Paterson schools will regain full local control nearly 30 years after the State Board of Education stripped them of their autonomy amid academic and administrative struggles, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Wednesday.
“The resolution adopted today marks a momentous day for Paterson Public Schools,” Murphy said. “This milestone is made possible due to the dedication of the district’s school board, administrators, educators, and students who have conquered the challenges they faced. I am confident that Paterson Public Schools will continue to provide our students with the high-quality education that they deserve.”
The announcement is the culmination of a process to hand back local control to the Passaic County city that began in 2018, though Paterson gained some measure of autonomy in 2014.
“Today is truly a historic day in the City of Paterson,” Mayor Andre Sayegh said. “Regaining full local control has been a top priority and this restoration will finally allow Patersonians to have a seat at the table to make decisions toward our children’s future. From the administrators to the educators, I can’t thank you enough for your steadfast commitment to lead us toward this milestone.”
That process included an independent assessment conducted by researchers from Rutgers University’s Bloustein Local Government Research Center, which created a transition plan for the once troubled school system.
While local officials and other have lauded the move, it’s far from the end of Paterson’s education troubles.
A state report released last year found Paterson schools trailed behind most of New Jersey’s other Abbott districts, and the district boasts one of the highest administrator-to-student ratios in the state.
“Thirty years is a long time, and for Paterson schools, it is long enough,” State Sen. Nellie Pou (D-Paterson said). “I see today as an exciting day, a day of hope, a day of a well-earned independence, a day of relief — for not only those of us that have tirelessly advocated for this — but for our educators, our families, our children, and the community at-large.”