Councilman Shahin Khalique owes $27,654 to the Paterson Public Schools for using their facilities, according to school district records. Records show the 2nd Ward councilman gave the district a check that bounced.
Khalique’s has been using John F. Kennedy High School since 2017, accumulating bills for custodian and security services, according to the records. On Thursday, he said he has paid the district for his uses, but the amount owed belongs to IQRA Learning Center.
Khalique said he secured the facility for the learning center to use.
“If even one of my checks bounced. They were paid,” said Khalique. His $3,237 check dated May 16, 2018 bounced, according to copies of the checks reviewed by the Paterson Times.
District records show a payment on Oct. 12, 2019 that reduced the amount owed from $30,654 to $27,654.
Khalique said the IQRA Learning Center is a nonprofit organization that has been running a tutoring program out of the high school building.
“They are making the payments,” said Khalique. The website for IQRA Learning Center lists Kennedy High School as its address. It runs an Islamic education program that instructs girls in the holy Quran, according to the website.
A representative for the organization contacted on Thursday afternoon refused to answer questions over the phone.
“The district’s Finance Department has developed and presented to Mr. Khalique a payment plan to pay down the debt to the district over a period of 19 months. The payments will be monitored by the Finance Department,” said Paul Brubaker, spokesman for the Paterson Public Schools, on Thursday afternoon.
School board member Emanuel Capers blamed all three – Khalique, the district, and school board’s fiscal committee — sides.
“If you know you don’t have the money why write a bad check?” asked Capers. The check from Khalique Realty bounced due to “not sufficient funds,” according to the district’s banking records.
“We’re a strapped district,” said Capers, chairman of the facilities committee. He wondered why the district did not try to collect the owed funds before it snowballed. “It’s mind boggling to me.”
Capers said the fiscal committee headed by school board president Oshin Castillo should have provided better oversight of the district.
Castillo declined to comment on the matter.
School board fiscal committee members found out about the delinquent payments this month. The full Board of Education learned about it when the Paterson Times sought records from the district.