Hoboken School Funding Fight in NY Times
Today’s New York Times identifies Hoboken as the center of the battle over how New Jersey calculates state aid for schools. Critics say Hoboken’s revitalization is in sharp contrast to it’s reliance on Abbott School funding for impoverished districts. Hoboken officials say the city does not get as much Abbott Funding as other districts with a large population of low income students enrolled in the school district. Today’s article with the headline “Hoboken’s Rebirth Fuels School Aid Formula Fight” notes how far the city has come since it was first identified as an “Abbott District”:
“Hoboken’s rags-to-riches transformation is often cited by critics of New Jersey’s so-called Abbott system, in which 31 historically poor urban school districts receive the bulk of state school financing, to illustrate its shortcomings. Cities like Hoboken, these critics say, are no longer impoverished enough to merit special treatment.”
In the article Republican Assemblyman Bill Baroni points to Hoboken as “exactly why we need a new school funding formula,” while Abbott funding advocate David Sciarra calls criticisms of Hoboken a “red herring” because the district receives so little Abbott aid. The Times also notes the real estate renaissance has not led to a revolution in the school system:
“In Hoboken school officials said that a majority of their students come from housing projects, not the upscale condos whose owners often send their children to private or parochial schools. Seventy-five percent of the district’s students are poor enough to qualify for free or reduced lunch, the seventh-highest level among all Abbott districts, according to state statistics.”
The Times article quotes schools Superintendent Jack Raslowsky, who says Hoboken accepts $4.2 million in Abbott funding for preschool programs as part of$12.4 million in state aid within a $54 million budget. The story also notes the plight of students from the HHA who attend Connors Elementary School, and includes a link to an interactive map comparing the statistics of school districts throughout New Jersey. Roll your mouse over Hoboken and you will find some thought provoking stats, including:
- Hoboken has the 3rd highest average teacher salary in the state at $76,806.
- Average spending per pupil of $19,363 is the 4th highest in the state.
- The student-teacher ratio of 9.3 in 410th out of 512 districts.
- 446th in the state for 4th grade Language skills
- 425th in the state for 4th grade math skills