Jersey City Acting Superintendent of Schools Franklin Walker has wrote a letter to the city council indicating that since “quick fix solutions” won’t work, the public school district is declining to take any funding from the city at this time.
“Any and all attempts to employ quick fix solutions or one time solution that cannot be replicable annually will not work for us as it will only serve to delay the inevitable,” Walker wrote in a July 19th letter to the Jersey City Council.
“It was through good planning that includes operational efficiencies, identification and elimination of waste and rationalization of job titles, legal and legislative actions along with a comprehensive evaluation of our program[s] and services that we will be able [to] achieve full funding and conquer the financial challenges.”
The move comes as a surprise to many, especially given that the BOE passed a resolution in May asking the city to help fund their schools via increasing their “cost sharing contributions.”
However, the situation continued to become more complicated as BOE officials no showed a special council hearing two weeks later that was called specifically to address school funding.
Many BOE trustees defended that decision by saying they were simply following the advice of board counsel.
In a joint statement, Ward E Councilman James Solomon, with the support of Council President Rolando Lavarro, said a plan was presented at the June 15th council caucus meeting that would’ve allotted at least $7 million to the local public school system.
They both expressed dismay with the superintendent’s decision and said that they remain committed to fixing the school funding crisis.
“After decades of hoarding abatement revenue, Council can, and must, provide millions to Jersey City schools both in its 2019 budget and in every budget going forward. The school board should reverse this perplexing decision,” the councilmen said.
The Jersey City Public School District is currently suing the state over school funding, claiming that they will have been short changed $795 million in state aid by 2024.
The Jersey City Council has special meeting for Monday, August 5th, where school funding will be discussed and it is possible they will vote on the budget.
School officials did not immediately return inquiries seeking comment Friday morning.