(PATERSON) – Assembly Majority Conference Leader Shavonda E. Sumter (D- Bergen, Passaic) released the following statement on the recent announcement of a reduction in force within the Paterson Public School District:
“The Paterson Public School District’s cost saving strategy to reduce direct classroom support for students with emotional and behavioral needs is quite troubling and raises a number of concerns for our teachers, children and communities.
“A commitment was made by the district only a few years ago to stop sending our students with special needs to other communities for their education and to provide those essential educational services and support staff here in Paterson, in schools within their communities.
“It is alarming to me when the mandate to ensure a thorough and efficient education is continuously being usurped with fuzzy mathematical business tactics.
“Many cities across New Jersey are facing a budget crisis. However, we must not make decisions that ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater,’ and erase the progress we have made in Paterson over the years.
“Reducing millions spent on consultants and contracts with no measurable outcomes or end dates, frees up those dollars to be used to directly support classrooms. When we continue to eliminate direct services, we make a significant impact on measurable outcomes that matter the most, such as graduation rates.”