New Jersey could lose a top school thanks to Murphy’s cuts
Much has been written about Roosevelt, and as someone who lives there and raises children, what I love about it is that you can be a kid longer there.
You can still see kids playing outside in Roosevelt, usually either basketball up at the school courts or football on the side of my house. They might even ride their bikes down to the Assunpink lake and check out the wildlife. For most of its residents, the school is within walking distance, if not a short ride, which parents either make every morning or the older children ride their bikes.
My sons are about to graduate Roosevelt Public School and they're doing it just in time, because thanks to Gov. Phil Murphy's budget cuts, it may not be there much longer. Imagine their surprise when the expected $32,000 cut in the budget, which many thought would be devastating, turned out to be over $148,000. This for a school that has 81 students. How did the number get so high?
Ken LeCompte, the Board of Education president, said, "As best we can tell, they applied the formula that's driving the state aid cuts to the school choice aid as well."
The board must now consider cuts totaling that amount to approve and adopt a budget by March 20.
Roosevelt has recently been lauded as the best elementary school in Monmouth County by Niche magazine, and has been recognized for having the highest scores on PARCC in the state. It has achieved this stature because of teachers and leadership who care for and know how to best educate the whole child and by utilizing best practices in education.
What's great about Roosevelt Public School is the way the teachers care about each and every student. Between the teachers and the parents who drop them off, Roosevelt literally has become the "village" that it takes to raise a child.
Roosevelt is one of a handful of suburban districts committed to extending this first rate education to children from diverse backgrounds: through its participation in the Interdistrict Choice program, it actively recruits students from poorly performing schools and neighborhoods.
"About 7 years ago, we applied to become a 'New Jersey Interdistrict Choice school,'" LeCompte says. "Where we would take in students from other districts, and we were awarded 60 seats which we probably could fill. But then the state oversold the program and cut us back to 30 seats. If we had those seats we would be solvent and we wouldn't have this problem."
If they would allow more students from segregated districts in the inner city to have the "choice" of a better education in Roosevelt the problem could be solved.
If the goal in New Jersey is to give students the best education possible and you have the option to send them to a top performing school, wouldn't you? The school has available seats to fill, where the students can be more productive in a positive learning environment. Wouldn't you want that, rather than force Roosevelt to close their doors?
Time for New Jersey to do the right thing as Governor Murphy would say!
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