Gov. Chris Christie’s “fair funding” publicity event at the Paterson Charter School for Science and Technology was met with a force of “red shirts” on Thursday, June 30. Paterson Education Association President John McEntee organized nearly 200 members of PEA, along with parents and community residents, to send Christie a clear message about his proposal to cut funding from urban districts in New Jersey.
“Paterson Public Schools are already behind $242 million from the past five years of funding cuts with a projected shortfall of 136 million over the next three to five years, and now he comes to Paterson to drop his atomic bomb on urban education,” McEntee said.
Members from the Bergenfield Education Association, the Jersey City Education Association, the Trenton Education Association, and the Newark Teachers Union joined PEA in voicing their discontent with Christie’s proposed funding formula.
“The only thing that can beat Christie and his corporate cronies is a united defense: unions, teachers, parents, and students,” said Michael Iovino of NTU.
“There is no way I could not be here,” TEA’s Twanda Taylor said. “Our students deserve better.”
Community advocate Cory Teague discussed the impact of the governor’s fair funding formula on urban districts.
“We have members from every city here who will be affected by this so-called ‘equality’ plan,” Teague said. “Equality does not equal equity. The governor’s plan will not provide fairness and equity to the children of Paterson and other urban districts. The governor knows this, and he knows his plan will disenfranchise and divide our communities within the state.”
McEntee said that Paterson has been under state control for 25 years.
“If Christie’s proposal goes through, we would lose half of our teachers and close half of our schools,” he said. “That’s unacceptable. Right now, our teachers don’t have supplies. Our schools are falling apart. Every child in Paterson deserves a first-class education. Christie has turned his back on the students of Paterson for far too long.”