PolitiFact New Jersey rules on claims about unemployment benefits, teacher work schedules

Gov. Chris Christie discusses teachers' pay and workload during this Nov. 18 forum at the University of Notre Dame. Go to 16:45 to hear his comments.

Money matters weighed on the Truth-O-Meter this weekend, from claims about the state’s indebtedness for unemployment insurance benefits to teachers being paid an average of $60,000 for just 180 days of work a year.

In case you missed it, the needle on PolitiFact New Jersey’s Truth-O-Meter read True  for Sunday’s unemployment insurance claim by Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris)  and Mostly True for Monday’s teachers claim by Gov. Chris Christie, also a Republican.

Webber claim

The assemblyman said in a Nov. 28 interview with NJToday that he opposes proposed legislation to give unemployment benefits to certain people whose hours at work have been reduced. In explaining his reasoning, Webber noted that the state’s unemployment insurance fund is "broke," and that New Jersey has had to borrow more than $1 billion from the federal government to pay unemployment benefits. The Truth-O-Meter rated the claim True. The state is expected to pay the loan off in late 2013..

Christie claim

In a November speech to the University of Notre Dame’s law school, Christie said New Jersey teachers on average get a salary of $60,000 and work only 180 days a year. The Truth-O-Meter found those numbers were off a bit, earning a Mostly True rating. PolitiFact New Jersey found that the average teacher salary is $65,130. The minimum number of days of classroom instruction in the state is 180 but the current school year is 185 days. Experts we spoke with also said that factoring in the many responsibilities of teachers pushes their number of work days well beyond 180 annually.

Coming up

Can’t get enough of the Truth-O-Meter? In coming weeks PolitiFact New Jersey will put out a newsletter for readers about our fact checks and what’s ahead in 2012. If you’re interested in receiving the newsletter, or having PolitiFact New Jersey do a presentation for your organization or school, drop a note with your email address to PolitiFact New Jersey Editor Caryn Shinske at [email protected] You can also follow us on Twitter or find us on Facebook.  

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