Just days after approving massive property tax hikes for residents of Jersey City, school board members jetted off to San Diego and stuck taxpayers with the $20,000 bill.

After details of the junket to the National Association of School Board's annual gathering were reported in the media, board members scrambled to justify the trip.

Board member Alexander Hamilton, who was authorized to take the trip but told NJ.com he did not go, called the conference "routine" and educational and said it wasn't like the board "decided to go on a trip to San Diego." Other board members refused to say whether they went on the trip or not.

That will likely do little to justify the trip in the minds of taxpayers, who will now pay an extra $1,600 a year in property taxes. That's on top of a $1,000 increase last year.

An exasperated Mayor Steven Fullop lambasted the board for their poor judgment.

Fullop has be highly critical of the board and the nearly $1 billion dollar school budget they just approved. He noted the school budget is $300 million more than the entire budget for Jersey City.

Unfortunately, says Fullop, there is nothing he can do, "The BOE is an independent elected board that the city has no oversight over but it doesn't change our frustration."

The situation would be better, Fullop says, if students were excelling in school. "At this point (Jersey City) is paying $31,000 to educate a child (amongst the most in the country) for a system that is largely failing by state and federal standards," Fullop said in a recent Facebook post.

Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at eric.scott@townsquaremedia.com

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