Four decades in the making, the New Jersey State Board of Education returned full local control to the Jersey City Board of Education as part of a nearly five-and-a-half hour meeting.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Jersey City Public Schools has demonstrated through the scorecard and the comprehensive accountability office reports that it has met it’s objectives and benchmarks and is poised to assume full local control,” New Jersey Department of Education Acting Commissioner Angelica Allen-McMillan said.
Jersey City officials have celebrated regaining local control, which they lost in 1989, at least three times in recent memory: October 7th, 2015, June 5th 2017, and October 18th, 2018. However, according to the state, they did not regain full local control until today.
Christopher Huber, a special assistant to the commissioner, reviewed the final report on the transition to local control, which began by saying the district’s transition plan for the return to local control became effective on October 25th, 2018.
While the end date of the transition was initially set for October 25th, 2020, it was extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Progress was measured via quantitative metrics on the Accountability Scorecard and by the qualitative observations and feedback of Dr. Stephen Cowan and Dr. Alexis Colander.
The scorecard addresses five areas: fundamental considerations, governance, instruction and program, fiscal management, and personnel.
The NJ DOE partnered with the Bloustein Local Government Research Center of Rutgers University to form a Comprehensive Accountability Office to collect and publish data that corresponds with the scorecard.
As far as the scorecard goes, one point means not implemented, two points means partially implemented, three points means substantially implemented, and four points means fully implemented.
Overall, the Jersey City BOE fully implemented five recommendations, 15 were substantially met, four were partially met, and just one was not implemented regarding preparing and analyzing fiscal year cash flow management for district funds.
“The district has implemented systems that demonstrate sustainable policies and procedures in nearly all applicable areas,” the CAO’s final report, based on the 2021-2022 scholastic year, says.
There continue to be areas for improvement, primarily in the indicators concerning fiscal reporting. The District continues to put in additional policies and procedures to ensure continued progress.”
The state BOE approved the measure to return local control unanimously.
In a Facebook post, Jersey City BOE President Gerald Lyons applauded the decision.
“I am very honored to be a member of the wonderful School Board that is currently representing our district and would like to thank all of our current Board Members and all of the previous Trustees for their contributions to this process,” he wrote.
“To all of our employees, students, parents, elected officials, and members of the community – I look forward to our district continuing to make progress in our effort to make our public schools the best that they can be.”