Fulop, Spears, 7 questions: How can the next mayor assist the school district in closing the funding gap?
Mayor Steve Fulop and challenger Lewis Spears were asked to answer seven critical questions in the Jersey Journal to give readers an idea of how each would run the states second-largest city over the next four years. Here's the second of those questions and their answers.
The Board of Education is an independent elected body with a $1 billion budget versus the citys smaller $650 million budget. The city must continue to seek creative ways to assist the schools with shared services, but at the heart of any decisions must be accountability by the institutions with how money is spent, as well as accountability for student achievement.
We cannot write a blank check on the back of past mayors' policies that would increase taxes on our current residents, and we cannot give 'a clear check' without requiring better performance from our schools.
Whats happened to our schools under the Fulop administration has been a tragic event. Although we have received state aid, our schools are still not fully funded because the mayor is busy running his slate of candidates to take control of our school board. He has basically defunded our schools, and its not difficult to see why.
Our childrens futures have been ransomed by the Fulop administration stalemate with the school board on the south side of the city, where there are older buildings, less resources, and parents arent able to supplement declining school budgets.
I think its time for the largest developers in our communities to examine why a payroll tax or other investment in the schools is worth their time and effort. Fully functioning, well-run public schools should be a priority for any developer with multi-family properties in Jersey City. If our wealthiest corporations can sit at the table with our school board and our teachers union, if we put the children of Jersey City first and map out a path to sustainable spending to achieve that goal, high-quality public education in this city is within reach.
This isnt a new idea. The new annex to School 16 Downtown was built as part of a public-private partnership with the city. We must scale up this kind of collaboration across the city to ensure that all of our childrens futures are bright.
QUESTION 1 - AFFIRMATION What is Jersey Citys mayor s most important decision for the next four years?