Isaiah Skurnick - JCPS Student at Frank R Conwell MS #4 School
"Construction paper and printing paper are all money out of our teachers' pockets, not paid for by the school. And then there are computers. Technology is the zeitgeist of this generation. And still, our computers are broken, they're missing keys, or they won't turn on. This payroll tax can help with all that. People move the world, and schools move people...so it's not an exaggeration to say that schools move the world."
George Fontenette - JCPS Parent, Henry Snyder High School
“My daughter is at Snyder High School, the designated arts high school. To our surprise, her first year there, they had to remove the lead theater teacher, to place them at another school, which increased the size of the class. To my surprise again, they didn’t have enough funds to put on a play. So we have an arts high school in Jersey City that can’t put on a play...The schools on the south side, and people on the south side, have born the brunt of decades of neglect...if you have failing schools on the south side, they need more of that money.”
Amelia Verdibello - Frank R Conwell MS #4 Student
“I really want my education. And I want everything to be fixed again. And I want my siblings to have a good education too. Everybody deserves a chance to grow.”
Kristin Hopkins - JCPS Parent at Dr. Michael Conti PS #5 School
"Last year we had to fight for our math and reading specialists, as these positions were proposed to be cut. These specialists don’t only work with those who are struggling. They also help coach teachers and aides to help improve instruction throughout the school. Our reading specialist is vital to my son’s success…as our class sizes grow, and support is taken away from our teachers, it is the children who need this extra help who will be the first to be impacted by these cuts. And we are running out of time…Pass this ordinance at the 1%. Then let’s continue the conversation because we have a lot more work to do."
Jackie Shannon - JCPS Parent at Dr. Michael Conti PS #5 School & JCPS Teacher at McNair Academic HS
“This payroll tax is barely a band-aid on a gaping wound. You have to vote yes on this, and then keep going and going and going, because it does not look good…the reality is, if that does not pass, and things do not change, everybody who can, will leave. And then the developers will have no one to rent their $4,000 apartments to. No one to sell their luxury million dollar condos to.”
Michael Griffin - Jersey City Resident & Ward F Community Leader
"It’s ironic that a few years ago, a 2% tax was passed with less controversy to take care of parks and public spaces, but we’re in here fighting large corporations who don’t pay taxes to give up a penny on the dollar for our children’s future. I live in Ward F…around the corner from Lincoln High School and PS 12 school and down the street from PS 17. I see these kids every day. And as these kids get older, a lot of them...I’m seeing their futures slipping away from them. From the lack of resources that they already don’t have."
Catherine McElroy - JCPS Parent at Dr. Michael Conti #5 School
"You've heard it all already. The water, the soap. Please support this full 1% payroll tax to fund our schools. It's the first step. It's a fight. And we are engaged."
William Cao - JCPS Parent at Rafael Cordero #37 School
“I’m a product of Jersey City Public Schools…We’re going backwards. Libraries...face a lot of cuts. There’s no arts. I used to have home [economics] and shop. I loved it. Our schools don’t have that right now…our science lab - STEM, STEAM…we’re going to fall way behind, there’s nothing to be STEMing or STEAMing. We don’t even have a lab.”
Nancy Pokler - JCPS Parent, Dr. Michael Conti PS #5 School
“By Jersey City not being a proactive partner, by not supplementing the state funds, by not preparing for the day when the state’s temporary adjustment aid was coming to an end, by seemingly only focusing on developments and PILOTs and abatements, pedestrian plazas, expanding pedestrian plazas, asking for horses, moving statues, it seems like anything and everything except for our schools…to me that’s an example of a chronic and systematic willful neglect of our public schools.”
Chris Gadsden - Lincoln High School Principal, JCPS Parent
"State law is allowing us right now to make a decision on a payroll tax. What state law is in the books right now that says that we can share PILOT revenue with the schools? As we move forward…come up with real long-term solutions so that we won’t be in the crisis that we could be in."
Kristen Zadroga-Hart, Jersey City Resident & Parent, JCPS Teacher
"The brunt of this burden should not fall on the back of local small businesses who are an integral part of the Jersey City community. Many of those small business owners are products of the Jersey City Public Schools, and developed their love of entrepreneurship in our very classrooms. To then turn around and financially cripple them would be wrong. This responsibility should fall firmly in the laps of the large corporations who have been over-incentivized to relocate to an area that offers far greater resources and benefits than they give in return."
Reverend Jon Brown, Pastor at Old Bergen Church & Leader with Jersey City Together
“Our students tell us...they can’t drink the water in the schools. Many of them are afraid to use their bathrooms all day long. Teachers end up buying their own supplies and acting as their own custodians. PreK teachers who are required to have an assistant in the classroom find out that when the assistant is sick, there is no funding for substitutes...in our elementary schools, lunchtime ratios are now 50 students to 1 teacher. That’s a dangerous recipe for disaster...Our children need us to act now.”
Shauna Cunningham - Elementary School Reading Specialist & JCPS Parent at Dr. Michael PS #5 School
"No elementary school classroom should have any more than 25 kids in it. It’s impossible to differentiate and meet the needs of all the diverse learners in the classrooms. You can’t challenge your high kids. You can’t provide all the intervention and supports you need for the kids who are struggling to access the curriculum. Instruction suffers. I was so alarmed last spring when I saw that reading specialists, literacy coaches, math coaches…jobs were on the line. There are high numbers of students who are struggling to access the curriculum. These specialists are providing interventions that help them stay afloat the in the classroom. You take these positions away, students are going to drown. Classroom teachers are going to drown along with them. They’re overloaded."
Jennie Pu - JCPS Parent & PTA President at Rafael Cordero School #37
“There has been no neighborhood where the schools being cut out of the Jersey City growth has been more prevalent or amplified than Hamilton Park…at Cordero we have a beautiful library…but i see our space, and I see our books that are from 1960 and 1970…Our kids do not have drinking water, when it’s too hot, we don’t have a structure to support our kids…we shut down the schools early sometimes with a few hours notice.”
Meghan Howard Noveck - JCPS Parent
“I am a parent but I am also an economics researcher. I have been studying education policy for the past decade….Public schools are a public good. Fully funding our schools is good policy for all citizens of Jersey City. Education spending is regularly found to have a good return on investment. We cannot afford to not educate our children.”
Mike Greco - JCPS Parent & Teacher
"We've seen kids die, we've seen kids shot, we've seen kids stabbed, we've seen kids incarcerated because of the cuts. Now, with the massive cut that's before us, to not act would be a crime on your behalf. It's going to effect the entire city."
Brigid D'Souza - JCPS Parent at Frank R Conwell #3 School & Leader with Jersey City Together
"For too long, our schools have been cut out of Jersey City’s growth. This must end tonight...at a time when our schools are already $100 million underfunded, when we're going to lose another $170+ million in the coming years... our schools need to be a major part of every conversation going forward."
Colleen Kelleher - JCPS Teacher
“The ordinance should go through without a problem. Jersey City residents need jobs. Our student need schools. Our students need after school activities. Everybody wants to blame the kids; for the graffiti, for the drugs. And yet we don’t have any athletics program after school? It’s disgraceful.”
Daniel Levin - JCPS Parent at McNair Academic High School
“We all knew this was going to happen someday, but collectively we did very little...as a city we had our heads in the sand...we always thought we'd have another day...it’s time to stop winging it. It’s time to sit down and say we have to face and address our problem.”
Natalia Ioffe - JCPS Parent & Parent Council Representative at Cornelia F Bradford PS #16 School
"I want to give you an idea of what development has created to our school alone. When I started on the parent council team in 2014, we had approximately 320 students including PreK. We are now at over 600 students including preK, due to which our preK students now have to travel halfway across town because there’s no space, not only at our school, but at any downtown neighboring school."