Sunday Leftovers

Prison Prep?:

Martin Perez, of the Latino Leadership Alliance of NJ, testifies on the connection between failing schools in cities like Newark and Camden, wasted money, and inevitable imprisonment:

New Jersey spends more per pupil on education than any other state in the nation, and within New Jersey urban districts spend more than any others: Newark at $25,000 per pupil; Camden at $30,000 per pupil. Yet these districts graduate an overwhelmingly disproportionate percentage of its students to prison, rather than higher education. The moral bankruptcy of a system that spends that kind of money, pretending to give Latino and Black children educational opportunities that are really nothing more than pipelines to prison and jail is a capital crime for which there is no sentence or prison.

Camden Decries SFRA:

Speaking of Camden, the Courier-Post reports that since 2000 the number of kids enrolled in Camden Public Schools has dropped by more than 15%. However, the district of about 15,000 children has been protected from any drop in aid because of the way Abbott schools are funded. If the SFRA passes muster in the courts and the State shifts from a model where we funnel money directly to poor kids instead of to pre-designated districts, Camden could see a drop in aid of $21,000,000 over three years. Said a representative from the Education Law Center,

“If any of (the budget) is cut, then the education opportunities for our kids are sacrificed,” said Lauren Hill, the director of the Education Law Center’s Camden Initiative. “The point is that we stand to lose if the (new formula) is held as the law of the land for district’s like Camden who require additional support.

Watch Those Waivers!

Washington Township in Gloucester County is experiencing some budgeting problems. Last year the school district received permission from the State to go over their 4% cap, and now they’re stuck trying to squeeze a bloated belly into skinny jeans because you don’t get to count those extras when calculating the cap for the following year. Reports the Gloucester County Times,

Between 2002 and 2008, the district added 241 employees to its books. Superintendent Cheryl Simone said the numbers seem inflated because many of the full-time positions were turned into part-time jobs with hourly pay and no benefits Ð resulting in a lower cost, but more bodies. About 80 percent of the budget is salaries and benefits.

Not to mention that school boards across the State are approving budget with gaping holes of information, like how much State aid they’re set to receive, or if they’re getting anything at all from the Federal stimulus package. Crystal balls are looking better and better.

Paul Mulshine

…in a particularly reductive mood:

The Abbott construction plan came because of a 1998 order by the state Supreme Court in the never-ending Abbott school-spending case. Our ultraliberal Supreme Court ordered the state to pick up the entire cost of building new schools in 31 “special-needs” school districts that had special needs mainly because they were mismanaged by urban Democratic machine politicians.

Get Your Tickets Here!:

And Eduwonk is running a contest to rename NCLB. Get your suggestions in now! Entries include “No Child Left Untested,” “The Act of Contrition,” and “Could we Start Again Please Act.”

What do you think?

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