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New Jersey ends 30-year takeover of Paterson school district

Jan. 6, 2021
State board of education votes to restore full control of the Paterson district to the local school board.

The state of New Jersey is ending its takeover of the Paterson school district after three decades.

NJ.com reports that the New Jersey Board of Education has voted to fully return local control to the city school board.

“Today is a great day,” said Joseph Ricca, a member of the state board. “It is a great day for the children and the people of Paterson.”

The state took over the poorly performing district in 1991 in an effort to turn around student achievement and low graduation rates.

The decision to return full control is based on Paterson’s performance in the state’s school monitoring system, which evaluates districts in five areas: governance, fiscal management, personnel, operations, and instruction and program.

Local leaders say that the Paterson district desperately needs more state support as it moves forward.

Paterson remains one of New Jersey’s most distressed cities, with high rates of poverty and violent crime. Its schools have been severely underfunded by the state and forced to slash hundreds of jobs in recent years, school leaders say.

Though graduation rates have improved, they remain among the lowest in the state, and the vast majority of Paterson students are still missing the mark on state exams.

“We still have work to do,” Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh says. “We have to ensure that every student is set up for success.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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