Enough is enough: Parents, taxpayers ask U.S. Justice Department to investigate segregation caused by Red Bank Charter School
Nov. 15, 2016 Contact: Wayne Woolley, 732-804-6782
Fair Schools Red Bank, a group of concerned parents and taxpayers, today asked the federal government to protect the right of Red Bank’s children to attend non-segregated schools and to allow those children equal access to taxpayer-funded resources.
The 17-page complaint complaint was filed in conjunction with the Latino Coalition and asks the Justice Department to investigate and ultimately remedy the inequalities created by the Red Bank Charter School, which, in the words of one of the school’s own trustees, was founded in 1998 to prevent “white flight” from the borough.
The complaint states that the Charter School has not abided by the terms of a 2007 consent decree requiring the school to create a student body reflective of the borough’s population of children from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. The complaint further alleges that the New Jersey Commissioner of Education has repeatedly failed to take measures to prevent segregation in Red Bank’s schools, as is required by the state Constitution. As a result, Red Bank is the most segregated school district in New Jersey.
The complaint also alleges that the existence of the charter school and the current system of funding education in New Jersey denies all of the borough’s children equal access to education resources. The per-pupil cost at the charter school, which supports a whiter and more affluent student body, is $18,726. At the public schools, which support a student body that is predominantly poor and Hispanic, the per pupil cost is $16,607. This disparity is in conflict with New Jersey law, which calls for charter schools to be funded at 90 percent of the per-pupil cost of the host district. That is not the case at the Red Bank Charter School, which also accounts for nearly $2 million in duplicative expenses each year.
Fair Schools Red Bank is asking the federal government to reverse the pernicious effects of the segregation and unequal funding caused by the Red Bank Charter School.
“When the school with so many white children gets more money than the school with the Latino children, it sends the message that not all children are equal,” said Maria De Los Angeles Santamaria Zacarias, the parent of two Red Bank Borough Public School students. “Our children are not second-class children. They deserve the same support as all other children.”
The complaint asks the Justice Department to remedy the segregation created by the Red Bank Charter School by any appropriate means, including restoring a unified school district for the Borough of Red Bank.
Jennifer Garcia, a Red Bank business owner and the parent of three students in the Red Bank Borough Public Schools, said the divisions created by the Charter School have damaged the borough’s reputation and pitted neighbor against neighbor.
“We desire one community, one town, one neighborhood where schools don’t separate us,” Garcia said.