Jersey City Together urges investments in schools in light of Chromebook shortages, staff cuts

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Parents and faith leaders affiliated with Jersey City Together urged the board of education to continue to fund the public schools in light of Chromebook shortages and staff cuts.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Funding our schools right now during this pandemic is even more important than ever. The thought of sending my kids back to a school without adequate custodians to keep the schools clean and safe and nurses to monitor the health of our children is petrifying to me,” Nancy Pokler, a parent of two students at Public School No. 5, said in the video.

“In Jersey City Public Schools, we estimate 10,000 kids currently out of a 27,000 student school district, 10,000 kids don’t have Chromebooks. They cannot access their teachers. They cannot access their classwork. This is totally unacceptable. This is the cost of systemic, chronic underfunding of our public schools,” added Brigid D’Souza, a parent of two students at Public School No. 3.

January marked the first time the group asked the Jersey City BOE to invest $50 million more into their public schools.

This is at a time when the district is already preparing for a $125 million budget shortfall and lost more than 200 staff since last year.

The Jersey City BOE gave the initial approval to a $736 million budget back in March.

While this would potentially come with a 47 percent tax increase, officials said at the time this would be less than a $50 monthly increase for the average household in Jersey City.

The BOE is hosting a remote budget hearing this evening before taking a final vote on their annual financial plan next week.

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