The Director of Soaring Heights Charter School, Claudia Zuorick, and three founding teachers, ALL with Jersey City public school district experience, address Earl Morgan’s May 27 column with a full picture of charter funding in Jersey City.
Dear Mr. Morgan,
When we rethink charter school funding, our information and conclusions are very different from the ones you presented in your column. We work with the reality of charter school funding every day.
To begin with, every child who attends Soaring Heights Charter School must first register in one of the Jersey City public schools and then immediately transfer to Soaring Heights. For the 2015-2016 school year, the Jersey City Public School District will receive $25,871 in government money for each student enrolled in Soaring Heights, but only $10,905 will actually be transferred to Soaring Heights, leaving the Jersey City school district with a profit of $14,966. The Jersey City public school district will not pay to educate the 237 students who attend Soaring Heights. It will not pay for teachers’ salaries (we have belonged to the NJEA since 1997 and pay union wages), it will not pay for health benefits, it will not pay for building upkeep, it will not pay for textbooks, it will not pay for desks, it will not pay for supplies, and it will not pay for the educational services needed by children during the course of their education at the school. All of that comes out of the mere $10,905 that is funneled through the Jersey City Public School District. The money was never meant to remain with Jersey City Public School District for their use – it was always intended to follow the child to the charter school the child attended.
We bring this matter to your attention because there is a great need for conversation around the role of charter schools – what they are, who they serve, how they are funded and the possibilities they offer for the citizens of Jersey City. Our goal is to work well with our students and families and with the Jersey City Public School District. Soaring Heights Charter School was founded by teachers from the Jersey City Public School District who have a respect and an appreciation for the contributions of both systems and seek to work collaboratively for the benefit of the children of Jersey City.
Claudia Zuorick (Director/Founder), JCPSD – 32 years | SHCS – 18 years
Joan Incognito (Teacher/Founder), JCPSD – 20 years | SHCS – 18 years
Barbara McGrath (Teacher/Founder), JCPSD – 7 years | SHCS – 18 years
Jacqueline Quagliana (Teacher/Founder), JCPDS – 1 year | SHCS – 18 years
To read Earl Morgan’s column, click here.