(TRENTON) – Assemblyman Benjie E. Wimberly (D-Bergen/Passaic) offered the following statement regarding the severe underfunding of the Paterson School District in response to the testimony given by the Paterson Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) at Wednesday’s Budget Committee Hearing:
“Thank you to the Paterson PTO for their much needed testimony at today’s hearing; and thank you to Gov. Murphy for the $20 million laid out for Paterson Schools in his budget, but, with all due respect, this is not enough.
“Paterson’s schools have been severely underfunded by $250 million over the past eight years and have subsequently been forced to lay off 526 staff members over the past six years. For New Jersey’s second largest school district, this is unacceptable.
“Our district has a lack of teachers and staff members in a wide array of areas, including physical education instructors, art and science teachers, and nurses, among others.
“STEM is the future for our children, and in order to have our students succeed in the next generation of the workforce, we must allocate funds where they are desperately needed. It would cost over $1 million to fix the laboratories in Paterson’s schools just to get them properly up-and-running again, and to me, this funding is imperative.
“The governor is on the right track with this budget, but we have a long road ahead of us in getting Paterson’s schools the funding that they not only need, but deserve.”