The Paterson school district will eliminate 40 teachers instead of 243, superintendent Eileen Shafer announced on Monday afternoon.
Shafer said her administration is able to save more than 200 jobs because it is receiving $12.1 million in federal Covid-19 funding. She said $3.6 million will be used to purchase computer devices for all district students. $1 million will be used to purchase personal protective equipment and sanitize schools when the buildings re-open.
Remaining $7.5 million can be used for special education, technology, instruction due to learning loss, and staff, she said. She said expenses in those areas will be covered using the Covid-19 funding, freeing up $7.5 million in the budget to save the teaching jobs.
“The last thing we wanted to do was eliminate teachers,” said Shafer.
Shafer said further $4.5 million will be produced from virtual summer school, summer security, and elimination of professor in residence program.
Shafer said the 40 teachers being cut will be brought back in September from savings produced by the retirement of older teachers.
School officials had to close a $63.7 million shortfall. Shafer’s administration brought the deficit down to $14 million. She is closing two schools – Urban Leadership Academy on North 5th Street and School 14 on Union Avenue — to produce savings.
Board members approved the district’s $618.55 million preliminary budget last week. The 2020-21 budget raises the school tax by 14.9 percent. It increases from $47.44 to $54.49 million. An average home assessed at $190,000 will pay $241 more in taxes per year.
A final vote on the budget is scheduled for Thursday.
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