The Jersey City Board of Education passed the 2015-2016 budget of $ 667,256,08 with a tax levy of $112,161,139, which does not include any additional funding for charter school enrollment – even though enrollment is on the rise.
Business Administrator Luigi Campana revealed that 2015-2016 school budget guaranteed no layoffs but will call for a 2 percent tax levy increase, generating a total revenue of $2,199,238.
State aid will remain the same at $420 million.
Campana explained that one of the greatest increases in expenditures is the cost of enrollment in Jersey City charter schools. The cost for over 650 students enrolling next year is $5.1 million.
Although the district also has increased in enrollment, the difference is that they are not receiving any additional funding for additional year-to-year enrollment, according to Campana.
Education activist Riaz Wahid challenged the board to revisit these numbers and for the members to ask the state for additional funding, before passing the budget.
“We go through the pain of tax increase. You should be negotiating with the state to give us more money” stated Wahid.
“We certainly do, as a board and as a district, appeal for additional funding,” said Jersey City Superintendent Dr. Marcia Lyles, “We agree that the funding, the charter schools and their advocacy seems to be stronger.”
Board member Lorenzo Richardson echoed Mr. Wahid’s concerns and motioned to amend the budget to $665 million.
“I think that we could probably find somewhere where we can at least maybe not allow for tax increase,” said Richardson.