Assembly Democrats Shavonda Sumter and Benjie Wimberly (both D-Passaic/Bergen) on Thursday decried the governor’s budget line item veto of additional Paterson school state aid for a second year in a row:
“It is clear that properly funding education and helping New Jersey school districts that deserve the support is not a priority.
“This veto is another attempt by the Governor to shirk his responsibility to the people of New Jersey and selfishly push an agenda contrary to what is in the best interest of families and children.
“As a result of chronically underfunding education in this state, our school districts are not equal and cannot be made equal by a funding plan that neglects school districts’ obvious differences in education resources.
“We will continue to fight in Trenton for Paterson school district and communities facing similar burdens to help taxpayers and improve education for all students,” said Sumter, who is Assembly Majority Conference Leader.
“The Governor’s veto of additional aid to Paterson is appalling to say the least. It is impossible to improve education without the sufficient aid.
“Over 150 Paterson teachers and administrators have been laid off this year alone. Property taxes in the city have nearly tripled in four years. Yet the Governor’s answer is a plan that ignores years of neglect, and strips school districts like Paterson of up to 50 percent of their current school aid.
“This administration’s priorities are dreadfully misplaced. The proposed fairness formula is not reasonable and demonstrates a clear choice in helping some districts in New Jersey and not all, especially those who have gone years without support from this administration.
“The fairness formula ignores the decades-long plight of state controlled school districts, which will never get out from under the thumb of state government without proper resources and funding,” said Wimberly, who has been a teacher in Paterson for 27 years.