Eight months after blasting charter schools for taking millions of dollars from her budget, school superintendent Eileen Shafer joined charter school leaders to form what’s called the “All City Education Council.”
Mission of the council is to “explore opportunities to work more cooperatively,” according to a press release issued by Shafer on Wednesday afternoon. The talking shop will be used to coordinate school closings during inclement weather and mutual sharing of ideas for professional development for teachers and administrators.
“Everyone on the All City Education Council shares the same common ground. We want to lead out the best Paterson’s students,” said Shafer. “Today was an important first step to developing a more cooperative climate among the different schools so that we can all serve Paterson’s students and their families better.”
Leaders from the Community Charter School of Paterson, Paterson Arts and Science Charter School, John P. Holland Charter School, Paterson Charter School for Science and Technology, and Philip’s Academy Charter School attended the meeting.
Missing were leaders from the College Achieve Charter School. School board member Manuel Martinez serves as that school’s vice principal.
“The meeting was unbelievably great,” said Nihat Guvercin of iLearn Schools, which runs the Paterson Arts and Science Charter School. “This was a turning point in charter schools and district school relations. I am very pleased that we are in the process of building a better future together.”
Shafer’s criticism of charter schools, which will receive $63.8 million from the district’s budget this year, garnered a strong push back from charter leaders. She ultimately backed down and joined them in a rally to demand more education funding from the state government.
Theodore “TJ” Best, Jr., one of the state monitors overseeing the district’s transition to local control, had been a channel between the traditional and charter schools. He attended Shafer’s first All City Education Council meeting.