PATERSON, NJ- Saying that a “new era where Paterson children matter,” has come to Trenton under Governor Phil Murphy, Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (D-35) told TAPinto Paterson exclusively that Paterson’s schools are set to receive an additional $20 million in funding for the 2018-2019 school year.
“There is no other way to say it other than that Governor Christie robbed our children for eight years,” said Wimberly, referring to the $280 million that local leaders claim the past Administration underfunded Paterson Schools in recent years.
Superintendent Eileen Shafer, school board members, and education activists have spoken often about the underfunding, citing it as a reason for classroom overcrowding, lack of arts and music programming, and other issues that have plagued local schools. While Paterson received over $400 million in state funding for the current school year it is estimated that under current school funding laws that number should have been at least ten percent higher.
Many of these same leaders looked enthusiastically towards Murphy, who promised on the campaign trail that “better days were on the way” and that he’d “have Paterson’s back,"taking over as Governor at the same time Paterson schools transition back to local control. The appointment of former Commissioner Chris Irving to a post in the Department of Education, according to Commissioner Emmanuel Capers, was a signal that local schools would have an “ally” at a critical time.
Wimberly, who has been in New Jersey General Assembly since 2012, and served as a member of the Assembly Budget Committee said Thursday’s announcement shows that as a state “we are coming out of a dark time.”
“Each year I have been in Trenton I have implored the Governor to do the right thing and provide Paterson’s children with the resources they need to receive a truly top class education,” Wimberly said. And while, he pointed out, a “strong team of thoughtful and committed administrators” have done their very best, “it is refreshing to have a real leader” in Murphy, “that seems to be heeding these calls.”
Murphy’s budget will now be considered by both the New Jersey General Assembly and State Senate and, under state law, must be passed by June 30.