School uniform prices vary across the city; some parents say selected vendor prices too expensive for working families, single parents

With the 2013-2014 academic year set to begin this week, some Jersey City parents say they are struggling to cover expenses as they try to buy required uniforms for their children’s schools.
One parent activist who raised the issue at the Aug. 27 School Board meeting said several single parents have told her they are finding it difficult to pay for uniforms, particularly uniforms that must be purchased from specific vendors.
The price of required clothing for student uniforms can vary widely, depending on which school the child attends. While many schools sell shirts, with required school emblems, and allow parents to buy slacks, dresses, and skirts in the mandated school colors, other schools require parents to purchase uniforms from specific vendors.
Students at the Ezra L. Nolan School (MS 40), for example, are required to purchase their uniforms from Jay’s School Uniforms, where a winter shirt can cost as much as $18. Students at the Frank R. Conwell School (PS 3) are required to get their uniforms from the website Short sleeved shirts on the site can range from $8.98 to $12.98, depending on the size, while long sleeved shirts can range from $9.98 to $14.98, prices that are lower than Jay’s.
School Board Trustee Vidya Gangadin said at the Aug. 27 meeting that she is able to buy her children’s school clothes at Kid’s Town which, she said, “is very cheap.”
The uniform issue is no trivial matter. Students who show up at school in clothing and colors that do not meet school uniform requirements can be suspended, and parents believe that too many uniform-related suspensions could cause the school district to report them to the Division of Youth and Family Services.
Two days after the meeting Maryanne Dickar, chief of staff with Superintendent Marcia Lyles, confirmed that “school uniform decisions have been made at the school level,” and the decision as to where parents must buy uniforms is not set by the Board of Education or the school district administration.
However, Dickar added, “We want to ensure that no policies place an undue burden on families. Schools will provide uniform shirts to any family that needs support. We are also reviewing current practices with an eye to keeping uniform costs down.”

Work on 100 Steps nearing completion in the Heights

A Jersey City Heights resident recently contacted Ward D City Councilman Michael Yun to inquire about the status of construction of the 100 Steps project that is meant to link Jersey City to Hoboken.
In an e-mail, Yun promptly responded, “Construction had stopped because the city was waiting on the arrival of the prefabricated steps that were ordered last month. However, the steps are being delivered [on Tuesday, Aug. 27] and will be installed on top of the footings that were put in earlier. I just spoke with the City Engineer, Stanley Huang, who said he expects work to be complete there by Friday [Aug. 30].”
Construction crews were spotted on Wednesday, Aug. 28 working on the site.

City introduces scuba diving classes

Next week, the Jersey City Department of Recreation will debut its new scuba diving classes for children and adults. The classes are being held in conjunction with Hoboken Dive.
Children ages 12 to 17 and adults will be able to take a one-time two-hour scuba diving course for a $10 fee. The sessions begin Tuesday, Sept. 10 and run through Thursday, Oct. 31. Participants will register for one class, with classes for children ages 12 to 17 meeting on Tuesdays, and adults ages 18 and older meeting on Thursdays at Pershing Field Pool, 201 Central Avenue. Pre-registration is required and enrollment is on a first come, first served basis. Registration will be held Monday through Friday from 12 to 6 p.m.
When registering, proof of residency is required and all participants must already know how to swim. The $10 registration fee must be in the form of a check or money order made payable to “Jersey City Recreation/Scuba.”
“We are working hard to diversify the recreational programming offered for our youth and adults,” Mayor Steven Fulop said last week in a release. “We have added boxing and now scuba diving and will soon be adding cricket and other sports and activities that not only reflect the diversity of our community, but that offer individuals with different talents and interests the opportunity to participate in an activity that interests them. This is a great opportunity for our residents to learn the basics of scuba diving right here in Jersey City and I encourage everyone who can swim to register.”

Free High Holiday services

Chabad Jewish Center of Hoboken offers free High Holiday Services for Rosh Hashana (Wednesday Sept. 4-6) and Yom Kippur (Sept. 13-14).
All services will take place at the Monroe Center for the Arts, 720 Monroe St., second-floor Theater.
There are no membership fees, and Chabad’s services are open to all Jews. Hebrew/English prayer books are provided.
Communal holiday dinner takes place Sept. 4.
There will be a children’s room with books, games, and snacks, and a children’s program for part of the service (from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
RSVPs are appreciated especially if you intend to stay for the luncheons.

Annual library event gets new name, moves to new day

The event formerly known as Tales of Our City, a yearly local authors’ showcase hosted by the Jersey City Free Public Library, will for the first time in its six-year history, move to a Sunday and will this year be titled Tales of Our Cities. The array of amazing talent highlighted at the event will, however, remain the same. Tales of Our Cities will take place on Sunday, Sept. 15 in Van Vorst Park on Jersey Avenue from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This year, 30 authors and five live performers—including Rick Stromoski, creator of the award-winning comic strip “Soup to Nutz,” and former National Basketball Association player Luther Wright, author of “A Perfect Fit”—will read from their work. This year there will also be a separate area for children’s authors who will be reading throughout the day. There will also be face-painting, storytelling, and other activities for kids.

Training program will help you make a difference in the lives of the terminally ill

Would you like to make a difference in the lives of the terminally ill and their families? If so, you can register for the volunteer training class beginning Sept. 10 at the Hudson Hospice Office, 93 Clerk St., Jersey City.
The program consists of eight classes on eight consecutive Tuesdays. Participants must attend all eight. They can be taken mornings from 10 to noon or evenings from 7 to 9. The classes end on Oct. 29.
Volunteer roles offered include companionship for patients, emotional support for patients and families, errands help, and telephone reassurance.
For more information, call Sister Carol Van Billiard at (201) 433-6225.

Bazaar and Flea Market at St. Paul’s Episcopal

Tickets are now available for the Sept. 21 Bazaar and Flea Market to be hosted by St. Paul’s Episcopal Church from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. To purchase tickets or to reserve a table for $20, call Irma at (201) 401-9847.

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