By Cleve Bryan

TRENTON, NJ (CBS) — It was a time for some of Trenton’s brightest young minds to pick the Governor’s brain for advice.

“The great equalizer in everything that you do in life is hard work,” Governor Chris Christie told students at Trenton Central High School’s 9th grade academy, though participants represented every grade level.

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Beneath the water-stained ceiling, he encouraged them a new state-of-the-art high school is 2 years away.

“This new high school will become a place not only where you learn but where you socialize,” said Christie, “there’s going to be things that are able to happen here that you’ll be really proud of and proud to participate in.”

Christie’s school visit happened at the same time President Trump met with other Republicans about 30 miles away in Philadelphia.

With no cabinet appointment some people have questioned the state of their highly publicized friendship.

“It’s where I am, it’s my job,” Christie responded to Eyewitness News asking if he turned down being with the President to be at the school. Both events had protesters.

Community and teacher reps decried Christie’s proposed changes to the school funding formula which would cut aid to urban districts in favor of giving every school district in the state the same amount of aid per student.

“We are not going to stand by while he pats our students on the back and at the same time he picks their pocket,” said Jerell Blakeley from the Healthy Schools Now Coalition.

“Are we going to cut 70 percent of our teaching staff? Close 70 percent of our buildings?,” questioned Trenton Education Association president Naomi Johnson-LaFluer.

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During his hour with students Governor Christie did not make any mention of his school funding formula plan which Democrats have rejected.

On Friday a special committee of New Jersey lawmakers plan to discuss school spending with the public at a meeting at Kingsway Regional High School.