Today at 5PM the City Council will hold a hearing on the School Board Budget. (Budget Hearing) This is unprecedented! Never before has there been a School Budget Hearing during the City Council budget process. Public comments aren’t allowed but your presence and posters are! Please bring your biggest posters and signs!
In other news, please join us as we are rooting for our school Spelling Bee champion Tian Hu (5th Grade). Tian is currently competing in the National Spelling Bee and our best wishes are with her. Schedules and Livestream can be found on ESPN
Friday, May 31, 5PM – PS16 will be acknowledged at the BOE Meeting held at P.S.#26. We will let you know if there are any updates regarding our teachers before that day.
Last night Acting Superintendent Franklin Walker has sent out a robocall with a notification that the district has begun rescinding the Reduction in Force letters.
While this is great news and a step in the right direction, it does not guarantee that PS16 non-tenured teachers will be among the re-hired. Therefore we must continue to be vigilant and if our teachers do not receive RIF reversals by the May 31 BOE meeting, we shall prepare our public comments for that day accordingly.
In the meantime, TOMORROW we have a great opportunity to join in the SOS Rally / Parent Protest along with other JCPS parent groups, teachers and students. See instructions below:
PS#5 parents have made a giant mailbox where they will collect letters from our children/students and present it to the council. PS5 & others will be meeting outside City Hall at 5:45 and walking in at 6pm
***To sign up as a speaker please call at (201) 547-5150 before 4PM tomorrow. You can even read your child’s letter!
Speaking Points, based on what we know:
Until we know the outcome of the lawsuit JCBOE filed against the state, it is understood that our district will continue to be underfunded by approximately $100 million/year gong forward. That puts the pressure / responsibility on local funding sources and the municipality.
Payroll tax revenues are not expected to fully cover the gap caused by state underfunding going forward, which is why additional sources of funding are needed.
It has been proposed by the city that PILOTS (Payments in Lieu of Taxes paid to the city by abated buildings) should be shared with JCPS in the future. Past PILOTS have not contributed any revenues to our schools causing significant underfunding on the local level.
At this time we would like to ask the City Council to consider allocating additional revenues to our schools to help stabilize the district.
Although the City Council may not administer or oversee the Board of Education, we hope to see a closer and more transparent collaboration between the two entities going forward.
Please let us know if you have any questions and thank you again for your amazing advocacy throughout this ordeal.
We also would like to report to you on the following:
In addition to coming out and speaking at the Special BOE meeting this Monday, PS16 parent council has:
Co-signed a Letter to JCBOE by JC Together together with fellow parent groups requesting that the BOE applies the entirety of the announced $27 million in payroll tax proceeds toward saving jobs / reversing proposed layoffs, as well as continues to work with the city to fund the schools.
On Wed. 5/15 BOE trustees came in to meet with the Mayor, and several PS16 moms gathered by City Hall before their meeting and engaged them in a discussion, asking to #ReverseTheRIFS as soon as possible. PS16 Protest at City Hall (Photos)
Wrote to the Acting Superintendent Franklin Walker and the district administrators, thanking them for acknowledging PS16’s Number 1 ranking, with a reminder that our school’s success lies in the talent and dedication of our staff and that we want to keep them. (PS16 will be honored at the re-scheduled BOE Meeting on May 31, at 5PM)
To the best of our knowledge, the BOE Caucus Meeting is still taking place on Monday, May 20, 6pm (346 Claremont Ave, Room 1R) We plan to participate in Public Comments. Parents are welcome to speak/attend in support.
Parents, it is our firm belief that it was YOUR dedication that helped expedite the resolution efforts. From day one you emailed the Mayor, city council, BOE members, came out to meetings and protests in multitudes and showed everyone that PS16 is united and strong as a school family, and a force to be reckoned with. Even as we plan to continue holding the defense line until every PS16 “pink slip” is reversed, we are confident that we will prevail, because of You.
We have never been so proud to be a part of this Family. You guys rock.
We would like to express our deepest gratitude for the overwhelming turnout at Monday’s Special BOE Meeting on the Budget. PS16 was the largest combined group, comprised of our teachers, parents and students and our Assistant Principal Mr. Salgado. PS16 has really made it known to the BOE members and the people present that we are a Family that stands up for each other. Thank you all so much!
There were some great photos and videos from the meeting by Jersey Journal and Hudson County View live stream. (Livestream shows PS16 parents Tugce Yalt & Natalia Ioffe speaking at [47:50] & [2:17:10] respectively). You can also find the individual videos on FB: Tugce Yalt & Natalia Ioffe.
We need our PS16 staff to know that they will ALL still have jobs in September and we would like the BOE to be proactive in getting this information out to the RIF recipients as soon as possible.
We would NEVER get this far if it weren’t for PS16 Parent Community’s (YOURS) immediate, targeted, and tireless activism from day one! You guys have accomplished the impossible, and we are confident that we can see this through to the end, for the sake of our kids and their beloved teachers.
First we would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for coming out in Full Force to the City Council Meeting on 5/8 and for a discussion with the BOE President on 5/9. Your presence and voices have made a GREAT IMPACT, drawing the attention from the media, the BOE and the City administration.
Some great examples of PS16 trending in the media last week:
Our Principal Ms. Watkins-Williams has asked us to express her heartfelt gratitude to you all on behalf of the staff! You guys have truly held the frontline, and showed our teachers and the rest of the world that PS16 families care and are willing for fight for their teachers.
To us they are so much more than just education professionals, they are extended family, people who help raise our children and help them achieve their best potential. We cannot allow them to be arbitrarily cut from our children’s lives. Our school would never be the same without them.
RECAP and STRATEGY for coming days:
On 5/8 we asked the City Council to release the revenues for the Payroll Tax to help our schools stop the teacher layoffs. (Our district is anticipating $27 million in state cuts this year, which is why hundreds of teachers across the district have received “Reduction in Force Notices” (RIF). PS16 is set to lose at least 9-10 teachers which comprises 25% of our entire instructional staff. (While we cannot disclose their names, feel free to reach out to your teacher and inquire if they are being laid off.)
On 5/9 Mayor Fulop sent out a Tweet followed by an Email (Mayor’s Email Re- Our Schools), announcing the Payroll Tax proceeds of $13.7 million to be allocated to the schools. Our parents have made a verbal request to the BOE President to prioritize these funds toward reversing the “Reduction in Force” actions and keeping our teachers where they are. We need to continue reinforcing this request.
By being PRESENT, and holding up Signs and Posters in Support of our teachers/kids (Like we did in City Hall). We need to show strength in NUMBERS and show that PS16 stands up for our own! (If possible, wear Navy or Royal Blue tops, we will have a number of youth XL PS16 uniform shirts to hand our to our parents so we can stand out in the crowd.)
By signing up for PUBLIC COMMENT (instructions here) and speaking on the following points:
PS16 will suffer irreversible damage if we lose 25% of our best teachers. We need to keep ALL of them!
We would like the BOE to prioritize the payroll tax proceeds of $13.7 million specifically to preserve teachers. Policy dictates that non-tenured teachers are the first to be laid off. Their salaries average approximately $70K. Thus the Payroll tax revenues can help save almost 200 jobs. (We want PS16 staff to remain fully intact)
Please let us know if you have any questions. We will continue to update you on direct action opportunities that we can engage in.
This week schools around the country are celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week. Unfortunately in Jersey City this week began with public school teachers receiving Reduction In Force notices, which means that many of them will be laid off by end of this school year, due to the school district budget cuts.
At this time P.S.#16 stands to lose approximately 25% of our teaching staff due to these cuts. This includes non-tenured classroom teachers and specialists, as well as further program cuts, like Enrichment, Reading Recovery, Music Program and more.
With your help we have been able to sustain our school for years, supplementing wherever possible – with supplies, activities and facility improvements. Despite operating with minimal district funding, “0” Title 1 Aid, and oversized classrooms, PS16 has climbed to the rank of No.1 in the County and No.20 in the State, thanks to our talented teachers! Losing them will create an irreparable void and severely affect our children’s academic future.
WE NEED YOUR HELP! There are several meetings coming up where parents can speak on behalf of our teachers, to preserve our current instructional staff. Please join us at attending and/or speaking at the following: (Let us know on SignUp Genius if you can attend any of the following:)