PATERSON, NJ- Assembly Majority Conference Leader Shavonda Sumter and Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (Both D-Bergen/Passaic) issued the following statement regarding the New Jersey Board of Education vote to end state control of Paterson Public Schools:

Sumter: “Paterson Public School District has seen almost three decades of state control. What began as an effort to fix failing schools transpired into long decades of disappointments and more failures for our district.

“I applaud Paterson administrators and advocates for their perseverance and for the work they’ve done over the years. Their hard work is why we, Paterson, are able to say farewell to state control. This gives all stakeholders an opportunity to take a seat at the table and have their voices heard when making important decisions on the education of our students.

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“I thank the Governor for making Paterson one of the focal points of his early acts in office. Regaining the ability to make our own education decisions is vital to steering the direction our schools and students are headed in.”

Wimberly: “The teachers and administrators of Paterson Schools have spent the last twenty-six years educating the districts’ over 25,000 students while under state control. They have seen school funding decreased by $252 million, experienced numerous layoffs of staff and administration, and worked in school buildings rapidly deteriorating from age.

“They have stood steadfast and fought diligently against previous administrations to encourage the state to do the right thing by Paterson students.

“Today, because of their commitment, we can say we are no longer a ‘takeover’ district.  This is a much-needed win for the children and for the community.”