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1921: Jersey City Under Commission Government
A Book of Achievement

Our Splendid Schools

This Web version:
COPYRIGHT 2003, GET NJ

ERSEY CITY is justly proud of her public schools. They are second to none in the country. Educators from all parts of the United States have inspected them to gain ideas to be used in other cities. Their words of praise have made Jersey City known everywhere.

The Dickinson High School was started under former Mayor Mark M. Fagan's administration and completed during former Mayor H. Otto Wittpen's term. When former Judge George G. Tennant was president of the Board of Education, the public schools were brought to a high state of efficiency, and under Commission Government have made further strides.

The Commissioners have recognized the prime importance of the schools and made liberal appropriations for the construction of new schools.

They have completed new No. 16 School on Washington Street, new No. 4 School on Eighth Street, the new Lincoln High School, the School for Crippled Children on Clifton Place, and the administration building, and have made important improvements in the Dickinson High School.

New Schools.

They have provided for new No. 6 School on St. Paul's Avenue and new No. 23 School on Romaine Avenue, now in course of construction. They have appropriated money for several sites for additional new buildings. They have placed at the disposal of the Board of Education the sum of $6,000,000 to erect schools of suitable types in all parts of the city and thus adequately care for the needs of every section.

During the war the Federal Government prohibited the erection of new schools, and since the war the high cost of building construction and the unfavorable financial conditions prevalent throughout the country have temporarily delayed the building of the new schools which have been authorized.

In the Hudson City section old No. 10 School on Paterson Street will be discontinued and a new building erected on Charles Street, and School No. 7, Central Avenue and Congress Street, and School No. 8, Sherman Avenue, will be replaced by new buildings.

In the Bergen section No. 11 at Bergen Avenue, No. 17 on Duncan Avenue, No. 23 on Sip Avenue and No. 14 on Union Street will be enlarged, old No. 14 School will be abandoned and No. 12 on Crescent Avenue will be reconstructed.

For lower Jersey City the plans call for a new school at the corner of Pavonia Avenue and Eric Street, another new school on a site to be purchased, and the enlargement of No. 3 on Bright Street and No. 5 on Merseles Street.

In Greenville a new intermediate school and a new elementary school will be built and School No. 30 on Seaview Avenue will he enlarged.

In Lafayette a new elementary school will be provided and old School No. 13 on Erie Street will he abandoned.

In a central location a new continuation school will he erected for all the working boys and girls of the city between the ages of fourteen and sixteen.

A large part of the increase in the tax rate was due to the largely increased expenditures for the schools. The appropriation to the schools for 1916-1917, made the year before the present term of the Commissioners began, was $1,973,263.90. For the year 1921-1922 it is $3,463,653. The appropriation for the salaries of teachers for the year 1916-1917 was $1,225,975.85. For the year 1921-1922 it is $2,400,000.

In consequence of this action of the Commissioners our schools did not suffer from the shortage of teachers which closed many schools and prevented others from securing sufficient teachers, a condition which prevailed not only in this State, but in the whole country. At the time the teachers' salaries were raised the schedule adopted was higher than that of any other city in the country.

In making appropriations the physical welfare of the pupils has not been neglected. Teachers specially employed for the purpose supervise the physical training of the children. An efficient medical inspection department of physicians and trained nurses looks after their health. Their work is carried into the homes of pupils in need of attention. Through the efforts of Mayor Hague dental clinics were added to this department. They have been established in various schools and at the City Hospital and thousands of children have had their teeth attended to. The value of this work cannot be overestimated.

Sufficient funds have been furnished for summmer schools at which backward pupils catch up with their classmates of the regular day schools. Summer playgrounds have been provided with competent instructors to guide children in their play. Swimming is taught at the various school pools.

The blind, the deaf and the dumb are not neglected. They are taught in special classes. Anaemic children are cared for in open air classes on school roofs, under shelter, and food is furnished them free. A school for crippled children, which was the only one of its kind in the country at the time of its erection, is prepared to look after the lame and halt. The children will be tranpported to and from school in special conveyances and fed at the school.

A committee of citizens carry out a community center work for adults which is financed by the Board of Education. Sunday concerts, weekly dances and clubs in the school buildings instruct and entertain. The capacious and comfortable auditoriums of the school buildings are at the disposal of citizens for public gatherings.

In appointing members of the Board of Education Mayor Hague has been careful to select persons who would maintain the high standard of the schools and who would carry out the progressive policies in which he has been a pronounced leader. He has insisted that those who give instruction in the schools shall be selected on the basis of demonstrated skill and efficiency in order that pupils may profit by having the very best teachers obtainable.

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