New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: Disappointed to See Paterson BOE Fly to Vegas on Taxpayers’ Dime

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Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) questioned the Paterson Board of Education’s decision to use taxpayer dollars to fly to a conference in Las Vegas, calling the trip a “colossal waste” of  public funds.

Sen. Joe Pennacchio questioned the Paterson Board of Education’s decision to use taxpayer dollars to fly to a conference in Las Vegas, calling the trip a colossal waste of  public funds. (WikiCommons)

“We constantly hear reports of overcrowded classrooms, crumbling infrastructure, scare resources, and layoffs at Paterson Schools. How could any public servant justify spending thousands on a trip to Vegas, when the children they are supposed to be fighting for don’t even have their own textbooks? Surely, there are better ways to spend that money. This is an outrageous misuse of taxpayer dollars and every parent who hears about this should be furious,” Pennacchio said.

“I have one thing to say to these Board of Education members: grow a conscience, respect the people you represent, and cancel this trip immediately. $5,000 is a lot of money and your district can’t afford to spend it on a lavish vacation, no matter the alleged ‘educational value’ of this so-called conference. If it is that important, pay for it yourself.”

According to a report in The Paterson Press, two City Board of Education officials are planning to spend at least $4,900 on airfare, registration, hotels, and food at a conference this week in Las Vegas.

Shockingly, the district has set aside a whopping $40,000 for board members to attend conferences around the country. During the 2017-2018 school year alone, four of Paterson’s nine BOE members attended conferences out of state.

Pennacchio also echoed the concerns expressed by community leaders in Paterson, who have stated that funding trips to conferences outside of New Jersey has not been a worthwhile investment.

“As a former-Abbot district, Paterson has received more than their fair share of state resources over the years. The school districts that I represent receive practically nothing in comparison. It is a crying shame that this is how the Board of Education is choosing to spend state dollars,” Pennacchio added.

“Every dollar we send to our school districts should be spent wisely and used for its intended purpose – to ensure that children are getting the best education possible.  Our students, teachers, and taxpayers deserve much better.”

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