The Hudson County Board of Commissioners approved a memorandum of understanding to move the Liberty Science Center High School project forward, with Chair Anthony Vainieri (D-8) indicating that everyone will be agreement that 60 percent of students will be from Jersey City.
— John Heinis (@HeinisHardNews) March 26, 2021
“I think this is the beginning of a process, I think it’s an exciting process … some language as it relates to the number of students from Jersey City that will be able to attend this that’s tied into the …. contribution,” began Hudson County Commissioner Bill O’Dea (D-2).
” … I’m sympathetic to some of the issues raised by the teachers union as well as some members of the school board: the city’s definitely got to pick up it’s pace on unpaid payroll taxes. It appears there are a lot of unpaid payroll taxes and the city is yet to do an aggressive collection.”
On Wednesday evening, the Jersey City Council approved a 30-year MOU where the city will pay at least $2 million annually for LSC High School to operate as a part of the Hudson County Schools of Technology by a vote of 6-2(1), as HCV first reported.
Teachers and students, as well as some board of education trustees, panned the plan since the public school district is facing another massive deficit that is expected to see a $100 million cut in state aid next year.
However, as noted on Monday, the project couldn’t move forward without approval from the county commissioners, who unanimously approved the MOU (9-0) last night.
County Commissioner Jerry Walker (D-3), who spoke in favor of the project at the council meeting, wanted to press the issue on local enrollment figures.
“There’s a lot of concerns about Jersey City putting up so much [sic] resources towards it and how are we going to reassure that we’re going to have at least 50 percent of the population that’s gonna go from Jersey City,” he began.
“I’m not sure of the legal aspect to that, but given that Jersey City made a commitment of $2 million, plus the land they gave to ’em for $10 – this land is definitely worth I would say a half a billion dollars – with that being said, what can we do in terms of language?”
Walker also said that while he didn’t want to discriminate against any of the other 11 municipalities, he felt Jersey City needed something definitive in writing do to the incentives they were offering, similar to what Ward E Councilman James Solomon had urged for this week.
Vainieri said that after speaking to a spokesperson from the HCST, he was confident that the 60 percent enrollment figure would ultimately become a part of the MOU.
“I think everyone’s going to be in agreement of 60 percent of Jersey City students, that will come out in the next couple meetings: we’re all on the same page.”
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said at the council meeting that 240 out of 400 LSC High School students would be from Jersey City, though faced push back from Solomon and others who wanted that detail formalized in the agreement prior to the vote.
The board of commissioners had a far more tepid affair than the Jersey City Council did, with the county meeting lasting only an hour and 45 minutes, while the municipal hearing went just over six hours.