NEWARK, NJ — Newark's public and charter schools will receive funding from Gov. Phil Murphy and his administration to aid educators and students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Newark Public Schools District and many of the city's charter schools are listed as recipients in a $1.2 billion federal CARES Act funding program intended to provide local education agencies with assistance to safely reopening schools, effectively measure and address significant learning loss, and take other actions to respond to the impact of the pandemic on state schools.
The table for each school district/organization's projected allocations can be found here.
As of Feb. 19, the New Jersey Department of Education (DOE) is projected to allocate nearly $84.2 million to the Newark Public Schools District.
With Newark public schools set for an April 12 return, the funding comes at an important time for the district as it proposes to implement a hybrid-model for instruction. Students who opt for hybrid learning will return to classrooms part-time under restrictions, according to district officials.
“Newark [Public Schools] is happy to be the recipient of the ESSER II funds, and we understand our obligation and commitment while ensuring that our staff and students are safe,” School Business Administrator Valerie Wilson told TAPinto Newark. “We want to ensure that we effectively use the funds to make sure that our students suffer as little learning loss as possible.”
To address the impact of learning loss during the pandemic, Wilson explained that the funds may potentially be designated towards programs to help get students back on track with summer school instruction.
“We will be looking at how we can ensure that our students get the best options for use of that money," she said. “With our children having been out of school for almost a year, we are definitely concerned about the learning loss, and we want to ensure that we support that in every way possible."
Given the age of several school buildings in the district - some dating back more than 100-years-old - providing safe air quality in classrooms will be a top priority for district officials.
“We have put in place filters that remove viruses and bacteria that will prevent us from having to open windows," the business administrator said. “We will continue that program to its completion in ensuring that all of our schools have the filters necessary."
Upon the release of the projected ESSER II allocations, Kyle Rosenkrans, executive director of the New Jersey Children's Foundation, commended the state's efforts to fund the city's public schools.
“This funding is a critical down payment to meet the needs of all of Newark’s public school students at a critical moment in our history," Rosenkrans said. "Schools are hurting right now and we thank Newark’s representatives in Congress for this support: Sens. Cory Booker and Robert Menendez; Reps. Donald Payne and Albio Sires.”
Meanwhile, KIPP TEAM Academy Charter School in Newark is projected to receive approximately $11.78 million in state funds.
In an effort to maintain the schools' operations during the pandemic, KIPP officials told TAPinto Newark that the school has already expanded wraparound services including family nutrition to mitigate the impact of last year's events.
Now, with a funding boost, KIPP aims to provide more critical services to students.
"Our educators and staff have worked incredibly hard to minimize disruptions to students’ academic lives and prioritized social and emotional supports," said Jessica Shearer, a spokesperson for KIPP. "We anticipate investing this critical and timely CARES funding in alignment with state guidance including remediation programs, enhancement of academics and mental health supports, technology and infrastructure needs. The focus will be on interventions that help our kids recover and refocus."
The following Newark charter schools also received funds:
- Great Oaks Legacy Charter School - $4.58 million
- Marion P. Thomas Charter School - $3.30 million
- Lead Charter School - $307,862
- People's Preparatory Charter School - $1.19 million
- Gray Charter School - $831,151
- Robert Treat Academy Charter School - $1.62 million
- North Star Academy Charter School - $14.08 million
- Philip's Academy Charter School - $998,796
- Maria L. Varisco-Rogers Charter School - $1.33 million
- Discovery Charter School - $285,341
- New Horizons Community Charter School - $1.41 million
- Roseville Community Charter School - $1 million
- University Heights Charter School - $1.88 million
- Newark Educators' Community Charter School - $805,847