Paterson school board passes $618.55 million budget with 15 percent tax increase | Paterson Times

Paterson school board passes $618.55 million budget with 15 percent tax increase


The school board approved a $618.55 million budget on Thursday evening that raises school taxes by 15 percent.

Superintendent Eileen Shafer said the 2020-21 school budget cuts 47 teachers. She was able to reduce layoffs from 243 down to 47 because of a $11.6 million injection of federal Covid-19 funds.

Shafer said the 47 people being cut will likely be rehired from savings produced through retirements. Her administration faced a $63.7 million budget shortfall that was brought down to $14.6 million. She is closing the Urban Leadership Academy and School 14 as part of a series of cuts to balance the budget.

School board members approved the budget in a 7-2 vote. Board members Kenneth Simmons, Manny Martinez, Oshin Castillo, Nakima Redmon, Corey Teague, and Emanuel Capers voted in favor while Jonathan Hodges and Joel Ramirez voted against.

“We all know this budget does not provide for a thorough and efficient education for our children in Paterson,” said Rosie Grant, executive director for the Paterson Education Fund.

School board members were told voting down the budget would jeopardize the process to end state takeover of the district. Some board members had expressed reservations about the budget because of the 15 percent tax increase.

The 2020-21 budget raises the school levy 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, said school officials.

Teague and Capers had voted against the preliminary budget that proposed to axe 243 teachers. Both men gave their support to the final budget because of reduction in layoffs.

“I refused to support a budget that laid off hundreds of teachers. My primary focus today was the fact that 200+ of the 245 teachers who were originally slated to be terminated were placed back to work,” said Teague after the virtual school board meeting. “Does it reflect a thorough and efficient education? Not yet. But we have a job to do and we will get it done. With local control now a guarantee we can make the decisions needed to get us there.”

Capers said he also supported the budget because Shafer is using $3.6 million from the federal funding to purchase Chromebooks or other devices for all district students. Thousands of Paterson students lack computer devices rendering the delivery of education nearly impossible. Packets given to those students are viewed largely as inadequate in providing them an education amid the coronavirus pandemic that led to the closure of school buildings in late March.

Shafer has said all high school students have been equipped with Chromebooks.

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  • Vindicated

    My taxes are going up, again?? For what? So these useless administration gets richer while these students get dumber or go to jail or pregnant and then we will eventually pay for their food stamps and living quarters eventually. Hmmm, I wonder why towns like Wayne and Ridge wood don’t have these problems. ( most of these teachers live there, NOT in Paterson)!

    • Yogi Zuna

      They will just keep raising taxes until almost no one can afford to live in Paterson anymore. They just don't get it and probably never will.

      • MarquinhoGaucho

        expect a lot more fires when property owners get their tax bills

        • Yogi Zuna

          And this is just the beginning in my honest opinion. The city is broke, the county is broke, and the state is broke.

    • Miss jamaica

      Both towns you mention are run by republicans, republican believe in quality of life.
      Ridgewood mayor is Dominican came to the country when he was 10 years old.
      There is also a large black American population in Ridgewood and Wayne.
      Both town are well run because of leadership.

      The debacle here in Paterson will kill what we work for and set out to achieve

    • MarquinhoGaucho

      Your taxes are going up because of Charters. Paterson PUBLIC schools, are closing schools and slashing workforce including administration. So where is ALL that money going? In donors of Manny Martinez, Oshin Castillo , Arrington and the other Charter lackeys. The whole M.O is defund, create a failing system, parents get mad, then offer Charters as the solution even though they are more expensive than public schools due to padding of bills fake vendors etc etc….look at the budget..the charters make no cuts or sacrifices but just keep expanding at your pocketbook's expense while the fat cats laugh all the way to the bank

  • MarquinhoGaucho

    The real reason is the extra added expenses of the charter schools, they have corrupt scams to pad bills and inflate costs..for example they set up a real estate company who owns the same building they rent from, instead of market rate they add on 20% since YOU THE TAX PAYER is footing the bill. Got to feed the kids? they create a catering company that charges $5 per student when in actuality the cost is $2.50 etc etc…since the have crooked BOE members in their pocket they have no oversight and no fear of investihation. We have to close the charters and take back the public schools. If Charters are so great why dont our suburban neighbors have them?

    • Vindicated

      Brother you’re making too much sense!! Our suburban neighbors wouldn’t get away with it… they care, plus their corruption is at least monitored. Funny, that our BOE members have some expensive vehicles to say the least…”Oshin is the first one. The FBI needs to investigate this further. These taxes are ridiculous!