Twenty-six years ago this week, Jersey City became the first city to lose control of its public schools – and hand them over to the state. As of October 7, 2015, we are a step away from becoming the first city to get that authority back.

Read Mayor Fulop's remarks before the State Board of Education below:

Twenty-six years ago this week, Jersey City became the first city to lose control of its public schools – and hand them over to the state. Today, we are a step away from becoming the first city to get that authority back. We’ll have it back in the Spring.

There are many people to thank today including the countless volunteers that worked with our team to implement BOE change at the ballot box paving the way for a new superintendent focused on student outcomes. We want to thank the countless Teachers and educators that worked for decades to change the course of the schools from within the classroom and of course thank the state for recognizing our progress.

This is a story about policy and public education. It’s a story about returning control of public schools to where it should be: local.

But it’s also a story about something more fundamental – about remembering who our schools, our community is supposed to serve: kids.

In 1989, when the papers reported on why Jersey City schools were being turned over to the state, they said the schools were “crippled by” – and I’m quoting here – “political patronage and nepotism, weak administration and management, fiscal irregularities, [and] indifference.” And they weren’t wrong. We had schools that didn’t put students first. Someone said we were suffering from “academic bankruptcy.”

Well, slowly over the last three decades – and more quickly, over the last three years – we have rebuilt “our academic credit.” And we’ve done it one student at a time, one class at a time, one cap and one gown at a time.

Recently, I went to a science class at PS28, the Christa McAullife Elementary School, and watched the teacher do an experiment with our city reservoir and algae. The kids were beaming, their interest palpable. And it’s because we’ve made classes like that, education like that the hallmark of our school system… that we’re able to make this announcement today.

Of course, this is just the beginning. Local control does not mean our schools can’t improve. They can. They will.

Twenty six years ago, Governor Kean said the actions that the state and Jersey City were taking were “precedent-setting steps,” that they’d improve education. I believe we can say the same today.