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RED BANK: RUMAGE REFUTES CHARTER DATA

rbcs-rumage-slides-012216-1-500x375-1359074Superintendent Jared Rumage speaking at the middle school in January. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot-topic_02-220x137-6360205Red Bank borough schools Superintendent Jared Rumage calls data in a recent mailing to borough residents by the Red Bank Charter School “fiction.”

The flyer, which purports to show that the charter school’s impact on local taxes is light and getting lighter, also includes figures that “are different from those previously shared by the Charter School when making the same argument,” Rumage wrote in a letter posted on the borough schools website Monday.

  rbcs-02316-500x375-2410286Charter school Principal Meredith Pennotti, center, and Business Administrator David Block at a board of trustees meeting Tuesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

“This further amplifies the inconsistencies and contradictions that have been prevalent throughout the Charter School’s public communications,” he wrote.

The figures at issue were contained in a mailing written in English and Spanish to all local postal customers, and accompanied a student application form. (The school will hold its annual enrollment drawing in April. In conjunction with its proposal to expand from 200 students to 400 over the next three years, RBCS has asked the New Jersey Department of Education for permission to hold a weighted lottery meant to boost the odds of socio-economically disadvantaged children getting into the school. Decisions on both requests are pending.)

Under the heading “By the Numbers,” the charter school mailing claims taxpayers have been spared $541,054 in levies “because RBCS exists;” says funding of the charter school by the district has declined by almost $129,000 over the past six years; and cites other figures relating to school funding, enrollment, taxes and the fiscal impact of the proposed expansion.

Next to the “$0,” the flyer reads, “Amount taxes need to increase for the RBCS expansion.”

Rumage, however, disputes all six assertions in the mailer, labeling each a “fiction.”

From the Rumage post:

FACT: The residents do not save $541,054 in tax levy because the Charter School exists. This calculation completely ignores the duplicative costs of the Charter School such as: administrative salaries, facility and maintenance costs, debt service and business operations which total $851,000 per the Charter School Audit. If the Charter School did not exsist, the District would save at least $851,000.

Answering a claim that the expansion would reduce enrollment in the district by 200 students, and thus possibly head off the need for “more facilities to accommodate growing population of students,” Rumage responded that the district “is not overcrowded and we have no plans to purchase, lease, or construct an additional facility. We comfortably service more than 1,110 K-8 students in our two facilities: Red Bank Primary School and Red Bank Middle School.”

Here’s the Rumage post: RBBPS 022316

redbankgreen did not immediately receive a response to a request for comment sent to charter school officials Thursday morning. We’ll post it here if we receive one.

Here’s the charter school’s application to the DOE: RBCS Amendment Request Dec 2015

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