middle schoolers.  Here’s the story by Adrea Alexander from North

WAYNE — Middle schoolers will be able to continue foreign language when school resumes in the fall. And the cafeteria and playground aides for the elementary and middle schools will return to their jobs.

Both items initially cut from the revenue-strapped 2010-11 school budget this spring have been restored as district officials juggle accounts: The district will use money freed up by savings in retirements and health insurance renewal costs to return some items to the $135.9 million budget.

Savings from retirements are estimated to be about $780,000, said Business Administrator Juanita Petty. The district also was able to negotiate a better health insurance renewal rate for a savings of $500,000, Petty said.

Contract concessions also saved the district some money. The principals, buildings and grounds supervisors and playground aides all agreed to salary freezes and made concessions in benefits, school board President Robert Ceberio said.

“Those are the three major issues that allowed us to add on these items, which were not known at the time the budget [tax proposal] was put out for referendum,” Ceberio said.

The district, whose proposed operational tax was supported by voters in April, used the spare money to restore the middle school foreign language program to ensure compliance with state regulations requiring some sort of exposure to foreign languages. Offering the program to eighth-graders also provides those students the opportunity to study a foreign language for five years before college.


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