PATERSON, NJ - Less than 24 hours after Superintendent Eileen Shafer offered a budget proposal that includes the layoffs of 150 teachers, Paterson Education Association (PEA) President John McEntee offered his belief that job cuts are the wrong approach.
“Our district is already struggling with an educational deficit because of exploding class sizes, crumbling buildings, insufficient technology/teaching materials, and special education students struggling due to a lack of services,” McEntee said. “How are 150 layoffs of dedicated and necessary employees going to help solve any of these problems?”
Paterson Schools are grappling with a $22 million budget gap, caused, one official said, by a “perfect storm” of events that include a $7 million decrease in state aid, $64 million due to be transferred to the city’s charter schools, and $900,000 due for costs associated with students attending Passaic County Technical Institute (PCTI).
“The Paterson Education Association firmly believes that any cost reductions must not be made on the backs of our members who work day in and day out to educate the children of this city,” McEntee said. “Doing so only makes it that much harder for Paterson students to receive a first rate education in order to participate in the global economy.”
Echoing an earlier call from Board of Education President Oshin Castillo that they must lobby the State for additional funding McEntee concluded that “Instead of the Paterson Public Schools fighting over scraps from the state, we should all stand together and demand more aid from Trenton.”
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