JERSEY CITY, N.J. — At a Board of Education meeting on Friday night, Board President Sudhan Thomas announced the school district will be able to close a $40 million budget gap without laying off 750 employees as originally feared. This was achieved by implementing a series of highly creative budget alternatives in cooperation with city and school officials.
“Facing over $33 million in devastating state aid cuts forced us to find new approaches to protect the integrity of our school system,” said Board President Thomas. “The Board of Education, Superintendent Franklin Walker, Business Administrator Regina Robinson and the entire administration have worked tirelessly to put forth a budget that is both responsible and fair and avoids layoffs.”
The $40 million budget gap was closed through a combination of $27 million in revenue from a new City Payroll Tax, $6 million from the anticipated sale or ground lease of administrative offices and $7 million in projected savings to the school district’s self-funded unemployment insurance program. City taxpayers will also face a 2% increase in school property taxes as a result of the budget which saw the JCBOE raise $ 12 million in revenues. The JCBOE has filed a 2 count law suit against the state of New Jersey for its underfunding of JCBOE by over $ 750 million in the last 8 years.
Although no employees will lose their jobs due to the budget crisis, the school district will move forward with its plans to reduce expenses and staff as part of an overall Operations Efficiency Initiative and Audit that started last year that has already saved over $50 million. As a result, between 150 and 200 jobs will be cut without harming classroom instruction and or day to day operations. These cuts are not related to the budget shortfall and will improve the overall efficiency of the school district.
“The JCBOE is determined to continue looking for ways to increase efficiencies to allow for more dollars to flow into the classroom for the future,” said President Thomas. “We have a moral imperative to our taxpayers and to our school community to spend every tax dollar we receive responsibly”
“President Thomas showed great leadership and the entire Board, our administration and our union leaders all deserve a great deal of credit for their determination in finding a practical solution that protects our students and our entire school family,” said Superintendent Franklin Walker.