The city’s school board unanimously passed a resolution – the city council is expected to pass a similar resolution soon — on Wednesday evening seeking a moratorium on new charter schools and an end to attendance based school funding.
The resolution states the district lost $19 million this year as a result of average daily attending based funding. Poverty stricken urban districts often have attendance problem that prevents them from achieving 95-percent daily attendance, reads the resolution.
Education officials are also seeking a moratorium on new charter schools, said school board president Jonathan Hodges.
Hodges said the state has allowed charter schools to open at the expense of the district and its children. “That money that pays for charter schools comes out of the budget of the school district,” said Hodges. Charter schools take $35 million from the district’s budget, according to district records.
He said when students leave for charter schools there’s a large amount of residual cost that continues to burden the district. Building, teachers, and other fixed costs, according to school officials.
Hodges wants the commissioner of education to block future charter schools for at least a period of three years.
When asked about the three items and the likelihood of the district obtaining them, David Saenz, spokesperson for the New Jersey Department of Education said, “As general practice, the department does not comment on local board resolutions.”
Saenz linked to a press release that announced funding for districts throughout the Garden State, stating, “2016 funding for all districts [are] at historic levels.”
The resolution also calls on the state to quit flat funding the district and start abide by the 2008 school funding law called the School Funding Reform Act. The district has been flat funded for the past six years losing $170 million during that period of time, states the resolution.
The resolution came about after both the school board and the city council met to discuss potential local tax increases last month. William McKoy, 3rd Ward councilman, suggested the idea.
The joint resolution is a push back against the state for underfunding the district, said Hodges. The council had the same resolution for discussion during its last workshop session, and is expected to pass in matter of weeks, said McKoy on Thursday evening.
“As they continue to underfund us this as caused us critical problems financial where it exceedingly jeopardized the education of our students,” said Hodges.