The Issues

NO TEACHER LAYOFFS                                                                              

The most important place in any educational facility is the classroom.  Teachers are both educators and caregivers to the children in those classrooms.  Because teachers are one of the greatest assets to our city, we will preserve every teacher position in the district.  There will be no teacher layoffs.  This is our FIRST PRIORITY.  Cost savings will NOT begin with teachers. With over $616 million dollars available every year, our cost cutting will begin with downsizing in Central Office, and reducing or eliminating consultants, ineffective PD programs, and bloated service contracts. We will not touch teachers.  

LOWERING TEACHER HEALTHCARE COSTS

Co-payments and premium costs have increased every year with our teachers.  We will work with our State Officials and our health care providers to REDUCE COSTS for our teachers which the current board and union leadership have failed to accomplish.   While teachers may have received small scale raises as a result of budget tricks, part of it was negated with increasing health care costs and not enough respect for our educators.  The trend is clear: Premiums, Deductibles and Copays for doctor’s visits, child births, etc. are hurting our teacher’s financial bottom line.  We have to fix this.  We have to take care of teachers’ health so they can fully focus on the job of teaching kids.  Again, with over $616 million dollars available every year, our cost cutting will begin with downsizing in Central Office, ineffective PD, and reducing or eliminating consultants, curriculum programs, bloated service contracts - not passing increased health care costs to teachers.  

MORE CLASSROOM RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS

We are committed to increasing the allocation of money to each classroom for traditional classroom supplies to be used at the educators’ discretion as well as more access to WORKING copier machines IN EVERY BUILDING and WORKING classroom technology tools.  We will take every copier out of Central Office and put it in a school building if that is what it takes to give teachers the resources they need. Our young students need worksheets and class information for their backpacks. Our district should be embarrassed that its teachers have to spend dollars from their personal salaries for basic things like copies, pens, pencils, markers, notebooks, folders, hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes...and the list goes on and on. Again, with over $616 million dollars available every year, we can find more classroom resources for our teachers: reigning in spending by downsizing Central Office, reducing or eliminating consultants, PD programs, and finally conducting the real forensic audit that this district needs! We must give teachers the tools they need to perform at the highest level for our children.  This has not been happening.  Our teachers deserve better.  

TRANSPARENCY WITH CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS AND BUDGET ANALYSIS

The discussions between the JCBOE Negotiations Committee with Central Office and JCEA officials will be transparent with regular, timely updates to teachers.  Teachers should not find out about proposed cuts via a pink slip to 300 teachers that was “miraculously” averted, as done for the 2019-20 budget. Further, one day strikes are not effective.  Teachers saw the one day strike as disingenuous.  Teachers are not pawns to be used in the metaphorical “game of chicken” and unethical backroom deals between board members or union leaders. We will work diligently to deliver better contracts by delivering better leadership for our teachers.

FACILITIES

We are appalled by the broken water fountains, bathrooms missing doors, and sinks and stinks in our schools. The current board fired the Facilities Director a year ago and has put all Facilities issues on the back burner. These buildings educate our children and provide the primary working environment for thousands of people. Our team looks at the buildings as the children and educators who spend their days inside them who must be given more than they are today.

FULL FUNDING FOR OUR SCHOOLS & RESPONSIBLE SPENDING

We believe the positive future of Jersey City is based on the quality of education our students receive. Whether through cuts to after-school programs, the arts or vocational programs, funding shortages ripple through to the students every day class is in session. Proper funds will be devoted to our schools and proper oversight will be exercised over those funds under our leadership. True community engagement and dialogue will be key for us as board members and we intend to begin these community discussions immediately.

MORE INCLUSIVE & INTERACTIVE BOARD MEETINGS

Board members should be constantly responsive to the community and board meetings should reflect that. Parents and community should have notice of all meetings in advance and every effort should be made to schedule meetings with working parents in mind. Meeting dates should not be changed except in an emergency. Translation services should again be made available at meetings for our many parents who speak English as a second language as they deserve the right to listen and advocate. Board meetings will be shorter and more efficient with board members who understand their role in district governance.

FINANCIAL PRACTICES THAT ARE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Adherence to basic transparency and Sunshine Laws is not good enough. Jersey City Public Schools should be a model of openness and we will implement best practices from other model educational institutions to support the level of accountability we deserve.

UNDERSTANDING OUR ROLE

We understand our role on the board is to be advocates for students FIRST. We do this by taking the educational goals of the community and translating those goals into policy for the school administration to enact. The Change for Children team will provide a greater vision and strategic approach resulting in the development of tools needed to move both students and our communities forward, eg. Significant Community Engagement, Strategic Plan, Superintendent Evaluation, Self-Evaluation, Annual Board Action Plan, and Vision Goals.

COMMON-SENSE GOVERNANCE

The current school board has clearly exhibited dysfunction which is destabilizing for our students, staff, and families. We are parents and community leaders who want decency and civility restored to the district. We want clarity and transparency in the public process of school governance. Our team will implement board policy to ensure appropriate levels of communication and fellowship with the community.

INNOVATION FROM PRE-K TO GRADUATION

New strategies, programs, and technologies for our students, staff, and facilities abound across learning areas. We will encourage the administration to fully avail themselves of these opportunities in ways the current board has neglected.

A FRESH APPROACH TO BREAKFAST AND LUNCH AT SCHOOL

There are healthier, better-tasting alternatives to today's student dining options available at no additional cost to the district. Dining at school has advanced in districts across the country. Jersey City can be a leader in fueling our students for learning, providing healthier meals and more options such as Halal, Kosher, vegetarian, vegan for students in every school.

ARTS AND MUSIC ARE NOT NEGOTIABLE

Every student in our district deserves enriching and enjoyable arts and music instruction with a teacher that inspires them. More time in the school day should be allocated to these critical, developmental subjects.

ATHLETICS BUILD STURDY MINDS

The district budget should not be balanced on the back of our schools' sports. The athletic program will continue to reflect the full scope of the talents and ambitions of our students.

MORE RECESS AND CHOICE TIME

Children in Jersey City (and everywhere) need more physical activity, ideally in the outdoors. Students and families should have more input into the structure of their learning day. We will support policies to build on these practices as board members.

IT'S NEVER TOO EARLY FOR FINANCIAL LITERACY EDUCATION

We will fully implement the new law on financial literacy curricula to help students build real-world skills and knowledge in ways demanded by today's changing world.