PATERSON, NJ - Any bank that expects to receive deposits from the Paterson School District must meet commitments to help provide financial literacy training to students.

This was the message sent by members of the Paterson Board of Education early in January when they delayed naming banks that would hold payroll and other money, until they live up to past promises to provide education opportunities.

Commissioner Jonathan Hodges requested the board delay naming the banks until the administration could get the banks on board to provide a list of courses they will offer.

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Although the state implemented a requirement in 2016 that middle school students be mandated to take financial literacy programs, Paterson wants to provide them for students from kindergarten to 12th grade.

Hodges said this would include courses on understanding the stock exchange, how to start and run a business, basic facts on insurance and more fundamental personal finance – as well as possible internship opportunities.

“Some have agreed, but we haven’t followed up on it,” Hodges said.

TD Bank has sponsored a summer program in finance since 2011, which it has run in other cities since 2003, school officials noted.

Each year, the Paterson school district deposits funds into various banks, some for payroll, some as holding accounts for state aid and grants.

Noting that Passaic County saved $3 million a year by changing banks, Commissioner Joel Ramirez recommended that  the district also look more closely at the rate of return they get on their accounts.

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