Wednesday, April 23, 2014

EDUCATION LAW CENTER - PRESS RELEASE

“Education Law Center supports Hoboken’s call for a comprehensive analysis by the NJDOE of the impact of charter expansion on district students,” said David Sciarra, ELC Executive Director. “The Legislature and the Court have made clear that the Department must consider student segregation and the ability to provide a thorough and efficient education before granting a charter application, renewal or expansion. This is essential to ensure charter schools improve, and not undermine, education for all Hoboken students.”

HOBOKEN CHALLENGES IMPACT OF CHARTER EXPANSION ON STUDENTS


RACIAL SEGREGATION AND LOSS OF FUNDING KEY ISSUES 

April 24, 2014
On April 14, the Hoboken Board of Education filed an appeal of the NJ Department of Education’s (NJDOE) decision to renew and expand the Hoboken Dual Language Charter School known as HoLa. In its petition, Hoboken details how the expanded charter school will exacerbate racial imbalance in the Hoboken schools and reduce funding available to students in district schools.
Hoboken argues the NJDOE failure to assess the impact of the HoLa expansion on the district’s racial balance and funding levels is a violation of the guarantee of a “thorough and efficient education” in the NJ constitution. Hoboken asks that the decision to approve the expansion be set aside so that NJDOE can undertake the constitutionally-required assessments.
The student demographic differences between the HoLa charter and district schools are stark. In 2012-13, 75% of the students enrolled in Hoboken schools were African-American or Latino. That same year, minority students comprised 39% of HoLa enrollment.
Hoboken’s petition also compares HoLa with the geographically nearest neighborhood public school, Connors Elementary School. While white students make up 60.6% of the students at HoLa, whites comprise 3.9% of the population at Connors. The Hispanic student population is 63.3% at Connors and only 28.8% at HoLa.  In 2012-13, 96% of Connors students were low-income compared to 11% at HoLa.
“It’s hard to believe forty years after the civil rights movement that I would be writing about the need to integrate public schools. The charter populations do not reflect the overall diversity and immediate intervention is needed from the NJDOE,” Hoboken Superintendent Dr. Mark Toback wrote to former NJ Education Commissioner Chris Cerf on December 10, 2013, in response to the HoLa’s application to expand.
The petition cites a recent NJ Supreme Court decision regarding Montclair Quest Academy Charter School’s unsuccessful applications. The Court makes clear that, when evaluating a charter application, “the Commissioner must assess the racial impact that a charter school applicant will have on the district of residence in which the charter school will operate” and “must use the full panoply” of State power to avoid segregation resulting from the grant of a charter application.
Hoboken also raised the funding issue by providing the NJDOE “statistical information related to the multi-year trend of charter school funding, noting that the amount of funding allocated to charter schools has increased exponentially and is trending towards a state of crisis for the non-charter school children.”
In four of the past five years, the district has experienced double-digit increases in the funds allocated to charter schools and anticipates sending almost $8.5 million to charters next year. According to Dr. Toback, Hoboken is facing the prospect of significant teacher and staff layoffs and program cuts.
“In approving the renewal and expansion of the Hoboken Dual Language Charter School, the NJDOE acted with disregard for our State constitution, Supreme Court guidance, and its very own administrative code,” Dr. Toback said. “Given the negative impact of the Department’s decision on the district, the Hoboken Board of Education was left with little choice but to take action to protect the educational programs for the children attending the public schools.”
“Education Law Center supports Hoboken’s call for a comprehensive analysis by the NJDOE of the impact of charter expansion on district students,” said David Sciarra, ELC Executive Director. “The Legislature and the Court have made clear that the Department must consider student segregation and the ability to provide a thorough and efficient education before granting a charter application, renewal or expansion. This is essential to ensure charter schools improve, and not undermine, education for all Hoboken students.”

Press Contact:
Sharon Krengel
Policy and Outreach Director
skrengel@edlawcenter.org
973-624-1815, x 24

6 comments:

  1. No one does Charter stupid like the Star Ledger (add here MSNBC, Petrocino and his ridiculous Curriculum blog, the Hudson Reporter and Patch).

    There is a good point here made that free lunch altogether isn't taken into account. How many free lunch period are there in the district as opposed to Hola?

    If the pressure to perform the comprehensive analysis mounts, and the findings are that the Hola expansion undermines educating all Hoboken Students, I really hope the decision is reversed and expansion is denied.

    http://jerseyjazzman.blogspot.com/2014/02/no-one-does-charter-school-stupid-like.html

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  2. If charters had the same racial and economic diversity as the traditional public school system, then what would be the point of them?

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  3. The Hola parents are outright nasty. They post on open sites inaccuracies while pitting factions against one another. They believe that they are deserving of the tax dollars for an untried and poorly run immersion program led by a bunch of ex-board of education employees, board of education members and shady politicians. The gladiator fighting mentality is fracturing the community.

    What a horrible parent representation this group is!

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  4. Is Jeffrey Wilens of lakeshore law center doing a class action scam?

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  5. Hoboken's budget issues with charters should be seen in the context of other districts in NJ.

    In terms of tax base, Hoboken is NJ's richest K-12 district by far.

    http://njeducationaid.blogspot.com/2015/09/dear-hoboken-boe-your-charter-schools.html

    Even with charter transfers, Hoboken remains one of the highest spending districts in New Jersey. To complain about Hoboken's budget cuts without thinking of the far more serious budget problems in places like Guttenberg, Belleville, Bayonne, Kearny etc is pure whininess.

    Hoboken is also one of NJ's more egregious aid hoarders and Hoboken has no justification whatsoever to remain an Abbott.

    http://njeducationaid.blogspot.com/2015/10/even-demographically-hoboken-has-no.html

    The $10 million that NJ spends on Hoboken's "free" Pre-K should go to poorer districts.

    The $5+ million Hoboken gets in Adjustment Aid should be redistributed to poorer districts as well.

    http://njeducationaid.blogspot.com/2015/07/the-overaiding-of-hoboken.html

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  6. Spending is bare minimum adequacy based on SFRA.

    As you know, Hoboken is considered former ABBOTT, as such the $10 mill it spends on prek is a mandate and cannot be cut.

    The $5 mill in adjustment aid is a hold harmless claus placed until state aid increases at proper rate beyond 2008.
    https://www.njsba.org/parents/adequate_budget.php?pc=2
    Adjustment Aid
    This is often referred to as "hold harmless" aid, and for good reason. Its original intent was to ensure that when state funding was reinvented through the SFRA in 2008, no district would lose funding due to the new calculations. It continues to exist in the law and represents the negative difference, if one exists, between a district's State Aid for this year and the aid received in 2008. Let's look at an example:
    "The Court directed implementation of the new formula, but imposed two conditions on the State for "continuing constitutionality:" a) the formula must be fully funded for the first three years; and b) the formula must be thoroughly reviewed to determine if it is working properly, and make any needed adjustments based on that review.
    In June 2010, the NJ Legislature adopted Governor Chris Christie's proposed FY11 budget, cutting over $1.1 billion, or almost 15%, in state aid from the SFRA formula.

    Adequacy budget
    "In short, for every school district the state calculates what would be the necessary funding level to provide a "thorough and efficient education" to every pupil in that district. This is what is referred to as the Adequacy Budget."

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