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Data Shows 36 Percent of Wildwood Students Impoverished

Schools | Wed, 11/18/2009 - 5:24 pm | Updated 5 years 21 weeks ago | Read 5929 | Commented 8 | Emailed 2
Tags: Census, housing, School Lunch, Wildwood

By Joe Hart

WILDWOOD — According to data released Nov. 18 by the U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) program, Cape May County’s rate of poverty for school-aged children is above the state average and Wildwood School District had the highest rate in the state.

The 2008 data suggests that New Jersey had 11 percent or 161,659 of its school-aged (5-17) children living in poverty. In this county, 12.9 percent or 1,810 students were from poor families.

Statewide, Hudson County had the highest rate with 24 percent of its school-aged children in poverty. Hunterdon’s 2.6 percent was New Jersey’s lowest.

Cape May County also had the second lowest median household income ($54,423) in the state behind only Atlantic County ($52,409).

Within Cape May County, the Wildwood school district had the highest rate with 36 percent or 290 of its 802 students living in poverty. That total was the highest statewide.

Other districts from this region with high rates include: Atlantic City, 30 percent; and Bridgeton, 28 percent.

In this county, Wildwood’s percentage was nearly twice that of the next highest districts — North Wildwood, 18 percent; Woodbine, 17.6 percent; Middle Township, 13.8 percent; and Sea Isle City, 13.7 percent.

“I can’t say I’m surprised,” said Wildwood High School Principal Dr. Gladys Lauriello when she heard about the Census Bureau data showing high student poverty rates in Wildwood. “It’s just the nature of Wildwood’s economy.”

She noted that Wildwood is home to significant number of low-income housing projects including the Sandman Tower, Lions Center and Commissioners Court apartments. Because of the housing availability, impoverished families from throughout the area are placed in Wildwood’s affordable housing and their children attend Wildwood schools.

Lauriello also noted that many of the jobs on the island are in the low paying service industries and many are seasonal jobs.

On the positive side, the high poverty rate makes Wildwood eligible for federal funding for school breakfast, lunch and after school snacks, Lauriello said. The district also receives a lot of support from local community groups that provide some necessities for students from low-income families, she added.

SAIPE numbers combine Census Bureau American Community Survey data with figures from federal tax information, administrative records on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participation, Census 2000 statistics and annual population estimates.

According to a Census Bureau release, the tabulations, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, are used as one of the criteria to allocate federal funds to local jurisdictions. In addition, state and local programs use these data for distributing funds and managing school programs.

Contact Hart at (609) 886-8600 Ext 35 or at: jhart@cmcherald.com

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Comments (8)

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Fri, 11/20/2009 - 3:55am - Posted by: doobiebrother

ITS FUNNY, 36 % OF THE VEHICLES IN WILDWOOD ARE REGISTERED IN OTHER STATES, NORTH CAROLINA, OHIO AND PA. YET THEY PICK UP THEIR RUGRATS AT WILDWOOD SCHOOLS.

Thu, 11/19/2009 - 7:21pm - Posted by: mrjojo11

The students are living in poverty in Wildwood because Troiano and Davenport have raised our taxes 159% and people are losing their homes left and right. And at the same time our property ratables went from $544 million in 2004 to $1.7 billion in 2005 and are now close to $2 billion.
Vote yes to recall Troiano and Davenport on December 8th. Then go to ballot #4 and #5 and vote for honest, intelligent like-long residents who care what the citizens and taxpayers can afford and want their input, Harshaw and Brannen

Thu, 11/19/2009 - 1:42pm - Posted by: Alisaurus

Wildwood High has such a terrible reputation,. but as a 2002 graduate who went on to earn a Masters degree, I remember a lot of passionate & intelligent teachers who challenged me, supported me and encouraged me to work harder. WHS is a great public school. Every child has the chance to succeed, regardless of their background and Wildwood High provides them with the resources to do so. The rest is up to the kids.

Thu, 11/19/2009 - 12:03pm - Posted by: ISmellARat

Wow. I hope these kids are at least learning the difference between the x and y axes.

Thu, 11/19/2009 - 7:11am - Posted by: wwstillgreat

I know the reporter didn't compile the chart, but while numerically correct, it is visually misleading because it assumes 36% is the maximum allowed on the x axis.
ED NOTE: THE REPORTER DID COMPILE THE CHART. THE X AXIS GOES TO 36 PERCENT BECAUSE THAT WAS THE HIGHEST PERCENTAGE OF THE GROUP SAMPLED.

Wed, 11/18/2009 - 6:33pm - Posted by: Obione

I wonder why so many people on here call Wildwood little Camden now I know why.

Wed, 11/18/2009 - 6:23pm - Posted by: Me

What would you expect from Wildwood?

Wed, 11/18/2009 - 5:51pm - Posted by: dianeham

Did I miss where in your article you define what constitutes "living in poverty?" It would be nice to know that.

ED. NOTE: THANKS FOR THE COMMENT. I'VE ADDED A CHART SHOWING THE INCOME THRESHOLDS FOR FAMILIES BASED ON HOUSEHOLD SIZE.

Property Transfer Chart