Voices from the Community: Fund Our Public Schools

November 20th - Payroll Tax Hearing at Jersey City's City Hall

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 time when individuals engage the process in its rawest form; on the record, each resident is given equal possession of the public pulpit to express concerns, ask questions, or critique elected leadership.

On November 20th, dozens of parents, teachers, and members of community spoke on the record about what the public schools meant to them. About concerns, questions, and hopes for new priorities for our public schools.

I'm using this platform to lift up some of those voices, because they provide context about why our public schools are so important. These videos are taken directly from the public video of the meeting available on JCTV 1, the city's YouTube channel. Each person featured below gave me permission to be included on this page. This page is a work in progress - I'm still reaching out to some of the speakers from Nov 20th and will add their voices to this page if/when permission is granted.

Learn about the lead-up to the vote:

Learn about the vote:

Jersey City Public Schools are *Structurally* Under-funded. What does this mean?

Here’s one way to look at it: If Jersey City were a house, then NJ state education aid is like a central support beam in the middle of the house. A huge portion of that support beam is called “Adjustment Aid” which currently amounts to over $150 million….and ALL $150 million will be removed incrementally, in $25 million cuts per year, over the next 7 years. The structure itself cannot stand without requisite support…but in fact the support is going away; this requires an urgent local response. Read more here.