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 start to meaningfully fix that funding deficit. This is a real chance for equity for the kids of our district, the majority of whom qualify for free or reduced lunch.
What does this mean for kids? It means needs that are currently NOT being met CAN be met. Here are just a few examples:
- Class sizes have increased due to teachers being laid off or retiring, and new teachers not filling those vacancies. For example: two classes of 16 (each with a teacher) become a single class of 32 (since one teacher was laid off or retired and not replaced). More funding will allow the district to hire more teachers, paras, and teacher aides to enable lower class sizes.
- Social and emotional support throughout the district has been systemically stripped from the schools for the past 10 years, as counselors, social workers, and other full-time staff have been laid off or retired. This means kids who have been exposed to trauma, violence, or COVID-related loss do not have enough trained adults in the schools to support their social and emotional needs.
- Enrichment and after-school programs have been stripped out of the schools due to budget cuts. Kids who might otherwise engage in extra-curriculur enrichment after school with their peers are left without activities to engage in.
- The list goes on and on.
Superintendent Walker’s budget proposal that he presented on Monday night speaks to the needs this budget is intended to meet.
Please help encourage the Board of Education to fully fund the budget. The public schools have not been this close to full funding in over 10 years. Our city’s kids – all 30,000 of them – need the community to support them. Consider calling in to the BOE meeting tonight at 6pm … you must sign up before 4pm to speak. To sign up, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 201.915.6074, or you can fill out this online form. Learn more on the district’s website.
If you have questions or want more details, here are resources for further reading: