Yesterday Governor Christie announced that 10 of the 51 school construction projects from 2008 would move forward. Thankfully, Paterson has two of them: Hazel Marshall and School 16. Given the enormity of Paterson’s school facility needs, this is a huge step forward.

But after we celebrate, comes the hard work.

What’s next? We need to have a discussion about the design of these schools.  Will we use the original plans? Will the SDA use “standardized plans”? What are they? When will construction actually begin? When will Paterson students actually be in the schools?

I don’t want to sound ungrateful. I am delighted about this news. However, the reality remains that Paterson needs 12 more new schools, according to our 2005 Long Range Facility Plan. [We’ve needed these schools since the 1950’s when Columbia University did a study for us.] At the rate we are constructing these schools, we won’t have them built until 2026. That’s right, 2026.

Right now, we are trying to provide a 21st century education in 19th century buildings. Our kids need better.

BTW, see the new blog,, as PEF and its statewide partners cover the school funding trial.