With new foreclosure cases continuing to pour into New Jersey courts, administrators have taken a key step to unclog the legal system.
Lenders filed more than 49,000 new foreclosure cases here in 2013, the fourth highest total in New Jersey history, according to data from the state Administrative Office of the Courts. But even that significant figure lagged far behind last year’s astounding number of foreclosure dismissals -- 83,500 cases.
The explanations behind the numbers are simple, but deciphering their ramifications is challenging even for attorneys close to the process. Court officials describe the change as potentially beneficial to all parties involved, but results may vary.» Click here for the full post
Wildfires are a fact of life in forests, particularly in the Pinelands, where they contribute to a healthy ecosystem. But they also can threaten lives and homes when not contained.
To reduce the hazards posed by wildfires, not an infrequent occurrence in South Jersey, lawmakers are renewing efforts to allow forestry officials to conduct prescribed burns in the state’s woodlands.
The bill () is identical to legislation pocket vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie in the lame-duck session that ended in January. Modeled after similar programs in at least 10 other states, the measure is backed by conservation groups and the New Jersey Farm Bureau. » Click here for the full post
A New Jersey healthcare landscape with fewer hospitals and less direct interaction between doctors and patients – but one in which more patients receive high quality healthcare – was sketched out by one of the state’s most prominent healthcare leaders at an NJ Spotlight conference late last week.
Keynote speaker Dr. Jeffrey Brenner led the charge into this new world by describing some of the fundamental flaws in the state’s healthcare delivery system, which he believes can be alleviated by adopting a model called accountable care organizations, which emphasize coordination by healthcare providers and pays them more if they actually improve the health outcomes of patients, rather than just paying them for each service they deliver.
Brenner leads the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, which could soon apply to be an ACO for the state’s Medicaid program.» Click here for the full post
President Barack Obama recently announced an initiative to help young men of color fare better on any number of life outcomes such as health, education, and participation in the workforce. The components of the initiative have not yet been described in detail.
As reported in the general media, the Department of Education will find ways to work with states, localities, and school districts to discourage out-of school suspensions -- which have been afor young males of color.
The initiative lifts up an entire industry that has emerged over the past 20 years centered on assisting males of color. Much of it is supported by philanthropy and increasingly the public sector through local school districts searching for ways to narrow the educational achievement gap. These programs span a wide range of issues, including fatherhood counseling, workforce development, paths to manhood, and getting disconnected youth back in school.» Click here for the full post
Twitter may have a 140-character limit, but with 241 million monthly active users worldwide, the chatter adds up quick. Separating the signal from the noise means following the right people. With that in mind, we came up with this list of Jersey-centric Twitter accounts that the Garden State policy wonk should definitely be following.
Disclaimers: First, this isn’t a scientific list: No Klout scores or follower totals went into the calculations. We relied on our own insights, with a little outside assistance.
Second, because we didn’t want to play favorites we left reporters and media organizations off the list. That's also why we didn’t include our own reporters or columnists, but you can still. » Click here for the full post
Title: “The Opportunity Costs of Teacher Evaluation – A Labor and Equity Analysis of TEACHNJ Legislation”
Researchers: Douglas Larkin, assistant professor in Montclair State University’s Department of Secondary and Special Education, and Joseph Oluwole, associate professor of education law in MSU’s Department of Counseling and Educational Leadership.
What it is: New research by two Montclair State University professors found that New Jersey’s school administrators will need to spend at least 35 percent more time observing teachers under the state’s new teacher-tenure law, known as TEACHNJ. The study measured the minimum requirements for classroom observations under the new law and matched it to the number of applicable administrators and teachers in each district in the state.» Click here for the full post
Due to this year’s brutal weather, the state Department of Transportation is already preparing for a long and difficult pothole repair season that will extend well into the spring. In a typical year, the department will repair about 160,000 potholes in total. But in just the past five months, it's fixed about 100,000.
In order to deal with the problem “in the most aggressive and efficient manner” the department will be allowing repair crews to close travel lanes during daytime hours -- including peak travel times for priority repairs. It’s also hired a contractor to complement its own efforts. To report a pothole in need of repair call 1-800-POTHOLE (1-800-768-4653).» Click here for the full post
Gov. Chris Christie’s dire warning about the threat to New Jersey’s finances posed by unfunded pension liabilities may actually understate the magnitude of the problem. But Christie’s options for tackling the issue are sharply limited by politics, the courts, past legislation, and a lack of simple solutions.
Christie touched off a firestorm of protest from Democrats and union leaders when he used his budget speech to complain that the $2.25 billion pension payment required next year by the 2011 law he(D-Gloucester) to pass -- combined with rising debt and retiree health benefit costs -- was preventing the state from increasing spending on education, colleges, transportation, healthcare, and other vital needs.
By Fiscal Year 2018, when the seven-year phase-in to the full actuary-recommended funding of the pension system is completed, New Jersey will be required to pay an estimated $4 billion to $5 billion -- more than 10 percent of its budget -- to cover pension liabilities for the state’s 800,000 current and retired teachers, police, firefighters, and other state and local government employees. Even then, the problem won't be solved: The pension system that year will still be $52 billion in the red, Christie noted» Click here for the full post