The Mayor’s FY20 Budget: #YesForRPS
Why does RPS need more funding?
In short, because it’s extremely expensive to meet the educational needs of students living in poverty. A 2018 study by Rutgers University and the Education Law Center showed that high-poverty districts like RPS need $20,000 – $30,000 per pupil to achieve average test scores, while low poverty districts need only $5,000 – $10,000. RPS, which has a poverty rate of nearly 70%, receives about $13,500 per student, well below what’s necessary.
How much would RPS receive in the Mayor’s budget? How will RPS use those funds?
The Mayor’s budget provides approximately $37 million in NEW funding for RPS – the largest one-year investment ever. This infusion of resources will allow us to fund: 1) our new strategic plan, called Dreams4RPS; 2) the local portion of the teacher raise that the Assembly recently passed; and 3) desperately needed building repairs.
• Our New Strategic Plan: Dreams4RPS – $12 million
o Priority 1: Exciting and Rigorous Teaching and Learning – $5.5 million in total, including $1.6 million for new supports to help ensure every RPS third-grader is reading on grade level
o Priority 2: Skilled and Supported Staff – $2.8 million in total, including nearly $700K to improve training and support for our teachers, and recruit more male teachers of color
o Priority 3: Safe and Loving School Cultures – $770K in total, including $500K for mental health supports, nurses, and other resources to help ensure every RPS school has a joyful, loving, and healthy culture
o Priority 4: Deep Partnership with Families and Community – $660K in total, including nearly $100K to expand “Brothers United,” a new mentoring program for our male students of color
o Priority 5: Modern Systems and Infrastructure – $2 million in total, including over $200K to replace our failing HR and budget platform, which was created in the 1980s
• Teacher Raise – $6 million
o This funding will increase pay for all RPS staff. If we want to attract and retain the best teachers and support personnel for every RPS school, shouldn't we pay them what they're truly worth?
• Building Repairs – $19 million
o Is there anything more to say about the dire state of our facilities? No child should have to attend school with a leaking roof, broken boiler, or moldy walls.
How will RPS demonstrate fiscal responsibility and accountability for results?
As we advocate for additional funding – which our schools desperately need – we believe we must also do everything possible to demonstrate that we are being good stewards of the funds we already have, and be clear about the results we hope to achieve.
• Fiscally Responsibility
o Budget Cuts – Our FY20 budget includes $13 million in cuts to the central office.
o Rezoning – We’ve launched the process to rezone our schools and update our facilities plan to alleviate overcrowding, plan for future enrollment trends, increase diversity within schools, and maximize the use of our properties (including vacant ones). Our plan will be complete by the end of 2019.
o Additional Auditor Position and Financial Audit – We are in the process of hiring an additional auditor to expand financial oversight as we implement the findings of last year’s Council of Great City Schools financial audit.
• Accountability for Results
o Scorecard – Every year, RPS will report its progress on the 10 key goals we outlined in Dreams4RPS, and on more granular “key performance indicators” for each of those goals.