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4-9-13 Newark Student Protest
Star Ledger - Newark students protest budget cuts with walkout, rally

Star Ledger - Newark students protest budget cuts with walkout, rally

By Jessica Calefati/The Star-Ledger The Star-Ledger Follow on Twitter
on April 09, 2013 at 2:28 PM, updated April 09, 2013 at 4:37 PM

Newark —Roughly 1,000 students from half a dozen Newark high schools walked out of class this afternoon and gathered on Rutgers University's Newark campus to protest deep cuts to the district's budget.

Newark Students Union Chief Representative Jaysen Bazioe, a senior at Science Park High School, said he hopes the protest will sway the state Assembly Budget Committee to fully fund the city's schools according to the 2008 School Funding Reform Act.

The committee is holding a scheduled meeting in a Rutgers Newark building adjacent to the park on Washington Street where the student protesters have gathered.

"We want the legislature to come out and talk to us and listen to us," Bazioe said."We want the state to follow the school funding formula. That money could really help students here."

Though students at Science Park High School are thriving, students at some of the district's comprehensive high schools, including Barringer and West Side, take classes in dilapidated buildings with outdated text books and too few quality teachers, Bazioe said.

Late last month, Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson told the district's advisory school board that the city schools' budget faced a $57 million shortfall, due in part to the growing number of Newark students who attend charter schools.

In February, the state Department of Education announced that Newark would receive roughly the same amount of state aid it received last year. However, the Christie Administration has not yet restored all the aid that was cut from Newark and other districts in 2010.

Newark's schools have been controlled by the state for the last 18 years.

Christian Moraes, a Newark Students Union member, said students will likely face suspension for walking out of their classes to attend the protest.

"Our principal made two announcements this morning about what the consequences would be for walking out," Moraes said. "Leaving school is considered a level two offense, which means suspension."

Bazioe said students from Arts, Central, Technology, Science Park, University and American History high schools are protesting. Though members of the student union from West Side, East Side, Barringer and Shabazz high schools also expressed interest in protesting, they have not arrived yet.

Some reports from students at East Side high school indicate the doors to that school have been locked and students are not being allowed to leave, Bazioe said.

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