Christie Hits Hoboken District for $528K More Charter funding

Table 1: Office of Legislative Services Analysis of  DOE Budget Fiscal year 2015-2016 (page 23)

Folks, take a look.  From June 2nd's  Education Law Center press release:
According to the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services (OLS), Governor Chris Christie is asking the Legislature to hold charter schools harmless from the negative impact of his proposal to flat fund public education in FY16. This budgetary maneuver, if approved, will mean 83 school districts must send an extra $37.5 million to charter schools across the state.

Under the Governor’s proposal, charter schools would be funded at the 2016 or 2014 per pupil level, whichever is highest, plus enrollment growth over 2015. This change guarantees charters at least as much per-pupil funding as they had two years ago plus enrollment growth, even though district budgets are frozen at last year’s level with no increase to cover higher costs, new mandates or more students.

In nine districts, this change results in a loss of over $500,000 from their budgets. The Newark district must pay out a staggering $25 million more to hold charters harmless, or 66.5% of the statewide total. 
What does this mean for Hoboken?

Christie plans to freeze Hoboken district school funding while increasing funding for charters at  "2016 or 2014 per pupil enrollment whichever is higher" which will defund district schools an additional  $528,000  on top of proposed HoLa expansion costs (subject to pending appeal.) 

Who will get hurt?  

(1) The majority of kids enrolled in the Hoboken District are minority, compared with Charter enrollment:

 (2) The Hoboken District schools educate the highest percentage of economically disadvantaged kids compared with Charters. (The metric used is children on "free and reduced lunch")


See what's happening?

Our governor is picking winners and losers.  In Hoboken, the winners are most likely white and affluent.  The losers are most likely poor and minority.  

That's Christie pandering to his base as he seeks the Republican presidential nomination.

This is outrageous and incredibly divisive.  Education funding should be increased for ALL. 

Freeholder Anthony Romano, who did nothing to cut County taxes in Hoboken, had the NERVE to bitch about about increased school taxes at the last Freeholders meeting.  Does Romano know that the Hoboken district paid $8,277,790 to Charters in fiscal year 2014?  In 2015-2016, if the HoLa expansion is granted plus the Christie hit, the funding for Charters may well exceed $9,000,000 while State funding to the District stays FLAT.

How the hell does that happen without cutting teachers and services?

David Sciarra, ELC Executive Director said “The Governor provides no funding increase to support the education of district students, but then instructs districts to transfer more of their limited funds to charters to make sure they don’t suffer the same cuts districts are now implementing in their schools. The solution is for the Legislature to reject the Governor’s hold harmless proposal and instead increase state school aid for all students in 2015-16.

GA will get information on organized efforts in opposition of Christie's "hold harmless" proposal.

Hoboken (33rd District) Legislators' contact information is HERE.


  1. Romano spent years on the boe and knew nothing then, just voted as told. He cost our district in many ways. Romano and crew never took the job seriously nor put the time in to actually do right by the district.

    He is an ignorant sort and his comment about the increase in school taxes proves just how ignorant.

    Romano is a Charter supporter as many of his pals were given jobs they are not qualified to do.

    Romano and the rest of the hudson county freeholders are all toxic. Watched the video of the freeholders meeting and all sat their blankly while educated people that care, spoke on behalf of our city. One commissioner lounged back in his chair chugging his water in complete unfazed ignorance.

    They are all empty, pitiful souls with hearts of stone.

  2. In one step how to ensure a loss while running for 2nd and 4th ward council?

    Answer: Slam charter schools.

    1. Not sure where you are going with this, but the slam is on Fatboy, not charters. Let's make sure all schools are funded equally and not give a preference of one district over another.

    2. 2:16 I don't think anyone is.
      Pointing out that they may being used for political patronage is a fair criticism those on any side of the spectrum about Charter School system and all are or should be equally in favor of ridding it of patronage.

    3. Anon @ 2:16-You're the same Anon who once posted here that "all Hoboken charters should be shut down," which makes you a troublemaking troll. Sayonara.

      Anon @3:39- Yep.

    4. Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

    5. It's hard to tell when you guys are being sarcastic sometimes.

  3. It looks like all the schools are on a steady decline except Hoboken charter when it comes to free and reduced lunch. How did Hoboken Charter jump from 5% in 2013 to 30% in 2014 for free and reduced lunch? Brandt is also on steep decline, I guess that's because of all the affluent parents enrolling their children in the full day Pre-k 3 & 4 and the kindergarten programs.

  4. GA the state budget report notes that the appropriations language included in last year's budget (2015) increased Hoboken's Charter allocation by $528,000 over what would have been required under the Charter law. If that's correct, this explains much of this year's Charter increase that was blamed by some on HoLa's expansion since only about $250,000 of the total increase was actually due to HoLa adding a grade.

    The proposed 2016 appropriations language will not result in any additional increase in Hoboken whatsoever.

    That means that, unlike last year when I never heard of this issue over the din of HoLa expansion, the appropriations language really mattered.

    Hoboken has no dog in this hunt this year.

    1. Anonymous, OLS is tasked with indicating effects on changes in bills/budgets etc..The state is holding harmless charter schools while flat funding district schools. The excess cost is the additional amount that each district will have to pay based on Christie's hold charter schools harmless claus. OLS tags -500k additional loss from the Hoboken district to be sent to another district. There is no getting around that amount.


    2. “It is patently unfair to protect charter school budgets while hurting students in district schools,” he added. “The solution is for the Legislature to reject the Governor’s hold harmless proposal and instead increase state school aid for all students in 2015-16. Legislators must meet the needs of students in all public schools, whether operated by districts or chartered by the State.”

    3. Admittedly, BoE budgets are a lot of mumbo jumbo, but one thing is for sure: a $528K appropriation this year means an underfunded budget next year. An underfunded budget is not "0." $528K over and beyond the current charter funding formula is $528K that comes out of Hoboken district schools: teachers and/or services.

      The $528K appropriation is for the fiscal 2015-2016 budget, not 2014-2015.

      Charter funding has been steadily rising about $750K per year BEFORE this $528K hit from Christie. For example, from 2013-14 fiscal year [$7,504,566 Charter funding] to the 2014-15 fiscal year [$8,277,790] Charter funding jumped by 10% [$773,224] while (correct me if I'm wrong) State funding was flat. Christie's increase is in ADDITION to the anticipated annual charter funding increase.

      Not sure where you are drawing your conclusions from but, back to the facts. Christie is hiking the funding required for Charters but is keeping the district funding flat. I do not blame the Charters. This is all Gov. Christie.

    4. I agree GA. this is not the blame of the charter schools. This comes directly from Christie and his desire to defund all schools- charter and public. The state aid funding has been relatively flat and still today are below 2009 levels and increases in costs to districts and charter schools in the form of unfunded mandates have been added. All public schools are being systematically underfunded.

      But alas,like NY and other states, there will soon come a time when the next new idea will be vouchers since all the public schools are having a hard time remaining solvent and productive.

      Oh wait! While all of our public schools are scraping around for money- Christie already has that voucher $$$ in his budget; 2 million for vouchers for private school and a new bill has just passed the Assembly to give Private schools an additional $3.75 million for their security.

  5. Appalling indeed! I hope that all public, private and charter parents (as well as the rest of us) will contact our elected representatives and demand this budget be voted down. How can any elected representative suggest that we should increase the funding for the education of some children while creating a situation where the funding for other children's education is being decreased. Looking forward to lending my voice to the organized efforts in opposition to the hold harmless proposal.

  6. Where is Barbara Buono when you need her?

  7. I completely agree that school funding, be it charter or traditional, should not be allocated under the radar by sliding language into an appropriations bill

    It seems that last year this was stealthily done and was unnoticed by all and that as a result the budgeted allocation for the current year (which is usually overestimated by several hundred thousand dollars) was underestimated by several hundred thousand dollars. The actual charter allocation for the current year rose by about $1 million over last year. This was never clearly explained before, perhaps because of the distraction caused by the HoLa expansion to 7 & 8th grade that will not even start until next year (about $250,000 of the $1 million was due to the already approved addition of 6th grade)

    But that was the current year not the upcoming year. The new language in this year's appropriation bill is projected to have ZERO impact on the allocation of funds between Hoboken's Charters and traditional public schools. The $528,000 from last year will not be rolled back, but it will not be increased.

    Facts matter. A very fair argument can and should be made that Hoboken's traditional public school district was stealthily screwed by the Governor last year, though that will require admitting that the $1million increase was mostly not due to HoLa expansion as it has been incorrectly perceived by so many people.

    Hoboken has no dog in the hunt about this year's appropriation language - pretty much the only district materially affected is Newark.

    1. Facts do matter.

      So, I am not sure how you can say "pretty much the only district materially affected is Newark"- see Table 1. How do you know the impact on the other 7 unique districts which vary in size, student population, facilities, funding, etc. from Hoboken? Are you familiar with the impact of Christie's "hold harmless" proposal for the 7 other districts, excluding Hoboken and Newark? Respectfully, not sure how the "facts matter" declaration jives with such a statement.

      "In nine districts, this change results in a loss of over $500,000 from their budgets. The Newark district must pay out a staggering $25 million more to hold charters harmless, or 66.5% of the statewide total. The proposed extra funding to Newark’s charters is a major factor in the $40 million shortfall in the operating budgets of the 56 district-operated schools."

      I don't think "most people" have viewed the entire million as the price of the HoLa expansion rather than the cost of expansion projected over time- not sure where you got that. Of course, there is a lot of spin and misinformation floating around- not only on one side of the expansion debate, but on both. Drama, threats, etc.

    2. No one said Hola was going to cost $1,000,000 THIS year....the fact remains, The expansion , when competed, will divert $1,000,000 from the district students.... 44 7th graders + 44 8th graders x appro $12,000/per = $1,000,000 additionally ANNUALLY PLUS whatever $528,000 removed to hold charters harmless.....

      This isnt about Hola. It is about following the existing rules and laws and fairness in funding.

    3. Re Anon 9:15 post

      This is completely untrue.
      1) This wording was not in last years budget.
      2) There is no bill- it is simply a notation in the budget "hold charter schools harmless"
      3) There will be money lost. It is the 528k and it is for this upcoming years budget.

      Every notation provided by this idiot is wrong.

    4. Nearly statement posted by anon 9:15am is blatently wrong.

      1- The hold harmless charter wording nor any finacial disparity favoring one type of public school over another was ever used nor was it in the previous state or local budget.
      2-The new language grossly affects all districts that are affected by said language in this years and next years budget. The new language in this year's appropriation bill is projected to have a $528,000 impact on the allocation of funds between Hoboken's Charters and traditional public schools. \
      3-Your suggestion that "The $528,000 from last year will not be rolled back, but it will not be increased" is absurd considering the budget with said wording and fiscal appropriation, did not exist,and the current budget with said wording and fiscal appropriation has not been passed yet. Further, it would seem your interpretation is that said additional encomberance would continue in peretuity which again is a falsehood as it is not a law but merely a notation in the current budget.
      4-Hoboken has a dog in the hunt about this year's appropriation language - 198 districts will be materially affected by the hold charter schools harmless claus.
      I do agree with one statement you made."Hoboken's traditional public school district was stealthily screwed by the Governor" and would only alter it to say:All public schools (charter and district)were stealthily screwed by the Governor and would note that I cannot understand why hola is being inserted regarding this situation. Said wording impacts 267 districts statewide.

      Read it for your self:
      The Office of Legislative Services (OLS)
      estimates that the language provision affected the base charter school payments made by 267 school districts, with a net increase in payments to charter schools totaling $70.1 million. Of these districts, 198 paid a greater amount to charter schools, totaling $70.5 million, while the remaining 69 districts experienced slightly lower payments of $402,000. A

  8. Didn't the Hoboken BOE just lose another appeal to the NJ DOE?

    1. I don't think it was an appeal- the NJ DOE Office of Disputes (under Hespe) declined to issue a "stay" of the expansion until the appeal of the DOE (under Hespe) was resolved. I'm told this was expected. The appeal has not been heard by the court yet.

    2. The same enitity that underfunded the public schools by $6 million, kept Cami Anderson in Newark and implemented common core and PARCC testing in NJ which that cost pubic schools millions to provide materials and staffing as well as countless hours of lost academic learning,resulting in such a stir that 50,000 students refused testing this year (up from 1,000 last year) and hundreds of parent groups formed to protect students from the practices of the NJDOE. Yeah, to say anything good or trustworthy comes from that department is a joke.


    3. Correction- $6 billion

    pg 23

  10. This is off topic but as there seems to be bilingual school person following this topic and as so many things happen in Trenton without the knowledge of state residents, I thought it might be helpful to pass along- :
    "The SBOE will hear public testimony about the readoption of the Bilingual Education Administrative Code on July 8 in Trenton. ELC urges parents, advocates, educators, and other stakeholders to provide testimony on the need for increased protections for ELLs and parents, as well as any ongoing violations of students’ right to bilingual education and related services."


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