On the Bayonne side of the District 31 Assembly race, off-the-line Democratic candidate Christopher Munoz is linking incumbent Nick Chiaravalloti with Gov. Chris Christie (R) when it comes to education funding.
“My opponent’s failed campaign promise to bring back additional funding to our school districts while in the state legislature, has allowed our governor to abandon his obligation to fully fund the education formula thus placing a greater financial burden on local taxpayers,” Munoz said in a statement.
“This is unacceptable, inexcusable, and irresponsible. As a parent of two children, who attend Bayonne public schools, I am committed to protecting public education.”
In the campaign commercial, the narrator says that the state education formula is still not fully funded while Bayonne property taxes continue to increase.
“While Governor Christie and the state legislature have failed to fully fund the education formula, Bayonne property taxes continue to rise.”
“According to the Education Law Center, local tax levies have risen nearly 21 percent. [This year], cumulative underfunding at the state level has topped eight billion dollars,” the commercial says.
The commercial ends by stating outright that Christie and Chiaravalloti have been one in the same in several instances.
“Gov. Christie and Assemblyman Chiaravalloti: failing education, failing taxpayers, failing New Jersey.”
Chiaravalloti said he was “disappointed” in his opponent going negative and rejected the ad as “alternative facts.”
“I’m disappointed that my opponent has chosen to follow the Trump method of creating alternative facts, but the reality is that the Bayonne school system is some of the most underfunded schools districts in New Jersey,” he told Hudson County View over the phone.
“In the past eight years, Christie has declared war on our teachers and public schools. In the past 14 months, I have advocated for funding in Bayonne public schools. I think one of the reasons why the Jersey City Education Association decided to endorse me was because they know I’ve been standing with the public schools in the past 14 months.”
The Assemblyman added that the Bayonne Public Schools have been consistently underfunded for the past 27 years, specifically under Christie’s tenure, further stating that an audit is being performed at the board of education due to his request.
Chiaravalloti also said that he will be part of an emergency meeting tomorrow morning with Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32), Superintendent of Schools Dr. Patricia McGeehan and state Department of Education Commissioner Kimberly Harrington regarding the Bayonne school board’s ongoing budget woes.
In response, Munoz said that he didn’t feel the ad was particularly negative and reiterated that a 2015 campaign promise from Chiaravalloti and McKnight was to bring more funding to the 31st Legislative District – which still hasn’t happened.
Munoz is running with veteran Jersey City Education Association operative Kristen Zadroga Hart against Chiaravalloti and Angela McKnight.
They will face off in the June 6 Democratic primary election.