JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — There is a funding fight underway in a Garden State city.
Tens of millions of dollars in state aid for Jersey City Public Schools is set to be cut. As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez found out Monday, parents fear it could have a lasting impact on their children.
Nearly $30 million is slated to get cut, critical funding for teachers and extra curricular programs.
Matik Jones said he is extremely concerned about what that could mean for his 6-year-old son.
“You given them too much time and they have nowhere to go, and not being educated, violence, gangs and all that is rising,” Jones said.
On Monday, the Jersey City Board of Education filed a lawsuit against the state to overturn the projected cuts of $27 million in state education aid this year and $180 million over the next five years, saying the School Funding Reform Act of 2008 that eliminated the money is unconstitutional.
“With that $27 million cut, it puts us at risk of being able to provide the rights of our children,” Acting Schools Superintendent Franklin Walker said.
Jersey City schools were under state control for about 30 years until the board regained control last fall, and has been operating below adequacy for a decade.
School Board President Sudhan Thomas said the cuts could lead to massive layoffs and school closures and do irreparable harm to its 30,000 students, most of whom are minorities, low income and at risk.
“We have those that are supposed to go to high school, but they rather sit on the corner because they don’t really have anything else to do,” co-plaintiff and parent Shanna Givens said.
“This has obviously ravaged the district and has severely threatened our ability to afford thorough and efficient education,” Thomas added.
If September comes without a decision on this lawsuit, students would begin the school year losing as many as a dozen teachers in each of Jersey City’s 38 public schools.
When reminded that the district is fighting for the students, Jones said, “Somebody should. I hope they win because Jersey City needs all the help they can get.”
Parents worry that losing financial aid, teachers and programming will affect their children, not just today but for the rest of their lives.
CBS2 reached out to the Attorney General’s Office for comment, but did not immediately get a response.