Office of the SuperintendentPaterson Public Schools

Office of the Superintendent

Dr. Evans' Message
February 2011

The New “Business as Usual”

As a school community faced with significant and challenging changes this past year, there is a common desire to return to “business as usual”.  But what we must recognize is that today’s reality is now the new “business as usual”.  Paterson, like all school districts in New Jersey, has been operating under a different budget environment; and there is a strong likelihood that we will need to make several difficult decisions in the months ahead.

Although the budget environment has been especially challenging, it is important for us to stay focused on student achievement, and to celebrate the great accomplishments of this current school year – including some of the most recent events:

  • 122 Paterson students achieved perfect scores on NJASK mathematics
  • First curriculum-based, student-run credit union opened at JFK High School
  • Our full service community school initiative will expand with the news of a program similar to the Harlem Children Zone coming to Paterson

Now, as we engage in the budget development process for the 2011/2012 year, I have asked the District’s department heads to review their annual budgets and submit their recommendations for the upcoming school year.  Additionally, I have established a Fiscal Review Task Force of prestigious local and professional representatives – including local universities, the PEA, and our own PTO Presidents - requesting their input and guidance in reviewing the top educational, social, and emotional priorities for the children of Paterson. The members of this task force recognize that as a school district, our greatest challenge continues to be our ability to significantly improve student achievement.  They also recognize that the District hopes to bring back programs, such as music, to all of our schools.  Yet to do so with no increase in funding and perhaps having to reduce our budgets another 5-10%, will require that other current programs will likely need to be eliminated.

Simply put – there are no easy answers.  This is the reason that we are being diligent and thorough in our exploration and review of all current programs. If these programs are not significantly helping our children prepare for college or the career of their choosing, then it is time that we move on.

On Wednesday, February 23rd, I will be holding a Community Forum at Eastside High School to discuss this important topic in much greater detail. I welcome your participation in this discussion and as always, thank you for your continued support.

Donnie W. Evans, Ed.D.
State District Superintendent
Paterson Public Schools

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