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 quickly recap: the Jersey City...Continue reading
Tag: Tax Base
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 NJ.com report gives the initial report of the error: “The 2019-20 budget will increase the school tax levy by 10 percent to $136.5 million. The school...Continue reading
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 [email protected] When was the BOE given notice...Continue reading
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 simple example can illustrate how...Continue reading
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 don’t contribute to the school...Continue reading
NJ Property Tax Dashboard: Updated for 2018 w/ Jersey City Highlights
Every year, the state of NJ publishes property tax data on the Department of Community Affairs website. I have combined all the available data, for tax years 1998 through the most recently published data for 2018, into one tabulation and visualized it in Tableau. This dashboard is intended to provide taxpayers with a bird's eye...
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 & Reports” page. The data...Continue reading
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 the facts, connect in community,...Continue reading
“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? Here’s one way to look...Continue reading
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 for free or reduced lunch...Continue reading
NJ Property Tax Dashboard | #OpenData #DataViz
This is a property tax dashboard for NJ residents who may be interested in learning about the property tax profile of their municipality, including: 1) Latest available (Tax Year 2017) property tax metrics available from NJ’s Property Tax portal. 2) Tax base growth chart from 1988 to 2017 – how has your town’s tax base...
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 varying degrees of special education...Continue reading
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 overseen independently of the JC...Continue reading
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 they educate the vast majority...Continue reading
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 ward is represented by a...Continue reading
Property Revaluation 301: Estimating Your Post-Revaluation Tax Bill
This is part of an ongoing series about property revaluation in Jersey City. Please note, an update given new state tax data reported in 2017: the 2016 equalized tax rate is reported to be 1.86%. This is the best predictor of what the new tax rate will be, post-Revaluation. I’ve been asked by a few people: “How...Continue reading
Property Revaluation 201: Quantifying Tax Inequity (A Simple Example)
This is part of an ongoing series about property revaluation in Jersey City. In my last post, I explained how Jersey City’s low equalization ratio was a cause for revaluation. The reason: when a city’s equalization ratio is low, its market values have grown out of sync with its assessed values, and that opens the door to potential tax...Continue reading
Property Revaluation 101: the Equalization Ratio
This the first post in a series about property revaluation in Jersey City. Jersey City has been growing at a breakneck speed for the past fifteen years. As a city grows, it is required to stop along the way and revalue its real estate. This process is termed “revaluation.” Revaluation is about ensuring that tax assessed values –...Continue reading
Press Releases, Property Taxes, and the Value of Spin
Mayor Fulop announced last week the hiring of a new communications director for Jersey City, 26-year old Ryan Jacobs, at a salary of $110,000. The current communications director, Jennifer Morrill, earns $100,614 and will remain as press secretary “to assist…with day to day operations.” Jersey City taxpayers are now paying over $200,000 for spokesperson duties. A city...Continue reading
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. The City has been using...Continue reading
Tax Abatements 301: Two Sides of the Same PILOT
This is article #3 in my series about abatements. Article #1 is “Tax Abatements 101: The Basics” and Article #2 is “Tax Abatements 201: Abatement Impact on Conventional Taxpayers.” In my previous post, “Tax Abatements 201: Abatement Impact on Conventional Taxpayers”, I focused on the orange slice of the pie pieces below. In this post I...
Tax Abatements 201: Abatement Impact on Conventional Taxpayers
This is Article #2 in my series about abatements, which focuses on the impact abatements have on conventional taxpayers. My first post, “Abatement Basics,” is located here. How important are abatements to Jersey City residents? The answer: extremely important. Abatement revenues – also known as PILOTs, or “payments in lieu of taxes” – have increased from 3% of...Continue reading
Tax Abatements 101: A Basic Overview
A basic introduction to the topic of tax abatements in NJ.Continue reading