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Board Opposes Defunding School-based Youth Services, Supports F-35 Jets at 177th

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By Al Campbell

CREST HAVEN – A resolution opposed to Gov. Phil Murphy’s budget intent to defund school-based youth services in the county and elsewhere was passed by Cape May County freeholders Sept. 8. 
The document states that the board is “strongly opposed to the defunding of school-based youth services,” at Lower Cape May Regional High School and Cape May County Technical High School. 
The program, which serves “at-risk youth,” operates under the Department of Children and Families and provides counseling, substance abuse education, and health awareness, among other services. The amount, stated the resolution, is $575,000 and has been in operation for over 25 years. 
The board fears the elimination of funding will “impact hundreds of thousands of youths in need” here and statewide.
“The impact on these youth will be even worse given COVID-19, remote learning and safe, in-classroom learning,” the document reads. 
The impact, the board fears, will “disproportionately impact the minority populations in schools.”
The board asked that the governor restore the funds immediately in next year’s budget. 
Support F-35 Jets
The board passed another resolution in support of the Air Force placing F-35 jets, the latest fighters, and their support crews, to the 177th Fighter Wing of the New Jersey Air National Guard.
That resolution noted that the 177th Fighter Wing has a vital day-to-day role in homeland security along the East Coast. 
It notes that the unit played a major role in the defense of the coast Sept. 11, 2001, and afterward.
Additionally, the unit is deployed overseas to help defend the nation and mobilizes during state emergencies and natural disasters. 
The unit, based at Atlantic City International Airport, in Egg Harbor Township, “has facilities to maintain and operate 21 fourth and fifth-generation fighters, including covered parking and over 8,000 feet of runway.”  
Locating the jets to the nearby unit would “ensure the enhanced capabilities in the unit’s missions and roles and at the same time ensure the base’s future and create more opportunities in the region by focusing on aviation technology,” according to the resolution.
Additional Work at School OK’d
Also, at the meeting, the board approved a change order with Palmer Waterproofing Inc., for $43,302, to reset and fasten 29 windows to back-up masonry at the Special Services School. 
The original contract with the company, adopted June 23, was for $2.5 million for waterproofing the brick veneer of the school.

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