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Any major changes might require buy-in from union members who have vehemently opposed Christie’s school cuts. Newark Teachers Union President Joseph Del Grosso said he hopes the decision makers will consult with teachers about their plans _ but said he is excited about the gift.

Christie had choice words Saturday for the unions and others he said have been an obstacle to education reforms in New Jersey.

“We’re about yes, they’re about no. We’re about tomorrow, they’re about yesterday. We’re about the kids; they’re about their paychecks,” he said.

David Sciarra, executive director of the Education Law Center, which advocates for students in the state’s poorest cities, said he worries the new measures could undo the progress that’s already been made. The city has developed one of the nation’s best early childhood education programs, and middle and high schools are improving, he said.

“The question is how to make sure this money is used to enhance the reforms that have been made and not to undermine them,” he said.


Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Samantha Henry and David Porter in Newark, Angelique Yack in Philadelphia, Nafeesa Syeed in Washington, Bill Kaczor in Tallahassee, Fla., Randall Dickerson in Nashville, Tenn., and Amy Westfeldt in New York.