Paterson Top Stories

School District Spending About $100,000 on Legal Department Offices



PATERSON, NJ – City education officials have spent close to $100,000 on office renovations for Paterson Public Schools’ legal department at 90 Delaware Avenue, according to district officials.

That includes $25,000 in “build-up” expenses like the walls and toilets, $25,000 for the floors and carpeting and $42,000 in staff expenses, most of which was overtime pay, Facilities Executive Director Chris Sapara-Grant told the Board of Education last week. The work is still ongoing, but Sapara-Grant said he did not expect the cost of the project to get much greater.

Sign Up for E-News

“We have to use the money more wisely,’’ said board member Alex Mendez, chairman of the facilities committee. “I’m definitely not comfortable with this type of money spent on central offices.’’

State-appointed superintendent Donnie Evans said that none of the money used on the legal offices had been reallocated from plans to repair schools.

But school board member Errol Kerr said the district’s resources were so limited that spending on the administrative offices had to limit the amount of money available for work at the schools. “We’re talking about $100,000 as if it’s just a dollar,’’ said Kerr. “A hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money. If we use $100,000 it has to come from somewhere.’’

The offices renovations come as the district continues to expand its legal department. After going almost two years without an in-house general counsel, officials filled that position last summer. In January, the district added a paralegal for $51,000 and now is in the process of hiring a deputy counsel for a salary between $120,000 and $150,000.

Administration officials told the school board that the work on the new second-floor legal offices was designed to allow the department to work more efficiently by bringing offices that are currently scattered around the building together.

After the renovations, the legal department would have private offices for six staff members, a main conference room, a central area for secretaries and a reception area.

Board President Christopher Irving told Evans that part of the problem with the office work was that the renovations were being done instead of much-needed school repairs. He urged the district to stop using workers on overtime for the project.

But officials said that using facilities staff on the legal offices during regular hours simply would mean that they would have to work overtime to perform other duties. Either way, Sapara-Grant said, the cost to the district ends up being about the same.

Sapara-Grant did not mention any furniture expenses during his presentation to the board. When asked about it afterwards, he said the district probably would assign desks and other items that it already has in-house.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly Seeks Input on State Budget

April 17, 2018

Dear Editor:

As one of only 12 members on the New Jersey General Assembly’s Budget Committee, I am in the unique position to question New Jersey’s commissioners, those charged with leading our state's various departments, on the specifics of the FY 19 budget that Governor Murphy has proposed. As you may know, this budget must be passed by June 30, 2018.

From education to ...

Assembly's Longest Serving Member Dead at 79

April 19, 2018

PATERSON, NJ- Paterson's Assembly members, Shavonda Sumter and Benjie Wimberly, are mourning the loss of their colleague, Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-Plainfield) who died on Thursday.

Green, 79, was the longest serving member of the Assembly, and considered to be a champion of affordable housing. Green stepped down as Chairman of the Union County Democratic Organization on January 24 to ...

Paterson Mayor Candidate Andre Sayegh Names Vaughn L. McKoy, a Paterson Native, as Campaign Counsel

April 20, 2018

PATERSON, NJ- Andre Sayegh, the sixth ward councilman who is seeking to be Paterson’s next mayor in the city’s elections next month, has named Paterson native Vaughn L. McKoy, JD, MBA as his campaign counsel.

McKoy, a former state and federal prosecutor as well as a lawyer in private practice, will volunteer and serve as a key adviser to the campaign. Sayegh said he felt extremely ...