Jersey City Public Schools Funding Crisis – A CivicParent Timeline

This is a timeline of stories published or shared on CivicParent as it relates to funding of Jersey City Public Schools:

Civic Parent Timeline

Sep 25, 2021

Improving accountability and transparency for Jersey City Public Schools

In 2021 Jersey City Public Schools fully funded its schools for the first time in over a decade. Reasonable questions now follow related to transparency and accountability, including: How do we hold the district administration and school board accountable for full investment in our kids? I’m part of a team…Read More

Jun 30, 2021

In one chart: Jersey City’s seismic change in tax levies fully funds the schools and reallocates property tax

A "levy" is the amount raised in property tax to fund a government budget. Typically, a levy is one of multiple sources of revenue that fund total expense. In 2021, Jersey City is poised to both fully fund its schools and also enter a new paradigm with respect to property…Read More

Apr 26, 2021

NJ’s “Cost Per Pupil” is a flawed comparison of school district cost.

On its face, the NJ Department of Education's "cost-per-pupil" is an inviting metric upon which to compare and contrast school spending among New Jersey's 600+ districts. However, cost-per-pupil is misleading as it distorts the intentional, extra investment for students with more needs, including at-risk students and students with limited English…Read More

Mar 17, 2021

The Board of Education Should Approve Superintendent Walker’s Schools Budget & Fully Fund Our Schools

Superintendent Walker proposed a fully funded budget on Monday, March 15th, a monumental step forward in Jersey City’s efforts to climb out of a gaping funding hole. The Board of Education should approve this budget. Our children are currently underfunded and the BOE is being presented with a plan to…Read More

Mar 16, 2021

CivicParent NJ Property Tax Viewer: 2020 Levies

The 2020 property tax tables for calendar year 2020 are now available. This data provides insight into the way municipal, county, and local public school governments share the total tax dollars each year. The dataset at the link contains: Tax base data Tax levy data – this is what I’ve…Read More

Feb 05, 2021

JCPS: How does the schools budget process work?

Update, Feb 5, 2021: I’m re-upping this post from 2020 to share with anyone who’s interested in the upcoming schools budgeting process in 2021. The annual public schools budgeting process is fairly regimented due in part to milestone dates that live in state law.  A timeline of key dates from…Read More

Jan 29, 2021

Jersey City Schools Parent Advocacy Update: Connect with Jersey City Together

COVID19 remote learning is extremely challenging. It's important to note that some challenges are exacerbated by chronic underfunding of Jersey City Public Schools. For instance, our schools lack: social workers crisis intervention teachers psychologists math & literacy coaches Teachers, paras, and remaining staff are left to absorb much of this…Read More

Dec 11, 2020

Abatements 801: We need better abatement disclosures in NJ to show impact on public schools

This is post included in both my abatement series and a series about the User Friendly Budget in NJ.  We need better disclosures in NJ to understand the impact of tax abatements on the local fiscal landscape, particularly as it relates to public schools. The user friendly budget – mandated…Read More

Nov 02, 2020

CivicParent NJ Property Tax Viewer – 2019 Levies

Last month (October 2020) the state published the 2019 property tax tables. This is a “look back” at the local property tax landscape in New Jersey. It’s a wonderful treasure trove of public data from municipal, county, and local public school governments including: Tax base data Tax levy data Tax…Read More

Sep 28, 2020

Thoughts on Jersey City’s 2020 Board of Education (BOE) Election

I’ve been getting asked about my thoughts re: the Board of Education election. I wanted to offer two insights that matter to me from a funding and advocacy perspective. Take it or leave it; every vote is sacrosanct and reflects myriad personal considerations. These are two factors that matter most…Read More

May 18, 2020

Jersey City School Tax Expense Calculator for 2020/21 School Funding Year

I am part of the education team with Jersey City Together and in May 2020 we created a school tax expense calculator to help Jersey City residents understand the personal investment for a $50 million increase to the school levy.  Our aim was to the put the power of understand…Read More

May 12, 2020

Jersey City BOE Passes Mr. Walker’s Full Budget: $52.7M

Jersey City’s Board of Education took a huge step forward, following Superintendent Walker’s courageous lead to invest in Jersey City Public Schools. I didn’t write up a post specific to this but am sharing the article below that explain the vote. Also providing a visual – shared from Jersey…Read More

May 09, 2020

It’s Now or Never to Support the 2020/21 Schools Budget for Our Kids.

It's Saturday May 9th and we are within a week of the 2020/21 schools budget being passed for next year. Parents are on the 98th yard line of a fight to push Superintendent Walker's full budget across the goal line. This post is aimed to bring parents and school advocates…Read More

May 04, 2020

Approve the 2020/21 #JerseyCity Schools Budget: Invest in Jersey City’s Kids

PS #5 PTA Campaign: Tell the Board of Education: Approve the 2020/21 Schools Budget - Invest in Jersey City's Kids The PTA Advocacy Team at Dr. Michael Conti PS #5 School created this "Call to Action" email campaign ahead of the final vote for the 2020/21 schools budget season that…Read More

Mar 20, 2020

What Investing in Jersey City Public Schools Looks Like for 2020/21

On Wednesday March 18th, Superintendent Walker proposed a budget that significantly increases local investment in our public schools. The budget includes a $64 million school levy increase, which represents a 47% increase over last year’s levy. Mayor Fulop “blasted” the increase, citing the harm to taxpayers, stating that “They’re going…Read More

Feb 24, 2020

Jersey City Public Schools 2020/21 Budget Process: Working Timeline & FAQs

As we enter the budget season for Jersey City Public Schools, I wanted to share some upcoming process info – key dates & timeframes in case it’s helpful for parents and advocates. It’s never too late to get involved.  BOE Budget Process – Working Timeline This timeline was updated after…Read More

Feb 14, 2020

Value & Empower Our Public Schools By Locally Funding Them in the 2020 Schools Budget

Helpful Tips: Thank you to the PTA of Dr. Michael Conti PS #5 School for this information & advocacy. We are asking all concerned parents, residents, and taxpayers who care about our public schools to send an email to the Board of Education and Superintendent Walker to demand that Jersey…Read More

Jan 30, 2020

Why the School Tax Levy is Key to Funding JCPS (and why seeking abatement funds is not a concrete solution).

I've heard "can't we go after the abatement money to fund our schools? Rather than increase the school tax levy?" The answer is: no, at least not directly. I wrote about the intersection of abatements & school funding back in 2015; this current moment has been foreseeable for years, unfortunately…Read More

Jan 18, 2020

Infographic: Jersey City: the Municipality’s Role in School Underfunding

I've created this infographic as part of the 4th post of my 4-part series about the School Tax Rate in Jersey City. The municipality's growth is a factor in the underfunding of our public schools.  There is a domino effect at work; city growth is ahead in the line of…Read More

Nov 11, 2019

A Closer Look at Jersey City’s School Tax Rate, Part 3: A Case for Increasing the School Tax Levy

This is the third in a 4-part series about 2018 school tax rates, with a focus on Jersey City. This series will use public data that I have visualized in Tableau here. To read the first post in the series, click here and to read the second post, click here. Talking…Read More

Oct 17, 2019

A Closer Look at Jersey City’s School Tax Rate. Part 2: Statewide Comparisons & the Role of the Tax Base

This is the second in a 4-part series about 2018 school tax rates, with a focus on Jersey City. This series will use public data that I have visualized in Tableau here. To read the first post in the series, click here. “How does Jersey City’s school tax rate compare…Read More

Oct 15, 2019

A Closer Look at Jersey City’s School Tax Rate, Part 1: the Public Data

This is the first in a 4-part series about 2018 school tax rates, with a focus on Jersey City. This series will use public data that I have visualized in Tableau here. I was asked recently, “how does Jersey City’s school tax rate compare with other towns and cities in…Read More

Oct 12, 2019

PS #5 PTA Fall 2019 Email Campaign: No more “efficiency cuts” – What’s the long-term plan to fund our schools?

Why do the class sizes keep growing? Why did my child's "special" - art - get cut? Why aren't there any working fountains with potable water? Why did the BOE cut my math support teacher? Because: these are examples of "efficiency eliminations" - what the BOE needs to cut to…Read More

Aug 03, 2019

PS #5 Email Campaign #6: JCPS is Not Fully Funded…City Must Help #FundOurSchools

The PTA Advocacy Team at Dr. Michael Conti PS #5 School created this email campaign to keep the pressure on school officials, City Council, and Mayor Fulop as they determine next year's budget in the lead-up to the Monday August 5th City Council meeting.   I am sharing on CivicParent to…Read More

Jul 16, 2019

The Clock is Ticking…What’s the Plan to #FundOurSchools?

Sharing...from the Dr. Michael Conti School PS #5 PTA Advocacy Team It's July and the Clock is Ticking...What's the Plan to #FundOurSchools? July 2019...School is less than 2 months away. Tell City Council:   The Clock is Ticking...What's the Plan to #FundOurSchools?     Jersey City's school funding crisis is…Read More

Jul 04, 2019

Sharing from NJTV News: Questions over Jersey City teacher layoffs remain (July 4, 2019)

I spoke with reporter Briana Vannozzi in late June regarding our June 26th City Council action, when we delivered our #JCPSMailboxCampaign letters to council representatives and also stood behind students while they addressed Council. The NJTV news report is below and includes other perspectives including JCPS Teacher John Flora and…Read More

Jun 24, 2019

PS #5 Advocacy Campaign -Jersey City’s school funding crisis is NOT resolved. City Council — #FundOurSchools!!

Sharing...from the Dr. Michael Conti School PS #5 PTA Advocacy Team Jersey City's school funding crisis is NOT resolved. City Council -- #FundOurSchools!! Keep the pressure on City Hall. Demand that Mayor Fulop & City Council:   FUND OUR SCHOOLS!!     Jersey City's school funding crisis is NOT yet…Read More

Jun 07, 2019

June 26th: Tell the Jersey City City Council to #FundOurSchools

Jersey City Public Schools are $100 million underfunded and the stories we’ve heard about how this underfunding is impacting students are real. Join us as we press the City Council to put $16 million towards the schools budget. This will help prevent unnecessary layoffs, stop the sale of Central Office,…Read More

Jun 03, 2019

City Council Can Allocate Surplus Funds to the Public Schools.

The education team of Jersey City Together has been researching to understand, in concrete terms, the process by which City Council can allocate funds to JCPS. I’m a member of that team so wanted to share: 1) NJ law NJSA 40:48-17-1 allows the municipality to allocate surplus funds to the…Read More

May 31, 2019

Civic Questions for the Board of Education Upon Passing of their 2019/20 Budget

I wanted to share some civic questions that can be asked on the record or included in an email to the BOE. Why did five of Board of Education trustees approve a budget that included an incorrect tax base number? I wrote about this error in detail here, but to…Read More

May 31, 2019

Jersey Journal Op-Ed: No Way to Run a World Class School District

I am a team member with Jersey City Together and a leader on the JC Together education advocacy team.  I co-wrote with this op-ed with Dr. Jyl Josephson and Rev. Dr. Alonzo Perry, Sr. about Jersey City’s school funding crisis. No Way to Run a World Class School District  

May 30, 2019

PS #5 Advocacy Campaign: Not Good Enough – Better Leadership Needed.

Tell Jersey City's elected: we need you to provide better leadership. Fund Our Schools. How you can help. Keep the pressure on the City and Board of Education. We elect members of our community to govern on our behalf.  It is our civic responsibility to communicate our concerns & express…Read More

May 16, 2019

PS #5 PTA School Funding Advocacy Action: Keep the pressure on the BOE & City Leadership: No Pink Slips!

Jersey City is not properly funding its public schools. Hundreds of JCPS employees have received layoff notices aka "pink slips" due to systemic underfunding. The time to act is NOW. How you can help. Contact your Board of Education & City representatives. We elect members of our community to govern…Read More

May 15, 2019

JC BOE Used Incorrect Tax Base Value in Its 2019/20 Budget: Explaining the Tax Math

The Jersey City Board of Education used an incorrect tax base value in its budget presentation. It then based its estimated per-homeowner school tax increase estimates on that error. This report gives the initial report of the error: “The 2019-20 budget will increase the school tax levy by 10 percent…Read More

May 13, 2019

Accountability Checkpoint: Parent FAQs for May 13th BOE Meeting to Finalize the Budget

I’ve been getting some questions in advance of the Board of Education meeting tonight, and thought I’d share via a post, so everyone has access.  This is all public data, and we can endeavor to understand it in community. If you have a question, please email me at When…Read More

May 08, 2019

The Jersey City BOE’s “10% Tax Levy Hike” Isn’t Enough & Doesn’t Value Our Kids or JCPS

Jersey City’s Board of Education is emphasizing a “10%” school tax levy increase as if that’s a big jump. Except 10% isn’t a big dollar-for-dollar jump, when you look at the entire picture. In actuality, 10% is way too small, given the fiscal hole we’re in as a district. A…Read More

May 07, 2019

Jersey City: Approximately $40 Million of School Tax is Locked Up in Abatement Contracts

This is part of a series about the 2019/20 proposed municipal and schools budgets in Jersey City. Jersey City’s proposed 2019/20 municipal budget shows that over $120 million in PILOT fees are expected to be collected in in the coming year.  What is notable about PILOT fees is that they…Read More

May 05, 2019

Jersey City’s 2019/20 Proposed Budget: Visualized Revenues

Every municipality is funded by a mix of income streams, including: Property taxes (everyone pays property either pay it directly if you're a property owner, or you pay it to your landlord. Your rent includes the cost of property tax) State Aid Local Revenues - these are user-fee income…Read More

Apr 28, 2019

2019/20 *Proposed* Advertised Appropriations (JCPS Spending for 2019/20 School Year)

Check out prior visualizations here that I'm sharing as part of the 2019/20 budget cycle. This visualization shows multiple lenses into the proposed 2019/20 "advertised appropriations" within Jersey City's public schools, as reported by the Jersey City Board of Education here.  This budget has been prepared by the district administration…Read More

Apr 22, 2019

PS #5 PTA School Funding Advocacy Action!

Jersey City is not properly funding its public schools. Our public schools are $100+ million underfunded and it's about to grow much worse. The time to act is NOW. How you can help. Contact your city representatives. We elect members of our community to govern on our behalf. It is…Read More

Apr 15, 2019

2018/19 Advertised Appropriations (What JCPS Spends Money On)

This "tree map" shows the 2018/19 appropriations (i.e. expenses) for Jersey City Public Schools. I downloaded the data from the NJ Department of Education website, created a subset of "Appropriations" showing total spending, and then removed subtotals and totals so that only detailed lined items are visualized. Jersey City will…Read More

Mar 07, 2019

Jersey City Facing $27 Million State Aid Cut for 2019/20 School Year

Governor Murphy released his proposed fiscal year (FY) 2019/20 budget for NJ and this week, and it included a re-allocation of state education aid. The impact to Jersey City was both expected and gut-wrenchingly sobering: a $27 million cut in “Adjustment Aid”, a type of excess state aid that Jersey…Read More

Mar 07, 2019

NJ School Funding Basics: “Adequacy” Budget, School Tax Levy, & the Impact of Inflation (A Case Study of Jersey City)

This article is about Jersey City’s public schools funding crisis. If you’re unfamiliar with this issue, you can read more about it here. I’ve been attempting to de-puzzle some of the tax math that is vexing Jersey City with respect to its public school funding crisis, and have found three…Read More

Feb 05, 2019

Taxpayer Guide to Education Spending – Total Spending Per Pupil (#OpenData Visualization)

An explanation of “Total Spending per Pupil”, from the NJ Department of Education: “The Taxpayers’ Guide to Education Spending (Taxpayers’ Guide) provides the public the opportunity to view and compare all dollars spent on students enrolled in the public school system. In 2010-11, the Department updated this publication (previously the…Read More

Jan 13, 2019

NJ School Funding Basics: The Tax Levy

This is part of series about school funding, property tax, and community in Jersey City. To read other posts in this series, click here.  In my previous post, I wrote about the tax base: what it is, how we can find its value in public records, and how Jersey City's…Read More

Jan 13, 2019

NJ School Funding Basics: The Tax Base

This is part of series about school funding, property tax, and community in Jersey City. I'm learning about Jersey City's tax base, tax levies, and property tax profile so that I can better understand our school funding paradigm. I'm sharing with the community, through this platform, as I learn. To…Read More

Jan 04, 2019

NJ School Funding Basics: NJ Department of Education Data & Reports

This is a quick initial post to point taxpayers to an excellent resource for rich, official public data about our public schools here in NJ. The NJ Department of Education (NJ DOE) has, for at least the past 10 years, published a host of different datasets on its “DOE Data…Read More

Jan 04, 2019

JCPS Funding Crisis: An Overview

Jersey City Public Schools Funding Crisis Based on the state funding formula, Jersey City Public Schools are currently $100 million under-funded.  Jersey City students, parents, teachers, and staff experience this under-funding everyday. This is a structural deficit and a threat to our school system, our city, and our community. Get…Read More

Dec 01, 2018

“Jersey City Public Schools are *Structurally* Underfunded”…What does this mean?

This started out as a Facebook post on my CivicParent Facebook page. I’ve turned it into a quick post, for posterity & to help explain some of the financial mechanics of Jersey City’s under-funding crisis. “Jersey City’s public schools under-funding is a structural problem” – what does this mean, exactly?…Read More

Nov 27, 2018

#PayrollTax Ordinance: Public Testimonials About Our Public Schools

Since launching CivicParent five years ago, I've attended countless public meetings about issues related to property taxes, abatements, and public schools. And one thing that I've learned and that increasingly informs me at each meeting: the wisdom and pluralism of community comes alive during public comment. Public comment is the…Read More

Oct 06, 2018

Jersey City & NJ: Student Group Data from NJ School Performance Reports (A Focus on ELL, At-Risk, and Special Education Students)

The NJ Department of Education publishes annual data relating to certain “student groups”, per school. The table below focuses on three groups that, per state funding law, are entitled to more funding based on the level of need. These groups are: At-risk students, defined as lower income students who qualify…Read More

Sep 22, 2018

NJ Special Education Statistics | #DataViz #OpenData

In this post I’m sharing statewide special education data, with ability to drill into Jersey City special education data specifically, for both Jersey City Public Schools (the public school system) and charter schools attended by Jersey City students. I am sharing the statewide data because it’s informing to see the…Read More

Sep 15, 2018

Jersey City’s Taxpayer Funded Schools: Enrollment Overview with Focus on Income Diversity

The charts below show enrollment data for Jersey City Public Schools. The Jersey City Public Schools system is the 39-school district under the purview of the Jersey City Board of Education (BOE) and is funded through taxpayer dollars. Public charter schools also receive taxpayer dollars, but they are operated and…Read More

Aug 30, 2018

Jersey City Public Schools – A Public Good Requiring Public Funding

Jersey City Public Schools is the city’s largest public good, funded through a combination of state, local, and to a lesser degree, federal tax dollars. In 2018/19 the public schools budget was over $600 million; this is larger than the city’s entire budget.  The schools are a public good because…Read More

Jun 25, 2018

Jersey City: Who in City Council & the NJ State Legislature Represents Your School?

To help parents and taxpayers understand (a) what schools are in their neighborhood and/or (b) which elected representatives are tied to which schools, I’ve mapped all 40 Jersey City Public Schools (along with accompanying basic profile information, as listed on the JCPS Website) against 2 map layers: Jersey City Ward (each…Read More

Apr 27, 2018

Jersey City Funding Crisis: Banked Cap, Explained

Jersey City Public Schools: CivicParent Funding FAQs I have been trying to understand how Jersey City Public Schools are funded and am sharing questions I’ve endeavored to answer. As I learn, I’m sharing with the community in the hopes others will also learn and advocate. Where applicable I’ve provided citations…Read More

Jul 05, 2017

JCPS Funding: How JCPS Spends Its Money…A High Level Primer

I detailed in my last post how the JCPS budget is funded by a mix of state, local, and federal tax dollars.  But how is that money then spent? That is the main focus of this post.  Governor Christie approved a budget this week that included $8.5 million in state aid cuts…Read More

Jun 29, 2017

JCPS Funding: Why Possible State Aid Cuts = “Major Hardship”

I will be writing about this issue as it unfolds, it’s a big topic that taxpayers should understand.   This is a quick primer on why the Sweeney-Prieto proposal to cut $8.5 million in state aid from Jersey City Public Schools would, to use Superintendent Dr. Lyles term, cause a…Read More

May 30, 2017

Op-Ed Follow-Up: Get the Facts & Figures About Abatements & Public School Funding in Jersey City

I teamed up with Ellen Simon to co-author an op-ed in The Jersey Journal about how Jersey City’s PILOT policy harms our public schools. The article is dense with facts, figures, and assertions. To ensure our assertions are as accessible as possible to the public, I’ve created a landing page…Read More

May 15, 2017

Jersey Journal Op-Ed Highlights PILOT vs. Public Schools Tension in Jersey City

I teamed up with Ellen Simon, a friend, fellow public school parent, and former board trustee of the Jersey City BOE, to co-author an op-ed in the Jersey Journal. The topic: how Jersey City’s PILOT policy “robs” funding from our public schools.  The term “rob” is not ours…to find out who did…Read More

Nov 17, 2015

Jersey City PILOTs Rob Funding from the School System

A strong public school system is essential bedrock to a healthy community. Yet in Jersey City, our bedrock is threatened by a fiscal policy that is over-reliant on PILOTs.  Here’s the crux of the problem: PILOTs help grow the city, which in turn increases demand for public schools.  But PILOTed residents don’t pay school tax, leaving taxpayers…Read More

Sep 16, 2015

Mapping Abatements in Jersey City

As I explained in my last post, transparency around abatements is finally, slowly, increasing.  As data is unlocked, taxpayers can glean greater insight into how their tax dollars are spent.  To help with this effort, I’ve mapped the 146 abatements from Jersey City’s 2015 “user friendly budget” into an easy-to-use Google…Read More

May 18, 2014

Jersey City, We Have A Problem.

Jersey City has been estimating the cost of its abatements incorrectly for at least eight years, and the impact to conventional taxpayers could amount to millions of dollars. Here’s the problem: Jersey City has been under-counting the number of (a) residents and (b) public school students that will eventually live in each abated building.…Read More

Apr 21, 2014

Abatements 501: A Critique of Mayor Fulop’s “Buy Up” Abatement Policy

In my Abatement Series, I’ve discussed the basic premise of abatements, how they are funded, and the impact to conventional taxpayers.  In this post I look at Mayor Fulop’s new tax abatement policy for Jersey City, which includes two notable components: Tiering System: A system of awarding abatements based on geographic location…Read More

Mar 28, 2014

What Does 1.88 Students Look Like?

On Wednesday night, the City Council approved an 80-unit abatement in downtown Hamilton Park.  Here are some of the specs on the property: located at 9th & Brunswick in downtown Hamilton Park a community the abatement will extend for 20 years contain 80 units, including 20 3-bedroom units and 35 2-bedroom units 1.88 kids from…Read More

Mar 28, 2014

A Concerned Parent Addresses City Council re: Classroom Shortage in Jersey City

The letter below was read into the City Council record on March 26, 2014 by Sarah Welt, a downtown mom with a child who is eligible for public pre-K this coming fall.  Sarah has been instrumental in informing many parents in downtown about the PS 37 annex issue.  Sarah waited five hours…Read More

Mar 23, 2014

Tax Abatements 401: The Transparency Issue

In his 2010 report, “A Programmatic Examination of Tax Abatements,” NJ Comptroller A. Matthew Boxer highlighted numerous weaknesses with abatements.  One issue he touched upon was transparency.  He stated, “Information concerning abatement[s]…is not published in a transparent manner or centralized location, making it difficult to impossible for the public to…Read More

Mar 18, 2014

JCPS Demographic Study: Pertinent Facts re: Classroom Space

A Jersey City parent who reviewed the Board of Education’s (BOE) two demographic studies asked that I share pertinent information from the studies as it relates to the pre-K facility issue.  If you’re unfamiliar with that issue, this article in the Jersey City Independent provides background information.  The Jersey City…Read More

Dec 15, 2013

Let’s Get Civic

The genesis of…. I live in Jersey City and on November 14, 2013 I learned that Mayor Fulop’s first abatement – the 3 towers planned for Journal Square – would not include dedicated funding for Jersey City public schools.  I also learned that five City Council members, all of…Read More


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