Jersey City Public Schools: An Overview
The Jersey City Public Schools (JCPS) has 28,000+ children and operates on a budget of $680+ million. A 2-volume study was commissioned by the BOE to help the BOE form a long-term facilities plan; Volume I was released in July 2013 and Volume II was released in 2014. This Jersey Journal article provides helpful background / context for Part II of the study. A series of highlights from each study are provided (click this link). You can learn more at the Jersey City Board of Education website & Facebook Page.
Parent Advocacy with Jersey City Together
For several months I\'ve been working with other Jersey City Public Schools parents to coalition-build on issues of import around our public schools. We have had the instrumental help of Jersey City Together, a community organizing force that has worked on issues like affordable housing, fair property taxes, and public safety.
Our work has involved inviting parents into a broadening discussion about what we\'d like to see improved in our public schools. Concrete issues we\'ve identified include:
- Better access to clean drinking water in our public schools
- More security and safety within and around our public schools
- More input & awareness about curriculum and how it\'s shaped in our public schools
- And more...
To be part of the conversation, feel free to submit your name and email below. Or, stay on the lookout for upcoming Jersey City Together / JCPS Parent meetings.
Drinking Water: Is it an issue at your school?
Jersey City Public Schools has a tragic history of lead in the water. Parents have been told that lead contaminant issues are resolved, yet bureaucratic responses still abound. What is clear to many parents is this: most water fountains are turned off, and the district relies on a water bottle distribution company in Birdsboro, PA to deliver bottled water. Some parents have cited empty water bottles, a lack of cups to access water from the bottles, and pooled water on the floor that creates risk of injury. Our kids need and deserve accessible, clean drinking water. They aren't always getting it, and that's why it's an issue. A secondary issue is the notion of sustainability. What's the carbon footprint of transporting thousands of bottles of water from Birdsboro, PA to Jersey City, then relying on paper or plastic cups to access the water?
There must be a better way. We're working to problem solve and want others to join in the conversation.
Does your child have access to clean drinking water during the day? If not, tell us about it below, and if you're willing to join us.
Crossing Guards - Where are they at your school?
Jersey City has a street safety page on its website listing intersections with public school crossing guards. I'm part of a parents team within Jersey City Together and we wanted to know how accurate the city's listing was, so we mapped it. Now we're sharing it, and we want to ask parents: does this map represent the true crossing guard locations at your school? Please give us feedback below.
Taxpayers: *YOU* Help Fund the Public Schools. Get in the loop on how your tax dollars are being spent, and to what effect.
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 to bear the burden of increased school cost. Two factors compound this problem:
(1) the city is now dependent on PILOTs to fund itself, so there is economic and political pressure to maintain the current course instead of fixing this structural problem before it grows even worse and
(2) state education aid has been flat the past several years, shifting the cost burden to local Jersey City taxpayers.
How we fund our public schools in the short and long-term is critically important. We need an open dialog about this issue. Our collective investment in the public schools speaks to the quality of our future as a community.
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