New Jersey's third-largest school district faces the potential loss of more than 500 teachers and other school staff members because of budget restraints, warns the state appointed superintendent.
Paterson Schools Superintendent Donnie Evans sent an email to nearly 4,000 teachers and other school employees saying 517 jobs are in jeopardy unless their labor union agree to a change in their health insurance as it pertains to prescription drugs.
The union has responded that the current contract is not open to renegotiation.
Another layoff of teachers would be hard to accept, say parents and students. The district laid off more than 300 teachers last year, they said.
"A third of the staff has already been cut. Any more would be devastating," said Rosie Grant, executive director of the Paterson Education Fund, a not-for-profit group that encourages community involvement to improve local schools.
An undisclosed number of secretaries in the school district’s central offices were notified last Friday that they are being laid off.
John McEntee, president of the union that represents city teachers and secretaries, said the layoffs are “outrageous” as the school system continues contracts with what he said were high-priced consultants.