Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Hudson Reporter article contrasts North Bergen with neighboring Abbott districts

The North Bergen school district would like to have one-to-one computing but can't because it doesn't have the money. North Bergen's Superintendent, George Solter, reminds everyone that North Bergen is poor but not an Abbott.

All teachers have been given Chrome Book computers. The district purchased hundreds more Chrome Books for student use as well. “My goal is to go one-to-one with students in the future,” he said of the Chrome Books. “But we’re underfunded by the state so much. We’re basically $39 million in the hole just to start out the school year.”

That is in comparison to neighboring school districts in Union City and West New York, both of which are SDA (Schools Development Authority) or Abbott Districts, receiving extensive funding and support from the state.

“We have the same clientele, the same type of students as West New York and Union City, but not the same funding,” said Solter. “So we don’t have the opportunity to purchase the materials or programs that they do.” 
Nonetheless, the school system did upgrade the technology to install WiFi in all the classrooms last year, which required adding access points throughout the buildings because the WWII-era walls were so thick that signals could not pass through.

North Bergen's per pupil spending is only $12,946.

Union City and West New York spend $17,370 and $14,853, respectively.

North Bergen elected officials are well aware of how badly their district is treated by the state.

“North Bergen schools have been shortchanged by the state for far too long and it is incredible to see how much our students have achieved despite this lack of support from the state,” said North Bergen Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. George Solter. “We have been forced to constantly do more with less while we watch surrounding towns receive lavish amounts of state aid to build new facilities and hire new teachers.” 
"Because of the state’s bizarre interpretation of the funding formulas, districts like North Bergen, that are not wealthy and don’t receive Abbott funding, are hurt the worst,” said North Bergen Mayor and State Sen. Nicholas Sacco. “This is an injustice that should be reversed immediately, and the state should adhere to the funding formula passed by the legislature and upheld by the courts.”
North Bergen only gets 69% of its uncapped aid.

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