A Fourth-Grader Takes on Jersey City's Charter School Funding Inequities

Here’s Louis Correro, a fourth-grader at Ethical Community Charter School in Jersey City, in today’s NJ Spotlight piece on N.J.’s charter school funding inequities:
“Sadly, our school has never received full funding,” he said. “What if it was your child, your schools who were being treated differently?
Correro went on to describe how Ethical Community Charter School has received the equivalent of $6,900 per pupil, compared to overall total of over $15,000 spent in the district.
“I ask you, how is our school valued so much less that the district schools?” he said.
Indeed, Ethical Community Charter receives less than $7K per pupil, despite N.J.’s charter school law that mandates that districts pay charters 90% of per pupil funding. If Louis went to a traditional Jersey City public school, his total budgetary allotment would be $17,859, according to DOE data.

NJ Spotlight recounts efforts by Jersey City charter school advocates to lobby legislators to confront this flagrant violation of state law and ethical violation of educational access.  Predictably, Julia Sass Rubin, founder of Princeton-based Save Our Schools, thinks that Louis and his schoolmates don’t deserve more than $7K. In the comment section she writes that Ethical Community Charter has fewer free and reduced lunch kids and, after all, charters don’t get the Adjustment Aid given to traditional school districts.

Adjustment Aid is an artifact that was intended to cushion the fiscal impact on local districts when N.J. moved from Abbott funding to the 2008 School Funding Reform Act. Last year Jersey City Public Schools received $114,452,158 in Adjustment Aid, a significant portion of its $565,877,003 operating budget.

In case you’re counting, Princeton Public Schools, Sass's hometown, had an annual budgetary cost per pupil last year of $19,845. That’s almost three times more per pupil than at Ethical Community Charter School, an inequity that SOS-NJ appears happy to perpetuate.

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