HomeVoorhees NewsGov. Christie visits Voorhees

Gov. Christie visits Voorhees

Hundreds of residents from Voorhees and other neighboring communities came out in full force yesterday to see Gov. Christie in person at his first town hall event of the year at the Voorhees Town Center.

Christie spoke to the crowd, which packed the lower level and second-floor balcony, near the township’s municipal offices, reiterating the message he had delivered the previous day in his State of the State address, citing the need for job creation, balancing the budget and proposing to reduce the income-tax rate statewide by 10 percent.

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Christie also addressed the Democratic–Republican divide in the state — and pledged to make sure all residents in New Jersey would receive tax relief in the coming year.

He said Democrats responded to his yearly address by saying they would not support a tax cut in an effort to maintain fiscal responsibility.

“I found it interesting. When they wanted to spend over a billion dollars last year that we didn’t have, none of them were concerned about being fiscally responsible,” Christie said. “But when we talk about giving you some of your money back, then they want to be fiscally responsible. All of the sudden now, it’s time to squeeze tight. It’s like your money is stuck in their dead cold hand — and you’re trying to pry it out of there — and they won’t let it out.”

Once Christie opened the floor up for questions and comments from the public, residents from Voorhees and Cherry Hill quickly let the governor know how they felt about a proposed charter school coming into their community.

Christie called on Voorhees resident Tracye McArdle, who has previously spoken in favor the Regis Academy Charter School on the Cherry Hill–Voorhees border. In December, she publicly supported Solid Rock Worship Center’s Pastor Amir Khan, on his recent Department of Education charter school approval.

Khan and his wife were present at the meeting and were seated in the rows behind the governor among local politicians and dignitaries.

At the meeting, McArdle thanked the governor for allowing charter schools to come into the community.

But Christie admitted charter schools are not an educational fix for every municipality in the state.

“There’s no silver-bullet fix to education in New Jersey,” Christie said. “Will charter schools fix it completely? Will vouchers fix it completely? Will teacher tenure reform fix it completely? Will merit pay fix it completely? No.”

Some residents spoke in opposition to how the charter school was approved in the first place.

Christie told the audience he thinks charter schools should be focused in failing school districts first. His philosophy on charter schools garnered a loud applause from the audience.

“I do not believe that charter schools are best suited in districts that are successful,” Christie said.

Another Voorhees resident inquired about whether the governor could put pressure on the state Department of Education to handle the approval of charter schools differently in the future.

“So what I’m asking you to do is trust me. I have no interest in making the lives of parents, school board members and teachers in successful districts where they’re doing well, turning out college-ready kids, more complicated,” Christie said.

Christie said he would speak with acting DOE Commissioner Chris Cerf specifically about Voorhees.

At the end of the meeting, Christie had to quell a few outspoken charter school opponents, whom he didn’t call on to speak. He closed his meeting saying he supports residents of Voorhees in their search for answers about charter schools in the community.

“You have a partner in me in fixing it,” he said.


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