N.J. loosens grip on district under state takeover

By Adam Clark | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on February 10, 2016

Paterson's Public School Number 3.


TRENTON — In the latest move to empower school districts under state takeover, New Jersey's Board of Education voted Wednesday to return control over finances and personnel to Paterson Public Schools.

The district has demonstrated substantial and sustained progress in improving performance in those areas, the board's resolution said.

"We look for many good things to come," state Education Commissioner David Hespe said.

The state, which took over Paterson's schools in 1991, will retain control over Paterson's instruction. Gaining control over finances and personnel will help Paterson's Board of Education improve the district's instruction, Superintendent Donnie Evans said.

"It will give the board and the superintendent more flexibility to perhaps explore some options that we haven't," Evans said. "We have some very smart people on our board who know a lot about instruction, who know a lot about how kids learn."

The decision Wednesday was the latest in the Christie administration's recent loosening of the state's grip on four urban districts under state intervention.

The state in June formed a committee to create a road map for returning control to Newark Public Schools, under state control for two decades.

In October, the state board voted to give Jersey City control over its personnel and operation departments, leaving only its instruction under the state's control.

Camden Public Schools also remain under state intervention.

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