Jersey City BOE candidate Sudhan Thomas, running on the Jersey City Education Association-backed Education Matters ticket, bused over 30 students to their high schools during an early morning campaign event where he backed a $2 billion infrastructure plan.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Thomas highlighted the need for the Jersey City public school system to have school bus options for high school students. State law calls for students living more than two-and-a-half miles away from their school to be provided school busing facilities.
In what he calls a “clear violation of state law,” busing for Jersey City high school students was discontinued several years ago.
The rented school bus dropped off middle and high schoolers this morning, making stops at Frank R. Conwell Middle School, Academy 1 Middle School and Snyder High School.
The transportation issue is an important one for both students and parents, said Jyoti Vyas, a parent of a sixth grade student at Frank R. Conwell Middle School, who commutes from the Jersey City Heights neighborhood to her school in the downtown area of Jersey City for school.
“It’s unfortunate that my child has to commute such a long distance to school without proper transportation, as if we’re living in a third-world country,” said Vyas. “Not only is it unsafe for the students, but it also unproductive and costly for parents.”
Thomas called for the introduction of a “state-of-the-art” public school infrastructure, calling the current one “atrocious.”
“How can we expect our children to excel in this environment? It’s a travesty, and the time for change has come. We want to project a philosophy that preserves institutions and a value system that extends opportunities for everyone without cherry picking,” he added.
Jersey City is an Abbott school district and previously qualified for a special Abbott school construction program. A $2 billion long range facilities plan (LRFP) was putin place in 2005.
“This plan, if implemented, would have completely modernized and revolutionized Jersey City Public School infrastructure,” Thomas said, stating that the plan would result in 16 new school buildings if the plan was executed properly.
“It will be one of my top priorities to lead the effort to claim $2 billion dollars in infrastructure funds and additional ‘SMART’ funding from non-government sources. The lack of funding hurts our special needs students the most.”
Thomas is running on the same slate as Angel Valentin and Gina Verdibello, three of the 10 candidates seeking three, three-year terms on the Jersey City school board. Election Day is November 8.