Quantcast
Paterson schools cutting more than 200 jobs, including 150 teachers | Paterson Times

Paterson schools cutting more than 200 jobs, including 150 teachers

paterson-boe

Grappling with a large budget gap, the school district is looking to cut 209 positions, including 150 teachers, said superintendent Eileen Shafer on Monday night.

24 vice principals and 35 supervisors will be eliminated as well to close a $22 million budget shortfall.

“Class size in every building will go up,” said Shafer. Class size is likely to climb to 40 students, presenting teaching and safety challenges.

Shafer said cuts could eliminate or scale back intervention programs to help students struggling in reading and math, SAT preparation courses, textbook purchases, art and music, library services, and science lab upgrades.

The work of the past year and half will be undone by the cuts, said Shafer.

“We’ve worked extremely hard over this past year to turn the corner and provide our children every opportunity to be successful,” said Shafer. “Now, we have to turn around and tell our children sorry that was only for a year and half – we got to take it back now.”

Business administrator Richard Matthews presented a list of cuts to school board. $7.36 million in central office, $2.4 million in central office staff, $2.7 million in vice principals, $1.3 million in supervisors, and $5 million in vacant positions.

School board members expressed anger and frustration at the list of cuts.

“We’re down to the bare minimum,” said school board vice president Nakima Redmon. “It’s not fair to our students.”

“You are hollowing out our educational system here. You are gutting it. You are gutting it,” said Hodges. “We can’t catch up.”

The district had cut 526 staff members over the eight years of governor Chris Christie, said Shafer. During that time, the district was underfunded by $280 million.

“It’s an injustice,” said school board member Manny Martinez. “All the gains we’ve made will be undone.”

The district will save $10 million by laying off the 150 non-tenured teachers. Calculation is based on $70,000 per teacher with benefits.

Some school board members suggested withholding the $9.4 million increase in charter school transfers to avoid laying off teachers. The state increased the district’s aid by $13 million, but the bulk of the increase is being eaten up by charter schools.

Shafer criticized charter schools for depriving the district of funds to educate its students.

“They are taking the money from our school district, giving everything charter schools need, and our children are left with the minimum that doesn’t provide a thorough and efficient education,” said Shafer.

The district has to transfer $63.8 million to charter schools in 2019-20 school year, up from $54.3 million.

“Are we going to pay that increase?” remarked school board member Kenneth Simmons.

School board president Oshin Castillo said refusing to transfer funds to charter school could force the state re-assert control over the district. But, failing to provide a “thorough and efficient” education to students could also prompt state intervention.

“Either way, we’re setup for failure,” said Castillo.

The district’s budget for school year 2019-20 stands at $542.18 million. It includes a 14-percent local property tax increase.

School board members will take a vote on the preliminary budget on Tuesday night.

Email: jay@patersontimes.com

  • Miss jamaica

    Cut some of the job at the school district offices and leave the teachers alone .
    There are too many directors why not combine some of those roles.
    The department heads do we really need them.
    In March before our teachers go on break they don’t want to hear this . Why every year there is this cloud of uncertainty here at Paterson. Please do not ascribe any more taxes to the tax payers, we dont get big raising any more.

    • bigron

      Meanwhile, Schafer collects historic level of pay…

  • MarquinhoGaucho

    “They are taking the money from our school district, giving everything charter schools need, and our children are left with the minimum that doesn’t provide a thorough and efficient education,” said Shafer.
    This is a clear violation of the 1954 Brown V Board of Ed…these types of Separate and unequal schools …I smell a NAACP lawsuit

  • MarquinhoGaucho

    A lot of teachers are going to get laid off and get jobs outside the district, Even the ones who aren't laid off will start looking elsewhere because I dont think the teachers are going to go another 5 years with no raise like when Donnie "douche bag" Evans and the Outlaw Jersey Whale were in charge. There is a teacher shortage and the market is in the teacher's favour. I hope a mass exodus takes place

Top