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


Upcoming Events


Tue, July 24, 11:00 AM

Paterson Courthouse Plaza, Paterson

Tuesdays in the Plaza


Thu, July 26, 6:00 PM

Vreeland Ave. Park, Paterson

Occupy Vreeland Ave. Park

Arts & Entertainment Community Calendar


Tue, July 31, 11:00 AM

Paterson Courthouse Plaza, Paterson

Tuesdays in the Plaza

Readers Says Let Developer Bring Paterson Back

July 13, 2018

Dear Editor: 

It is no secret that Paterson is in dire need of revitalizing, restructuring, rebuilding, and, quite frankly, rebranding. As a city, we have struggled to pay our municipal debt, to reduce crime substantially, to create sustainable employment opportunities for our youth and to provide assistance for our city’s most vulnerable residents. 

Today, we face an uphill ...

Murphy Administration Takes Action to Help Smokers Quit

July 19, 2018

Eliminates Prior Approval for Medicaid Tobacco Cessation Medications; Counseling Options to be Expanded

July 16, 2018

(TRENTON) – The Murphy administration on Monday announced new steps to help New Jersey Medicaid recipients quit using tobacco by making it easier to receive tobacco cessation medications and counseling.

“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death ...

Pascrell, Renacci, Senators Celebrate House Approval of Congressional Gold Medal to Baseball Pioneer Larry Doby

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and Jim Renacci (R-OH-16) hailed the passage in the House of Representatives of H.R. 1861, the Larry Doby Congressional Gold Medal Act. The legislation awards the Congressional Gold Medal to the late baseball star, Larry Doby, who broke the American League’s color barrier in 1947.

“A proud ...

Newark Lures Amazon With $1 Billion Payroll Tax Incentive

July 12, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - Amazon will get a payroll tax break at a cost of $1 billion to the city should the company open its second headquarters here.

It’s one of two ordinances that were approved by the Newark City Council council to sweeten the deal for the corporate giant and stand out among other locations vying for Amazon’s so-called HQ2.

“The City Council has brought Newark a ...

Big Plans for Small Park in Newark’s North Ward

NEWARK, NJ- An under-utilized pocket park on Mt. Prospect Avenue in Newark’s North Ward has become a symbol of what can be accomplished in neighborhoods throughout the city through effective public-private partnerships. 

The park’s supporters have big plans for the public space, located directly across the street from the busy North Ward Center, located in an historic ...

I'm Sorry Mr. Jackson... I Am For Real

July 8, 2018

Hello again, Paterson. 

So much has changed since the last time I’ve written… as I’d hoped, Andre Sayegh is our new mayor and it seems an exciting new dawn is upon us. I think when any change comes, especially one as major as this, there is an opportunity for reflection as well as for hope. This election taught me quite a bit, seeing some of the best and worst sides of ...

RU Ready for Rutgers Football? Tickets on Sale

July 18, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - There's a lot of promotions planned this fall as part of the Rutgers football season.

Single game tickets go on sale Thursday, July 12, with seven home games. There's matchups against Big Ten East opponents Michigan and Penn State, and a first-time cross divisional meeting with Northwestern.

If football is not your thing, there's plenty ...

Westfield to Hold 3-Day ‘AddamsFest’ Celebrating Charles Addams and His Creations This Fall

WESTFIELD, NJ — It’s creepy. It’s kooky. And it’s taking over Westfield from Oct 26 to 28. AddamsFest, a town-wide celebration honoring Westfield native Charles Addams and his most famous creations, The Addams Family, will be a destination event this fall with family-friendly activities, lectures, exhibits and film screenings, the town announced Thursday.

Watch the ...

Belmar Parasail: Soar Into Summer with a High-Flying Adventure Along the Beachfront

BELMAR, NJ — As Belmar finally basks in picture-perfect weather, it may be time to check off a summer activity on your bucket list. And for many, parasailing is one of those “must-do” experiences.

At Belmar Parasail, the season is in full swing, offering boat trips from the Belmar Manutti Marina to the beachfront where passengers are lifted 500 feet above the Atlantic Ocean ...