Paterson Press letter: Assembywoman condems school budget cuts

As seen on NorthJersey.com – (http://www.northjersey.com/news/paterson-press-letter-assembywoman-condems-school-budget-cuts-1.1652675)

Dear Editor,

At the beginning of a new school year, excitement should fill the atmosphere.  Over the past several years, Paterson Public School students, parents and teachers have mostly felt anxiety as a result of substantial administrative changes. This time these changes impact the safety of staff and students.

These latest rounds of cuts to security, transportation and custodial services announced in August are, truthfully, obscene.

There are many Paterson school buildings that have a demonstrated need for security.  The need was amplified last term when a person took refuge in a school building to avoid an attack.  Security locked down the school to protect teachers and students.  Yet, it’s security that made it on the budget chopping block.

Another overhaul of transportation will leave countless students in the Choice Schools and Academies programs without a bus to deliver them safely to school. The programs were encouraged by the superintendent and state in recent years; however, this year they are cutting transportation for these students.  In addition, our facilities are identified as some of the oldest buildings in the state, but custodial services for maintenance were slashed too.

It is unfathomable how these decisions were determined and how they fail to consider the security of our students and faculty.  The safety and well-being of our children must remain a priority in administrative decisions.  Paterson Public School administration should make a request for emergency funding from the State Department of Education immediately.

State control of Paterson school district has proven ineffective, detrimental and wasteful.  It is time for the return of local control which will allow our elected Board of Education commissioners, parents, faculty and students to lean in and create a healthy educational system for all.

Unfortunately, another school year has been branded with chaos before the school doors open.

Respectfully yours,

Shavonda Sumter

 

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