Pou Praises State Board of Education’s Votes to Return Local Control of Paterson Public Schools

Senator Nellie Pou, D-Passaic and Bergen, speaks during the caucus meeting before the Senate voting session.

TRENTON – State Senator Nellie Pou praised the State Board of Education’s unanimous votes Wednesday to begin the transition from state control to local control of the Paterson School District.

“It has taken nearly 27 years for this moment, but the day is here when the hard work of the people of Paterson to improve their public school system has been validated and recognized by the State Board of Education,” said Senator Pou (D-Passaic/Bergen). “The reasons for the initial state takeover were complex, but the process to return local control became too muddled over the decades. Generations of students have gone through their entire educational process in a district controlled by outside forces.

“But Patersonians, educators and school administrators were never deterred. Little by little, progress was made on all fronts. Paterson schools are getting better each year, each day and with each student. This is a victory for everyone, whether they are parents, educators, students or residents of Paterson.

“A good public education is a guaranteed constitutional right in New Jersey. Stakeholders in the system need to be the ones making the decisions about public education in their community. I applaud the State Board of Education for its unanimous votes Wednesday – votes that brings us closer to complete local control. And applaud all the people of Paterson who have worked so hard for this moment.”

The state took control of the Paterson School District in 1991, returning limited amounts of control over the past decade. It voted Wednesday to return the final areas of control of the district to local officials and to authorize the Commissioner of Education to develop the final transition process for full local control. The process is expected to take a year.