On Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 7:30pm, the Hamilton Park Neighborhood Association (HPNA) will host Mayor Steven Fulop for Q&A during their monthly meeting. One issue likely to be discussed is the community building at 180 9th Street — aka “the Cordero Annex” or “the former Golden Door Charter School.” The building has been the subject of contention in recent months due to four public preK classrooms that may be closed if the Jersey City Board of Education (JCBOE) cannot re-lease the space in the 2014-15 school year.
On May 15, 2014, the JCRA released an RFP (“request for proposal”) inviting prospective tenants to submit bids to lease the property for a minimum of five years. Sources say the JCBOE is submitting a bid, but other entities (e.g. Hudson County schools, charter schools, private schools) may submit bids too.
The ultimate tenant – JCBOE, a county school, a private school, or a charter school – is of increasing importance to downtown Jersey City. Classroom capacity is in short supply, due at least in part to recent revelations that the City has been under-estimating the number of public school children who will live in abated buildings.
Who the tenant would be will determine how the building will benefit the surrounding community. Generally speaking:
- If the building is leased to the Jersey City Board of Education, the school will be used to educate neighborhood children in the traditional public school model.
- If the building is leased to a charter school, Jersey City children would be selected for the school via lottery.
- If the school is leased to Hudson County, Jersey City students would be eligible to attend the school along with children from the county’s eleven other municipalities.
- If the building is leased to a private school, parents would pay for their children to attend.
With other local, public elementary schools at or near capacity, the City needs a solution for its rapidly expanding public school population. And so the question is: who will ultimately rent 180 9th Street long-term?
Here are some facts around the building (taken from RFP and JCBOE sources):
And here is a quick overview of downtown public school capacity, taken from Volume 2 of the JCBOE’s demographic study:
Two pertinent questions that a member of the Community could ask of the Mayor tomorrow night are:
Is the City taking the two-volume demographic studies, commissioned by the Jersey City Board of Education (JCBOE), into consideration?
Will the bids be judged solely on financial cost, or will ancillary factors such as the benefit of housing JCPS students – versus private school or county school students – be taken into consideration?
It is a credit to the Mayor that he will be showing up to take questions from the community. And it is an opportunity for the community to get some answers.