It's a cesspool, period full stop, as Gov. Murphy would say. Of course, not all public schools are a trainwreck and there are some amazing, dedicated people doing great work in our public schools.

Teachers there especially deserve tremendous credit, but enrollment is down significantly in New Jersey public schools. During the pandemic parents got a closer look and what's happening and what's not happening in their public schools.

Dennis Malloy / Townsquare Media
Dennis Malloy / Townsquare Media

Mask mandates and COVID restrictions were part of the frustration for many parents. They got to see a lot of the failings that are manifested in a unionized government-run entity. It's never a model for efficiency or excellence. More and more parents in New Jersey and around the country are seeking better, safer ways to educate their kids.

A friend recently retired after 30-plus years at a local Central Jersey high school. His original plan was to stay for five more years, but from what he saw in how public school has devolved in just the last few years, he had to leave. From weekly fights in the classrooms, cafeteria and hallways, to the insane policies, to apathetic kids, to overbearing parents, it's almost impossible for teachers to stick it out much longer.

Dennis Malloy / Townsquare Media
Dennis Malloy / Townsquare Media

This past weekend I had the pleasure of being MC for a fundraiser at my alma mater, Holy Cross Preparatory Academy. When I went there it was just Holy Cross High School.

Five years ago the Diocese of Trenton pulled funding from the school. Some very dedicated parents and alumni got together to save the regional Catholic school. Through their hard work, they've not only kept the school open but enrollment has increased by 20%.

In speaking to some of the parents and teachers there, it was obvious they were more than happy with what goes on at their school. It takes sacrifice from the parents to come up with the tuition after paying the highest property taxes in the nation, most of which go toward public schools.

Holy Cross Prep Academy / Google Maps
Holy Cross Prep Academy / Google Maps

It also takes sacrifice from the teachers and staff that don't get the kind of pay and benefits they would if they worked in a public school.

What both parents, staff and students do get is a sense of belonging in a family atmosphere and a solid education. They may not have all of the state-of-the-art bells and whistles you'll see in many public schools in New Jersey, but what they do have is a special educational environment that is priceless.

I'm extremely proud to have gone to that school and equally proud and thrilled to do anything I can to make sure that school is around for future generations.

Holy Cross has been around for 65 years, the last five of which they've been on their own. We're happy to report they're thriving, but it's always an effort to keep it going. They are having a 65 & 5-year anniversary fundraising party on May 13th at the high school in Delran New Jersey. We all feel very fortunate and proud to have gone to that school and want to make sure that opportunity is there for kids in our area for many years to come.

How much your school district gets under Murphy's proposed 2024 budget

Gov. Phil Murphy's porposed 2024 budget includes $1 billion in new spending for school funding including pre-K funding, pension and benefits, and an additional $832 million in K-12 aid, which is listed below by county and district.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy only.

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New Jersey high school graduation rates

The lists below show 4-year graduation rates for New Jersey public schools for the 2020-21 school year. The statewide graduation rate fell slightly, from 91% in 2019-20 to 90.6%.

The lists, which are sorted by county and include a separate list for charter schools, also include a second graduation rate, which excludes students whose special education IEPs allow them to qualify for diplomas despite not meeting typical coursework and attendance requirements.

Columns with an asterisk or 'N' indicate there was no data or it was suppressed to protect student privacy.

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