Archives for category: Budget Cuts

When Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Educational Excellence expresses outrage, it should direct its outrage towards the budget cuts that have gutted necessary services for the students in Chicago, not at the teachers’ union that is fighting for the restoration of services. Patricia Levesque, if you were a high school teacher, wouldn’t you go on strike if your students didn’t have a librarian in their school? Wouldn’t you demand a restoration of budget cuts that took away most of the city’s librarians?

 

This press release came with graphics, which I did not include. The graphics show a dramatic contrast between schools that are majority African-American, and schools that are not, in terms of their having a certified librarian. The higher the percentage of black students, the less likely is the school to have a certified librarian. For example, 75% of the schools where the enrollment is less than 50% African-American have a certified librarian; 16% of the schools with a student body that is 50-90% African-American have a certified librarian; only 9% of the schools that are 90% or more African-American have a certified librarian. Contact Stephanie Gadlin if you want to see the graphics.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Stephanie Gadlin
December 14, 2015 312/329-6250
StephanieGadlin@ctulocal1.com

 

 

A CTU SPECIAL REPORT:

 

 

Just two certified librarians left at virtually all African-American CPS high schools

 

 

By Chicago Teachers Union Researcher Pavlyn Jankov, with assistance
from the CTU Librarians Committee

 

CHICAGO – For the last several years the CTU and the CTU Librarians Committee have been documenting the loss of professionally staffed libraries from district schools. The district’s failure to provide adequate funding has led to position closures, shifted librarians into classroom positions and left in disuse libraries that have been painstakingly built and supplied by their teachers. Constant funding precarity has also pushed out experienced and veteran librarians to seek other opportunities.

 

In 2012, 67 out of 97 schools had a dedicated certified teacher staffed as a librarian. After three years, half those high school librarians lost their positions or left their schools. This year, the proportion is reversed with just a third of all high schools having a librarian.

 

With the district’s implementation of student-based budgeting alongside deep budget cuts, and its continued reckless expansion of charter schools, CPS’ lack of support for neighborhood schools has led to enrollment losses and severe budget cuts across high schools. Segregated Black schools on the South and West sides have been hit especially hard, and when it comes to access to school libraries, the disparity has become startling.

 

The number of librarians staffed at high schools with a student population greater than 90% African American with a librarian on staff has dropped 84%, from 19 schools in 2012 to just 2 this year, at Chicago Vocational Career Academy, and Morgan Park High School. Across the 46 high schools with a majority African American student population, just 15% have librarians, and across the 28 high schools with an African American student population above 90%, just 7% do. In comparison, the dismal rate of librarian access across all CPS high schools is 32%. Such a deep disparity did not exist several years ago. In the 2012-2103 school year, 61% of high schools with a majority of African American students had a certified librarian on staff, compared to 69% across all district high schools.

 

LIBRARIANS RE-ASSIGNED TO FILL TEACHER SHORTAGE

 

Some schools that have library rooms without librarians actually still have librarians – but they are assigned as full-time classroom teachers. In 2013, 58 librarians were shifted into non-librarian positions. A librarian at a southwest-side high school reports that while her school has had a vibrant and collaborative library program that circulated over 9,000 books to students last year, her duties now include teaching several English classes. However, she felt lucky, as she has had an assistant, and managed to keep the library going with funding and grants.

 

Librarians are indispensable to not just students, but to fellow educators. Coworkers of Ms. Tamela Chambers, a librarian at CVCA – one of the few remaining librarians in a south-side neighborhood high school, described how invaluable it is to work with her: “We continue to challenge each other with projects that stretch our creativity. Working with Ms. Chambers literally leaves me ‘jumping at the bit’. I can’t wait to finish one project so that I can get into the next one.” At CVCA, they have collaborated over student projects for newscasts, documentaries presented at the Chicago Metro History Fair, service learning projects, children’s books on food deserts, collecting songs for use in AP U.S. History. Facilitating such projects are so important, Tamela said, because “libraries bridge the gap between academia and personal interests; a crucial connection that makes learning meaningful and relevant”.

 

Records indicate that CVCA has had a certified-librarian staffed for at least the last 15 years, a duration that many other south side high schools also shared until the last several years of budget cuts. This week, the librarian at DHW, housed at the DuSable school campus along with Bronzeville Scholastic Academy and the Dusable Leadership Academy, was notified that her position was closing. With the closure of the DuSable Library, a library that has been in continuous existence since the start of the historic DuSable school, the district shuts down the only functioning library staffed with a fully-certified librarian in a Bronzeville neighborhood high school. Sara Sayigh, the veteran librarian who received the layoff notice, explains the historic importance of school libraries: “Since 1936, DuSable has always had a librarian and during most of the time, more than one. This historic Black school is the alma mater of Harold Washington, Nat King Cole, Ella Jenkins, Timuel Black and many, many others. The library in this school always has given a sense of community to the building and it still does today. When you remove a librarian, you remove an entire service, and take something essential away from the whole building. At my school, it’s connected to the sense of the greater community.”

 

BY THE BOOK: CPS IS BROKE ON PURPOSE

 

Total funding for libraries across district schools has shrunk again this year, down to just $24 million, a cut of 20% from last year’s $30 million. The precarity of the CPS budget constantly weighs on teachers. K.C. Boyd, a veteran and celebrated certified librarian formerly at Phillips Academy left CPS this past summer to run the libraries program across the East St Louis school district. In CPS she faced a situation familiar to many veteran educators of subjects that are not considered by central office as core curriculum with dedicated funding – annual uncertainty of a continued position. She said “I had experienced a position closing on me in 2009 and vowed that I would never go through that again… This was a painful decision because this was the first high school library I was assigned, I had re-built the library from scratch, developed an awesome collection through grants and donations and turned non-readers at Phillips into readers.”

 

K.C. was one of several Chi School Librarians activists who met with former CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett last year to advocate for library funding and more teacher representation in curriculum development. She recounted how at the end of the meeting, it was apparent that CPS was not committed to their library programs: “Dr. Byrd-Bennett said that the projected figures for next school year looked grim along with our positions. She paused and looked all of us sitting at the table in the eye when she said that. I caught that message loud and clear.”

 

K.C. is happy in her new role managing and re-building a library program for East St. Louis schools, and she expressed concern that CPS has not prioritized libraries, especially in communities that have suffered disinvestment: “I think it is appalling that the south side of Chicago, in particular greater Bronzeville, the home of the Black Migration from the South has so few sitting certified librarians.”

 

The Chicago Teachers Union is committed to fighting for sustainable resources for CPS, for the district to re-prioritize our neighborhood high schools, and for dedicated funding for a certified librarian at every school.

North Carolina was once the most progressive state in the South. Under the leadership of Governor Jim Hunt, it enacted many progressive programs for education and invested in public education, both K-12 and higher education.

But Tea Party Republicans took control of the legislature in 2010, and a Republican governor was elected in 2012, the first time in a century that Republicans controlled the state. Since taking power, the Republicans have slashed the budget for public education at all levels. They have enacted a law to authorize charter schools, including for-profit charters. They enacted a voucher law. They welcomed for-profit virtual schools. They have set out to shrink government and diminish the public sector. Per-student spending is now near the lowest in the nation, as are teacher salaries. The legislature has gone after teachers’ tenure and benefits. It shut down a five-year career teaching preparation program at the University of North Carolina, called the North Carolina Teaching Fellows, yet allocated almost the same amount of money to pay for Teach for America recruits, who will come and go.

This webinar should address these issues and more.

It should be of special interest to members of the Network for Public Education who intend to participate in our annual conference at Raleigh, NC, on April 16-17. Please visit our website and register. 

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Register For Our Upcoming Webinar

North Carolina Voters and the Value of Public Education,

2015 Survey Highlights

December 15, 2015, 2-3 pm EST

North Carolina Voters and the Value of Public Education, 2015 Survey Highlights

Leslie Winner, Executive Director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, shares the findings from their 2015 statewide survey of voters perceptions of public education.  The results show that North Carolina voters strongly value local public schools, support greater investments in overall funding and want more investment in teachers. The most recent survey shows great concern that state education policy and funding are undermining the public’s desire to ensure that each child is challenged to grow and is prepared for success in college, career and life.  Learn about tools for communicating the value of and advocating for public education!
Register here.
We are also excited to be soft-launching our new Southern Education Network, an online forum and virtual network created for you — advocates, organizers, students, parents, educators — who are working to support public education in the American South.  We’re providing this forum as a means for you to find resources, connect with others, dialogue about issues you’re facing and strategies you’re using, and to get support in the work to achieve education justice. 
The site is free to join, and by signing up as a member, you gain access to an online forum and a member directory, where you can search and connect with others. 
Over the coming months, you’ll see us add resources and additional information to the site.  As you check out the site during this initial launch phase, we’d love to get your feedback so that we can keep improving  the site and making it as user-friendly and efficient as possible.  We look forward to continuing to work with you in new ways.

The original Elementary and Secondary Education Act was intended to add resources to schools that enrolled the poorest students. Its goal was equality of educational opportunity, not higher test scores. But forget about it. The goal of federal and state policy is raising test scores.

 

What about equity? What about equality of educational opportunity?

 

Read and view this portrait of Philadelphia’s filthy public schools and ask how Americans can tolerate such conditions? This is shameful.

 

Every member of the Pennsylvania legislature should walk through the schools of the City of Brotherly Love and ask themselves: Why did we cut the budget? Why are the children of Philadelphia less deserving of decent learning conditions than the children in suburban districts?

I posted yesterday that the Chicago Public Schools’ board of education, appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, had voted to close the last high school library in Bronzeville.

 

The librarian who was terminated wrote a comment asking if readers of the blog would sign a petition to save the library:

 

I am the librarian in question. My students staged a “read in” to protest the loss of their librarian and library (cut after next week). The CTU’s facts are correct and I am the last librarian in a historic African American school in CPS.

 

http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20151211/bronzeville/hundreds-of-dusable-hs-students-stage-sit-in-protest-library-closure

 

There is a petition at the end of this article – also the “read in” was witnessed and reported by the Chicago Sun Times.

 

http://chicago.suntimes.com/news-chicago/7/71/1174223/students-launch-read-dusable-high-protest-losing-librarian

Michael Rothfeld of the Wall Street Journal has written the best, most balanced account that I have seen of the perilous condition of the Common Core standards. The article fails to explain adequately why 46 states adopted the standards, as if everyone was waiting and hoping for the chance to endorse untested national standards; it happened because of the $4.35 billion offered as a state competition, but only to states that agreed to do what the Obama administration wanted them to do, which included embracing the standards.

Rothfeld documents why states are dropping out. A few have repealed the Common Core standards. Half of the 46 states that signed on to one of the two federally-sponsored tests have backed out. It wasn’t simply the political controversy from right and left, from parents and educators. The cost turned out to be a deal-breaker.

Some states couldn’t afford the cost of retraining teachers. Some could not afford the technology. Some could not afford the new tests.

But the standards and tests arrived at a time when districts and states were strapped.

“The total cost of implementing Common Core is difficult to determine because the country’s education spending is fragmented among thousands of districts. The Wall Street Journal looked at spending by states and large school districts and found that more than $7 billion had been spent or committed in connection with the new standards. To come up with that number, the Journal examined contracts, email and other data provided under public-records requests by nearly 70 state education departments and school districts.

“The analysis didn’t account for what would have been spent anyway—even without Common Core—on testing, instructional materials, technology and training. Education officials say, however, that the new standards required more training and teaching materials than they would otherwise have needed, and that Common Core prompted them to speed up computer purchases and network upgrades.

“Much more money would be needed to implement Common Core consistently. Some teachers haven’t been trained, and some schools lack resources to buy materials. Some states haven’t met the goal of offering the test to all students online instead of on paper with No. 2 pencils….

“Common Core advocates hoped to make standards uniform—and to raise them across the board. Their goals were to afford students a comparable education no matter where they were, to cultivate critical thinking rather than memorization, to better prepare students for college and careers, and to enable educators to use uniform year-end tests to compare achievement. They wanted to give the tests on computers to allow more complex questions and to better analyze results.

“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which signed on to the effort in 2008, so believed in the cause that it has spent $263 million on advocacy, research, testing and implementing the standards, foundation records show. Vicki Phillips, a Gates education director, says its Common Core-related funding of new curriculum tools developed by teachers has led to student gains in places such as Kentucky.

“But after a burst of momentum and a significant investment of money and time, the movement for commonality is in disarray.

“Some states, including South Carolina, Indiana and Florida, have either amended or replaced Common Core standards. Others, including Tennessee, Missouri, Louisiana, New Jersey and North Carolina, are in the process of changing or reviewing them. A total of 21 states have withdrawn from two groups formed to develop common tests, making it difficult to compare results.

In California, the costs of implementation are staggering.

California has allocated $4.8 billion to local school districts that they can use for Common Core implementation, but some have asked a state commission to order more funding for giving the Smarter Balanced test.

“For some urban districts struggling to pay for basic educational needs, preparing for the standards has been challenging.

“The Philadelphia school district unveiled a plan in 2010 to implement Common Core and won a $500,000 grant from the Gates Foundation. But a budget crisis the next year resulted in nearly 4,000 layoffs, including of some putting the plan in place.”

There is something bizarre about pouring billions into untested standards and tests at a time when districts like Philadelphia, Detroit, Milwaukee, and many others are struggling to maintain basic services in their schools and at a time when privatizers are targeting the very existence of public schools.

The Chicago Teachers Union has shown that it is not afraid to strike. In 2012, its decision to strike was approved by a near unanimous vote. Now, teachers are bracing for more budget cuts, even as the Rahm Emanuel-picked Board of Education shifts resources and students to nonunion charter schools.

It it is a strange world we live in when a mayor of a major city calls himself a Democrat as he doubles down on his war against public schools and unions.

What do you call Mayor Emanuel? A Republicrat?

Here is the latest from the Chicago Teachers Union:

NEWS RELEASE
IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Stephanie Gadlin
November 2, 2015 312-329-6250

Chicago Teachers Union prepares the rank-and-file for possible labor strike as threats of mass layoffs continue

CHICAGO – Today, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s handpicked public schools chief announced a change in his proposed timeline to lay off 5,000 or more educators who are demanding a fair labor contract. CEO Forest Claypool claims teachers could start losing their jobs as early as January, shortly after the end of the holiday season. This is why the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is encouraging members to start saving a portion of their paychecks in order to weather a possible labor strike.

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) continues with its plan to remove protections for experienced and qualified educators who lose their positions through no fault of their own. Massive layoffs only exacerbate the current 50 percent teacher turnover rate every five years — something that interferes with continuity and quality instruction.
“We are asking teachers, paraprofessionals and clinicians in our bargaining unit to save at least 25 percent of their pay in preparation for a possible strike,” said CTU President Karen Lewis. “With the uncertainty in Springfield, the continued chaos at the Board of Education, and the constant threats to our classrooms, we have to be prepared. Our families will depend on us being able to weather what could be a protracted strike.”

Lewis also said more than 200 schools have taken unofficial, independent straw polls testing the members’ strike-ready temperatures but the union will run its own mock strike vote this week. “Teachers are feeling the strain placed on them by principals who have to work with reduced budgets and cuts to special education and other necessary programs. Class sizes are ballooning and the district is crying broke when it comes to our demands for more teaching resources while at the same time cheering themselves on while opening multi-million dollar charter operations. This makes no sense. We have to take a stand for our profession and for our students and their families.”

On Thursday, November 5th, the CTU will run an official ‘practice’ strike vote and contract poll in all CPS school buildings. The exercise helps prepare members should they decide to take an official strike vote in the coming days. State law requires 75 percent affirmative vote from CTU’s entire membership. However, a strike authorization vote is an internal union affair of which the Board has absolutely no legal right to interfere in any way.

In three weeks, thousands of CTU members are expected to present a unified front on November 23rd when they rally in Grant Park at Butler Field, 100 S. Lake Shore Drive. In addition to hearing speeches from Union leaders, people will listen to testimonies from parents, community leaders, students and other labor leaders. The 5:30 p.m. event will include a tailgate, with free food and beverages, and include a special commemoration for CPS students who have been killed or impacted by gun violence.

Labor talks between the CTU and the Board remains in mediation and negotiations are ongoing. Should CTU members decide to strike it will the second teachers strike in the last three years, both of which will have occurred during the Emanuel administration.

###
The Chicago Teachers Union represents nearly 27,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in the Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the more than 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third largest teachers local in the United States and the largest local union in Illinois. For more information please visit CTU’s website at http://www.ctunet.com.
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Amanda Koonlaba, an art teacher in Tupelo, Mississippi, explains here that Mississippi is in a pitched battle to fund its public schools adequately. The issue is joined in a political struggle over Initiative 42, which would require the adequate funding of public education. Initiative 42 is opposed by the forces of privatization, which prefer to open privately managed charters, hand out vouchers for religious schools, and block any increase in funding for the public schools.

Koonlaba writes:

In 1997, the Mississippi Legislature passed a law promising to provide each public school district in Mississippi enough financial support to furnish an adequate education to every K-12 student. That law is called the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP), and has only been followed twice since its was passed. This has resulted in a shortfall of over a billion dollars since 2009. That is a billion dollars that would have provided textbooks, technology, and certified teachers. Instead, Mississippi’s students have just had to do without.

In 2014, nearly 200,000 Mississippians from every county and both political parties took a stand and signed petitions to have Initiative 42 added to the ballot on November 3, 2015. This would amend the state constitution in a way that makes public education a priority instead of an afterthought. Initiative 42 closes a loophole that has allowed the Legislature to break the MAEP law for so long.

After citizens signed these petitions, the very first thing the Legislature did when they went back into session was to pass an alternative to Initiative 42.

The alternative was intended to confuse voters, to protect the status quo, and to prevent any increase in funding for public schools.

The leaders of the opposition to Initiative 42 have ties to the Koch Brothers and Americans for Prosperity.

And ALEC, the enemy of the public good, is involved too.

This spring, the Legislature passed a school voucher bill straight from the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) playbook. ALEC helps corporations, idealogues, and their political allies pass legislation that privatizes schools. This legislation is written behind closed doors and then passed around from state to state. All a lawmaker has to do is fill in the blanks with the name of their particular state. It benefits large corporations and directs public tax dollars to private entities. ALEC is funded by the Koch Brothers. Interestingly, Jeb Bush, who is also closely connected to Americans for Prosperity, attended [Governor] Phil Bryant’s signing of this bill in Jackson.

The passage of Initiative 42 is crucial for the future of the children and public schools of Mississippi. It is a chance for the public to say NO to the 1% that rule ALEC and the other privatization advocates.

It is a chance for citizens and local communities to stand up for their public schools and stop the corporate assault on them.

Koonlaba writes:

Initiative 42 is a light in the darkness of this attack on Mississippi’s public schools. It is a chance for the citizens of Mississippi to stand up to the Legislature and remind them that they work for citizens not privatizers. Mississippians want their public schools to remain public and be fully funded.

However, Mississippians need help sorting through what the Executive Editor of the Clarion Ledger, Sam R. Hall, called “a load of horse crap” from the opposition to Initiative 42. Luckily, several groups are working to help Mississippians do this to get the initiative passed.

The Parent’s Campaign and the Mississippi Association of Educators have been working to educate the public on the initiative. 42 for Better Schools is the actual campaign to pass Initiative 42 and is a coalition of Mississippi public schools supporters and organizations. A grassroots group called Fed Up with 50th emerged to support school funding issues. They write on their Facebook page that

“We are law-abiding, tax-paying Mississippi voters—Republicans and Democrats—and we are FED UP! We are FED UP with failing schools, low graduation rates, poor teacher support, crowded classrooms, crumbling buildings, not enough textbooks or computers—all the things that make us 50th in education year after year. More than anything, we are FED UP that our legislators continue to BREAK THE LAW and underfund our schools, STEALING from our children and SELLING OUT their future to special interests.”
If Initiative 42 passes on November 3, Mississippians will have won a major battle but will have much work still left to do. If it doesn’t pass, the war will be lost.

Initiative 42 is a chance for Mississippians to tell the corporate entrepreneurs that their children and their public schools are not for sale.

If they stand together, the people of Mississippi can beat the 1%.

Who stands up for the neediest, most vulnerable children in Chicago? Not Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Not the Mayor’s hand picked Board of Education. Not the Superintendent Forrest Claypool, who imposed what he himself calls “unconscionable” cuts to special education.

Who stands up for the children? Educators.

Principal Troy LaRaviere (who was previously warned by CPS about speaking out too much) describes here the principals’ revolt, and the CPS officials’ sneaky effort to announce the cuts in a Friday afternoon (when they would get minimal media attention), with only one day to appeal.

If this what reformers stand for? Hurting defenseless children?

LaRaviere writes:

“Whenever I try to take a break from writing about CPS to focus on other aspects of my professional and personal life, CPS officials do something so profoundly unethical, incompetent and/or corrupt that my conscience calls me to pick up the pen once more. This time, they’ve targeted special education students. Obscured in the latest round of CPS budget cuts is an unprecedented move to cut legally required special education services. Educators are often asked if a school based budget cut will affect students. The answer is always “yes.” Each person in a school provides a service to a group of students. When CPS decides to cut the dollars that fund a school-based position they are, in effect, taking the service away from students.

“One district official was quoted in the Sun-Times stating, “CPS continues to work with our principals to prepare for these adjustments.”

“Adjustments” is CPS’ latest euphemism for cuts to student services. If they keep it up, they’re going to “adjust” students out of their education entirely. CEO Forrest Claypool often repeats a talking point that the cuts CPS will “have to make” are “unconscionable.” If one thinks the cuts are “unconscionable” then one does not give those cuts a false euphamistic name like “right-sizing.” Yes, that’s the actual term they use to describe their efforts to reduce services to special education students. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, CPS took an additional $13.3 million worth of services from CPS students with their latest “adjustments.” The article includes a spreadsheet detailing the cuts to schools across Chicago. For example, Ogden school lost five special education teachers and three special education assistants, while Austin High School lost two teachers and four assistants.

“Chicago’s mayor and CPS officials often cite the need to “sacrifice” in order to “save money” as a justification for such cuts. However, all too often CPS and City Hall pretend not to see opportunities to save money by making those who can most afford it sacrifice. Instead they turn their avaricious eyes toward those who can least afford it: our students. They didn’t make the banks that swindled CPS out of $100 million sacrifice by suing them to recoup their losses; they prefer to make students sacrifice by increasing their class sizes. They didn’t makes SUPES Academy sacrifice by denying the organization a $20 million no-bid contract; they prefer to make students suffer by cutting their sports programs. They didn’t make the scores of basement dwelling for-profit charter school management organizations suffer (88% of charters are in the bottom half of CPS performance in student reading growth); instead they took funds used to provide programming for students in more successful neighborhood schools. They didn’t make Aramark and Sodexo Magic (an Emanuel campaign contributor) suffer by canceling their custodial management contracts when they failed to keep schools clean; CPS and City Hall prefer instead to make special education students sacrifice by cutting their legally required educational services.”

Where are the lawyers?

Mike Klonsky reports that Chicago Public Schools is cutting special education.

“Our autocrat at City Hall appears bent on dismembering special education in Chicago by a thousand cuts. SpEd took its first major deep cut over the summer eliminating 500 positions at CPS. More cuts announced late Friday mean approximately 160 schools would lose special education teachers, while 184 would lose aides.”

Let the lawsuits begin. There is a federal law to protect children with disabilities.

David Rutherford is in his first year as a member the the school board in Plainfield, New Jersey. He dug into the budget and discovered that the state of Néw Jersey is cheating the children of Plainfield. Since the election of Chris Christie, the state has ignored a law requiring that it fund schools based on student needs. Plainfield has been shorted by millions of dollars. Rutherford estimates that Plainfield is owed $70 million by the state.

Guess who has not been shorted? Charter schools, which have the backing of several prominent hedge fund billionaires in Néw Jersey.

Charter schools have been sucking students and dollars out of the Plainfield public schools.

Until now, the fiscally responsible Plainfield district had been running a surplus. But it won’t last.

Rutherford writes:

“But surplus is a finite resource, and long term the picture is far more grim. The state of New Jersey’s refusal to pay districts the funds they deserve and the over-funding of charter schools will become growing problems for which this district, and many others, must find difficult long term solutions. Millions of dollars in lost money will undoubtably have a grave impact on students and the community.

“Applying the Pressure

“We must demand that Chris Christie and the New Jersey State Legislature cease to steal from the neediest public school districts while keeping charter schools afloat. Language that allows for charter over-payment must be removed from next year’s budget.

“The Highland Park and Paterson Boards of Education have already passed resolutions demanding that the Legislature take a stand and eliminate that language. In fact, you can read Highland Park’s resolution, which has been accepted in principle by the New Jersey School Boards Association and should be up for vote at the next School Board Delegate Assembly meeting on November 26th.

“Seven million dollars in over-payments on top of $70 million in underfunding over the course of the past six years is nothing short of theft, and the blame falls on a bipartisan coalition of our leaders in Trenton. This includes the two-thirds Democratic State Assembly and Senate. They must be held accountable.”

 

If policies like Néw Jersey’s stay in place, districts like Plainfield will go bankrupt, setting them up for privatization. There will be many others in the same situation. Good news for hedge fund managers who want to destroy public education. Bad news for kids, teachers, public education, and democracy.

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