Senator Declan O'Scanlon issued the following statement slamming the Paterson School Board's waste of State aid after the board voted to approve excessive travel expenses for a trip to New Orleans. The senator called for the Department of Education (DOE) to use its authority to deduct waste from any future grants and reiterated the need for committee hearings to reform the broken school aid funding formula.
"Paterson schools' misuse of taxpayer money follows a pattern of self-indulgent travel by school board members to extravagant places like Las Vegas, Honolulu, and now New Orleans. This is one more reminder that excessive State aid increases for selected districts doesn't necessarily reach children while aid cuts for other districts are devastating everywhere else. It is way past time for the Legislature to reform the broken school aid formula and disincentivize this sort of garbage.
How are students benefiting from school officials taking luxurious trips around the country? Rather than taking expensive trips, the Paterson and Newark school boards should be focused on helping students recover from learning loss. Until then, the DOE needs to use its discretionary authority and deduct any disgusting waste like this from future grants."
In 2022, it was reported that Newark school officials approved the use of taxpayer dollars to send their members to San Diego, Miami, Puerto Rico, and Honolulu.