I am a very concerned parent of two children in a Jersey City charter school. This amazing charter school has provided my children with a warm and nurturing learning environment in which they have thrived and where they are developing intellectual, emotional and social skills, that will make them engaged and productive citizens.
Unfortunately, the school is being forced to provide this first-rate education to its students under crushing financial pressure. This financial disadvantage has been due to the blatant unfairness of the Success For All School Funding Formula Act (SFRA) of 2007. While the NJ Charter School Act of 1995 states that charter schools are supposed to receive 90 percent of what the local districts schools spend per child, because of the vagaries of the SFRA legislation, charter schools in Jersey City are receiving as little as 50 percent of what a child in regular Jersey City school district receives.
This is not only patently unjust, but is a detriment to the 10 percent of Jersey City children who attend charter schools. I know that there are many people out there that pit charter schools against the regular public schools. However, charter schools in Jersey City are public schools and are open to all residents of the city. Even with a fair funding formula, the regular public school gets to keep money from the state for a child that they are not educating. It is not a zero-sum game between the charter schools and the regular public schools. Thriving charter schools will help the overall public school system of Jersey City. Political leaders like President Obama, Mayor Bloomberg of NYC and Mayor Booker of Newark have all endorsed charter schools as a way to improve the public school system. Fortunately, in February 2011, the SFRA legislation is up for review. This review will give our state's political leaders the chance to rectify a grave injustice. I hope that they have to courage to do the right thing. It is only fair.