Parents, students pack public meeting about Jersey City school budget

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Parents and students of the Jersey City School District packed a public meeting Monday night to discuss the school budget and potential layoff of hundreds of teachers.

State budget cuts are forcing the layoffs with millions of dollars of funding in limbo.

Public comment at the meeting went on for almost three hours. Students, parents and teachers got up to speak one at a time, pleading with the district to keep the more than 400 jobs that are under consideration to be cut.

RELATED: Parents fight to save teachers’ jobs as layoffs loom in Jersey City 

Jersey City school officials blamed state leaders, saying that the state was taking $33 million in funding.

Opponents of the budget plan say that they are worried about larger class sizes and cuts to programs. They asked school board members to find alternative options to help fund teacher salaries. Some of the speakers became heated at times.

“You missed your opportunity when you failed to raise the school tax levy. That window closed to the detriment of hundreds of employees who now are uncertain about their employment going into the spring and summer,” said parent Brigid D’Souza. “They should be going into their summer having a break from a hard work year that we parents see day in and day out. We see it.”

The board was supposed to vote on the budget Monday evening. But as of 11 p.m. Monday it looked as if that vote would be postponed.

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