Jersey City schools chief spars with activists over district funding, her salary


Jersey City education activist Monique Andrews challenged Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marcia Lyles on the equitable allocation for Innovation High School, her annual salary and whether or not members of the board are truly listening to the students.


Leading up to the friction was parents and other residents reacting to the behavior of Lyles the Jersey City Board of Education’s caucus meeting on Tuesday.

Dr. Lyles made a “frustrated” statement regarding only hearing from parents and not from students.

The superintendent’s remarks upset quite a few parents, leading Andrews to remind Lyles that taxes are paying her salary.

“For a superintendent and board member to get so outrageous, saying I’m tired of hearing from adults, I just want to hear from students. I’m tired of hearing from adults. The audacity of adults!” recounted Andrews.

“I’m paying for people’s salaries and I have right to talk about what these kids need,” Andrews continued, reminding the board of her role as president of the Snyder Parents Council and representing both parent and students at the meetings.

Furthermore, Andrews pointed out the difficulty Synder students experienced when asking the board for their teacher, Mr. Richard Diaz, to be returned to them after he was transferred to Innovation.

The students asked for their audio production mentor to come back in order to finish their portfolios for college applications and to help complete their compositions.

Unfortunately for those students, Diaz never returned to the school.

Joan Terrell, another education activist, questioned why Innovation is referred to as a “high school” on pamphlets and brochures, but not on report presentations given by the superintendent.

Terrell also pointed out the Innovation students were allowed to take courses at NJCU and now occupy a room on an additional floor at Snyder High School.

“I want to know why it (Snyder) is being ignored and why it is being treated this way,” exclaimed Terrell.

Lyles backfired with the mention of her salary and declared that an annual salary of $344 was false.

However, her 2015-2016 contract clearly states that the total cost for the 2015-2016 school year was $344,195.

Dr. Marcia Lyles Contract

As for the budget allocation that was also brought, Lyles cited the 2012 – 2013 budget allocation.

Infinity – $280,670 for 188 students, $1,492 per student

Liberty – $188,875 for 211 students, $895 per student

Dickinson – $858,898 for 2,168 students, $396 per student

Lincoln – $365,521 for 825 students, $443 per student

Snyder – $387,913 for 1001 students, $387 per student

For the proposed budget for this coming year, Snyder High School totaled $11,545, 827 which includes Title 1, salary, and allocation for 900 students which comes down to $12,828 per student.

For Innovation’s proposed budget, the allocation totaled $1,000,884 for 178 students making it $10, 112 per student.

Lyles concluded that the “equitable allocation, I think, is the intent. It is no intention to disenfranchise anyone, it is no intention to take anyone’s voice away. The goal is to provide choice and opportunity.

The superintendent also addressed the her behavior on Tuesday’s Caucus explaining that she was “frustrated about people who do not want to help us make things work.”

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  1. Wait, disability insurance is state run mandated by law, like unemployment insurance. Why taxpayers have to pay her personal premium? Looks like fraud to me.