BAYONNE, New Jersey - Parents were marching Monday night, trying to convince the Bayonne Board of Education to bring back nearly 300 employees, nearly all teachers, who were laid off last month to make up for a massive budget deficit.
The finances of the Bayonne school system are a mess, so bad the state is conducting an audit because no one seems to know, even within several million dollars how big the deficit is.
But they say they know who is paying.
"I think it's just an awful thing, and the board is taking no accountability for any of it," said Hailey Schumann, Bayonne graduate.
Hailey is a former student and goes to Rutgers now. She hopes to be a teacher someday. She knows how good her teachers were.
"I loved all of my teachers and I was in so many different clubs and activities, I was like the girl who did everything, that's why these cuts really hit home with me because I just can't imagine having a high school experience without that," Hailey said.
"Find the money, that's what they need to do. Stop spending the money that we do not have. Last year our budget was balanced, and two weeks ago, hello, we're $6 million in the hole, it's not acceptable," a parent said.
At a sometimes raucous board meeting, the board voted to increase the property tax levy by about $150 per home, but there was some good news.
They voted to bring back more than 86 teachers now and about 100 in June.