Paterson teachers’ union endorses Shanikwa Lemon, opts not to back incumbents it endorsed three years ago | Paterson Times

Paterson teachers’ union endorses Shanikwa Lemon, opts not to back incumbents it endorsed three years ago


The teachers’ union endorsed Shanikwa Lemon for Board of Education on Wednesday night, opting not to back three incumbent school board members that it had endorsed three years ago.

Lemon is among five candidates seeking three available school board seats in November. She was the sole candidate endorsed by the teachers’ union.

“Shanikwa Lemon has earned the association’s endorsement for this year’s Board of Education election through her passion for public education, Paterson’s students and educators, and safety during this pandemic,” said John McEntee, president of the Paterson Education Association, the teachers’ union.

McEntee said a five-member committee interviewed the candidates and then took a vote to decide who to endorse.

“My initial reaction was excitement. Last year, I didn’t get their support,” said Lemon. “I’m an early childhood educator. To get the teachers’ union support is important to me, because, again, as an educator, I understand the teachers’ perspective. And as someone in this community, I understand the needs of the students.”

The union opted not to endorse incumbents Oshin Castillo, Manny Martinez, and Nakima Redmon. It had supported all three of them in 2018.

“Honestly, I have no clue. We did the interviews. We didn’t get an explanation at all,” said Redmon.

“I haven’t heard the exact reason why not,” said Castillo. “I know he wasn’t in agreement with teachers coming back to school in June.”

Martinez has come under fire from teachers for publicly stating some educators were getting on flights and traveling, but refusing to return to in-person schooling claiming they feared getting Covid-19.

Martinez congratulated Lemon on the endorsement.

“I know that this might be shocking to some to see that we did not go with candidates we picked the last time,” said McEntee. “There was a specific question in the screening process that they did not answer to the satisfaction of the committee. And that’s really what changed.”

McEntee would not say what that question was. The union has had a strained relationship with the district and the school board over re-opening schools amid the pandemic.

Lemon could expect campaign support in the form of phone banking and mailers from the union.

“That would definitely be amazing,” said Lemon about the union potentially sending out mailers to support her campaign.

The union’s political committee, Professionals for Effective Action Political Committee, spent less than $7,000 last year.

“It’s not always about the money. It’s the votes we can bring to the race. We have close to 700 people in Paterson. That can swing an election,” said McEntee.

The union has approximately 3,000 members. McEntee said the number of members in Paterson has been steadily increasing over the past years.

McEntee said the union is willing to work with all school board members regardless of who wins and who loses in November.

  • Javi Chino Vargas

    yupp another one to be controlled by the union,,,you know the new terrorist

    • MarquinhoGaucho

      Clueless Castillo and sex offender Martinez were never in the Union's pocket

  • MarquinhoGaucho

    Oshin "clueless" castillo, was clueless on everything ever asked….Manny "sex offender" Martinez, both sold out students in favour of the charters. Martinez WORKS for a charter (after he was fired from another for sexual harassment)

  • MarquinhoGaucho

    Will she try to stop the spread of Charters that have caused our taxes to go up 27% in 3 years??
    Charters are using tax dollars to pay rents that far exceed building costs. Some charter schools will pay 15 to 80 percent more in rent over a period of years or decades than is needed to pay off the debt on their buildings. The money flows out of public coffers to private groups created to support the schools. 
    Complex transactions hide profits while taxpayers pick up the tab. Financing for one project involved a half-dozen companies, at least as many loans, and two types of tax credits ― resulting in millions of dollars moving from public to private hands with no accountability. 
    Charter school operators have exploited a loophole in a federal aid program. They are receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from a program that was meant to spur public school construction but doesn’t require the properties to be owned by the public. Some of the methods used to tap into that aid are now being reviewed by the IRS, which could put some aid in jeopardy.
    Charter schools pay interest rates and fees experts described as very high, damaging and even predatory. Some schools are covering interest-only mortgages with rates that grow each year, swelling in one case to more than 16 percent. For another school building, $25 million in interest would be paid over two decades ― and the $10.5 million initially borrowed for its construction will still be owed. And fees to get out of the deals early can reach millions of dollars.
    Excessive and unexplained fees are hidden in leases and rents. One nonprofit charter school management company rents properties and then leases them to schools, charging as much as 30 percent above what it pays over the lease term and tacking on other costs. In another case, two charter schools are paying rent to cover the purchase of a pair of buildings that increased in price by more than 150 percent, including millions of dollars in fees paid to the seller.
    Charter school properties have been flipped between related companies at inflated prices.  One vacant lot was purchased by a private group that supports a charter school. The same day, it sold the land to a subsidiary for nearly six times what it paid, adding nearly $2 million to the debt that taxpayers are covering in rent.
    There is little public scrutiny and lax oversight from multiple state agencies. State education officials don’t review building financing or lease agreements before they are signed. They don’t monitor the associated groups that own real estate for charter schools. And New Jersey has issued more than $800 million in bonds to construct, purchase and renovate charter school buildings without any agency considering who will own them or how much the public will pay in rent.

  • Vindicated

    Oshin sounds like she sucks at everything she does, Martinez Sexual harassment has caused the city tons of money, and then he gets another great paying job, I wonder why?