Board of Education

cramer said:

Does the SOMA school district still receive state funds for students who attend private schools? 

 

The SOMSD _does_ receive state transportation aid for private schoolers who get aid-in-lieu money or a bus.  The funding depends on mileage and is a few hundred per student, but I don't have the exact amount.  

Not all SOMA private schoolers are eligible for transportation.  It depends on where they live relative to the school.  SO kids who attend OLS wouldn't get transportation because they are probably within 2.0 miles of OLS.  Also, SOMA kids going to for-profit private schools, such as a preschool's kindergarten, aren't eligible.

The SOMSD also receives "pass through" dollars for private school nursing, technology, security and few other items within its boundaries, which would be OLS.


Jeffrey_Bennett - Thanks. 

eta - Is there any other state aid that SOMA recieves that is based on the number of students in the district that stays with SOMA even if some students attend private schools?  


I'm far-removed from the schools (other than paying taxes, which are not insignificant.)   Most of my infromation about the BOE comes from Village Green. I agree with the poster above who said that the BOE is embarrassing. 


cramer said:

Jeffrey_Bennett - Thanks. 

eta - Is there any other state aid that SOMA recieves that is based on the number of students in the district that stays with SOMA even if some students attend private schools?  

No. There is only Transportation Aid, and only for private schoolers attending non-profit private schools over 2.0/2.5 miles from home and only in districts that bus any general ed students (which the SOMSD does)

If a student goes to private school or homeschools, he or she is no longer on roll and isn't counted for the Adequacy Budget and thus Equalization Aid.  However, the SOMSD wouldn't be eligible for Equalization Aid even if all the private schoolers enrolled in the district.  

If the child's private school happens to be in their town of residence, then the school district is the conduit for pass-through dollars, but that is state money, not local money.

BTW, this is the verification that private schoolers are eligible for Transportation Aid.  It's actually the same formula as public schoolers, so if a private school is 10 miles from home, Transportation Aid for that student is higher than it would be for a public schooler attending a school 2.0 miles from home.

https://law.justia.com/codes/new-jersey/2014/title-18a/section-18a-7f-57


Apparently someone at the BOE now realized that in order to effect the racial imbalance in the schools, that bussing may be a critical element in implementation. 

Too bad no body put 2 and. 2 together before ending the bussing program.

Maybe going back to neighborhood schools will be the result…..





stateguy said:

Apparently someone at the BOE now realized that in order to effect the racial imbalance in the schools, that bussing may be a critical element in implementation. 

Too bad no body put 2 and. 2 together before ending the bussing program.

Maybe going back to neighborhood schools will be the result…..

https://mobile.twitter.com/ArniePyeNtheSky/status/273353573583163392


This should not be a recent revelation.  I know it was discussed extensively in connection with the Seth Boyden opt-in 20 plus years ago and no doubt also in connection with the Marshall-Jefferson pairing before that (before I lived here.)  The BOE came to the right conclusion in those cases.


Marshall-Jefferson is a little simpler because the district uses one set of buses by staggering the start times at the two schools. Moreover, the buses picked up nearly all of the public school students in certain grades from a certain part of town and brought them all to one place. The III requires more planning because rather than one bus picking up 20 K-2 kids from Kendal and bringing them all to Marshall, those 20 students might be going to five or six different schools. 


chalmers said:

Marshall-Jefferson is a little simpler because the district uses one set of buses by staggering the start times at the two schools. Moreover, the buses picked up nearly all of the public school students in certain grades from a certain part of town and brought them all to one place. The III requires more planning because rather than one bus picking up 20 K-2 kids from Kendal and bringing them all to Marshall, those 20 students might be going to five or six different schools. 

For SB, they were picking up kids all over the two towns.  Yes, I'm sure that it is a bit more complex, but the point is that it should have been addressed and it is hard to understand how they could have ignored it, especially since it had been addressed with those past integration initiatives.


sac said:

chalmers said:

Marshall-Jefferson is a little simpler because the district uses one set of buses by staggering the start times at the two schools. Moreover, the buses picked up nearly all of the public school students in certain grades from a certain part of town and brought them all to one place. The III requires more planning because rather than one bus picking up 20 K-2 kids from Kendal and bringing them all to Marshall, those 20 students might be going to five or six different schools. 

For SB, they were picking up kids all over the two towns.  Yes, I'm sure that it is a bit more complex, but the point is that it should have been addressed and it is hard to understand how they could have ignored it, especially since it had been addressed with those past integration initiatives.

I absolutely agree with you. As you said, SB involved kids from all over the two towns, but a much smaller number and with only one destination. This situation was much more complex and that should have been patently obvious and adequately addressed from the outset. If the BOE believed that it would be simple as making the MJ busing work (which, as a former MJ parent, I believe it does), they made a terrible miscalculation. 


Today Ms. Wright announced that she is leaving the board.  Is there time to run another candidate?


DanDietrich said:

Today Ms. Wright announced that she is leaving the board.  Is there time to run another candidate?

Will her name still appear on the ballot?


yahooyahoo said:

Will her name still appear on the ballot?


From Village Green article on Aug. 31:

When contacted for a copy of the final ballots for South Orange and Maplewood today, a representative of the county clerk’s office told Village Green that Wright had dropped out and that the ballots were being updated and would be available later this week.

https://villagegreennj.com/election/johanna-wright-drops-out-of-south-orange-maplewood-board-of-ed-election/

There’s also NJSA 19:60-7:

Any candidate may withdraw as a candidate in a school election by filing a notice in writing, signed by the candidate, of such withdrawal with the secretary of the board of education before the 44th day before the date of the April election or with the county clerk on the 70th day before the date of the November election, as applicable, and thereupon the name of that candidate shall be withdrawn by the secretary of the board of education and shall not be printed on the ballot.

(Aug. 30 was 70 days before the election.)


With Johanna Wright’s retirement, no incumbents will be running.

Candidates William M. Meyer and Ritu Pancholy are the candidates generally aligned with the BOE members who have operational control of the current board. Given the connections between their campaign and the decision-makers responsible for the III implementation, it will be interesting to hear how they address the courtesy busing issue.

Candidates Regina Eckert, William R. Gifford III and Nubia DuVall Wilson are running as a ticket. If this ticket sweeps, the group currently holding operational control would no longer have a majority of the nine seats.


From what I understand, the Latz-backed candidates are Meyer and Pancholy.

I will not vote for anyone backed by Latz and the current power brokers on the BOE.


yahooyahoo said:

From what I understand, the Latz-backed candidates are Meyer and Pancholy.

I will not vote for anyone backed by Latz and the current power brokers on the BOE.

I agree with this.  I would like to know more about who Latz is and why he is involved in every election, though.


DanDietrich said:

I agree with this.  I would like to know more about who Latz is and why he is involved in every election, though.

Steve Latz was on the BOE from 1997-2006. Very liberal and focused on equity.


jimmurphy said:

DanDietrich said:

I agree with this.  I would like to know more about who Latz is and why he is involved in every election, though.

Steve Latz was on the BOE from 1997-2006. Very liberal and focused on equity.

He is also a major power broker behind the scenes, and has far too much influence over what the BOE does.


yahooyahoo said:


Steve Latz was on the BOE from 1997-2006. Very liberal and focused on equity.

He is also a major power broker behind the scenes, and has far too much influence over what the BOE does.

I do think that the control and direction of what people generally regarded as the Latz organization over the years has been passed on to others and taken different forms. Ritu Pancholy (who went by the last name "Sharma" at the time) was part of PARES, which produced (and may still produce) "Equity Scorecards" that evaluated BOE candidates in a way that many felt favored the candidates supported by the organization's leaders. 


I'm a liberal in favor of equity, but I want a functional board that doesn't do their work behind closed doors and sue each other.


chalmers said:

yahooyahoo said:


Steve Latz was on the BOE from 1997-2006. Very liberal and focused on equity.

He is also a major power broker behind the scenes, and has far too much influence over what the BOE does.

I do think that the control and direction of what people generally regarded as the Latz organization over the years has been passed on to others and taken different forms. Ritu Pancholy (who went by the last name "Sharma" at the time) was part of PARES, which produced (and may still produce) "Equity Scorecards" that evaluated BOE candidates in a way that many felt favored the candidates supported by the organization's leaders. 

IMO, one should consider who the candidates are likely to support as BOE president even more than who the campaign managers are. 

The president of the BOE makes committee assignments and designates committee chairs. When a BOE member must miss a committee meeting, the BOE president can personally fill in or choose the fill-in. Since the BOE president can designate people of the same ideology for the more important committees, the power of the BOE majority is magnified. 

The BOE president talks to the superintendent more than any other BOE member and can sometimes give directives. The BOE president sets the official agenda for public meetings and leads executive session, BOE retreats, and public meetings. The BOE president can shut off someone's mic.


I think this is an excellent article about the SOMSD's placement and transportation problems.

Thair Joshua's quotes here, as well as Susan Bergin's original justification in March-April 2021, show the the BOE and Admin did not know how many kids would be affected, let alone the savings.  Joshua has said 127 kids were affected, now 90, even though pre-Covid District Report on Transported Students actually gives 435 elementary students getting non-hazardous "courtesy" bussing.

The number of kids who "lost" bussing isn't a complete perspective either, it doesn't include III kids who never had it, but who are distant from their schools and should have it.The BOE and district don't know how much money was saved. As the Star-Ledger reported, "[Joshua] declined to provide an estimate of how much money the district saved by eliminating the bus routes."

Susan Bergin's March-April 2021 justification for this contained no number on savings. She said that it was necessary to eliminate sub-2.0 mile bussing to "not break the budget," but this is wrong because the cost of bussing is $1000 per student and the bus routes are so underutilized. Bergin had no idea in March-April 2021 how many III kids should have had courtesy bussing and once the 2021-22 school year begun, she didn't attempt to find out.

The callousness, dishonesty, lack of communication, and lack of common sense need to be pointed out, but this decision happened due to huge ignorance too on the part of the BOE leadership.

https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/education/2022/09/16/south-orange-maplewood-nj-school-district-bus-service-ends/68415977007/


Hi, the website for Nubia Wilson, Regina Eckert, and Bill Gifford is up.  You can see some specific policy ideas about special education, getting the integration plan right, facilities, and governance.  

Something I like about what they say about the integration plan is that they support a transfer policy, as well as robust transportation.  If Nubia, Regina, and Bill win they will even be able to change Policy 8600 as soon as they are seated in January.

https://www.votesomaboe22.com/


I'm glad a lot of those posters have faded away.


DanDietrich said:

I'm glad a lot of those posters have faded away.

A lot of those posters say some pretty vile things in a certain private fb group


DanDietrich said:

I'm glad a lot of those posters have faded away.

But like Beetlejuice, if you mention us we might come back … to the message board at least.  Getting my kid out of M/SO schools was one of the best things I’ve done to foster his love of learning.

Snakes like Latz and his friends who want to make everything about race, and sling mud at good folks like Jeff Bennett who have only ever tried to prioritize teaching modern skills to all kids while operating schools as efficiently as possible within the reality of current school funding, are hurting M/SO kids and your community.


kmt said:

But like Beetlejuice, if you mention us we might come back … to the message board at least. Getting my kid out of M/SO schools was one of the best things I’ve done to foster his love of learning.

Aren’t you a mention or two early?

I’m happy to hear your choice worked out. So did ours.


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