“Donnie Must Go, He’s Christie’s ‘Bro’” was the repeated chant of the Paterson Education Association during a rally held prior to Wednesday night’s Board of Education meeting.
Approximately 250 members of the Paterson Education Association were on hand to rally prior to the meeting and demonstrate their collective support for Association President John McEntee and his executive officers as they lambasted Evans for repeatedly failing to serve the families and teachers of the Paterson school district. Calls for Superintendent Donnie Evans’s resignation and declarations of “No Confidence” in his ability to competently and ethically lead the district were repeated throughout the evening.
During his speech to the Paterson Board of Education, McEntee charged that “Evans was in cahoots with Governor Chris Christie to abolish the funding formula in the Paterson school district. Evans provided a written certification to the Court asking for the managerial prerogative to shred the union contract and disregard Abbott v. Burke.” The results of Evans’s funding cuts were further detailed by other members of the Association. Geno Tortoriello, 3rd Vice President of the P.E.A., explained that while funds were allocated for “a $372,000 Central Office ‘facelift’, the district suffered the loss of 13 security guards at Kennedy High School, leaving staff to break up fights since there is no security in the halls or working phones in the classrooms.” A total of 87 security personnel were laid off across the district.
Another issue raised was the shortage of nursing staff in the district. Annette Casabona, RN, CSN, spoke of severe health issues such as “asthma, seizure disorders, cystic fibrosis, etc.” affecting students across the district. Yet, she said, many of the buildings do not have a nurse on staff, while other building nurses have an unmanageable workload. In one instance she cited, the nurse-to-student ratio 1:957 in one building.
Throughout the evening, Evans sat motionless and expressionless as one speaker after another offered scathing indictments of his incompetency. Due to his cuts in security and the Paterson Education Association’s advocacy for public safety, the Guardian Angels were in attendance to provide security throughout the evening.
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