Penniless New Jersey Public Schools Slash Budgets For Books, While Teachers Spend State Cash On Lavish Meals

Emma Colton Deputy Editor
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The cash-strapped Newark Public School System can’t afford to buy enough pens and paper for its students, but has approved spending roughly $22,000 a month on take-out and catered events for its teachers.

NBC  New York 4 reports that the North Jersey school system has spent $330,000 over a 15-month period on BBQ ribs, specialty sandwiches and Halal cuisine, but the cluster of Newark schools slashed its budget on expenditures like school building maintenance and school supplies.

“We don’t have adequate supplies of paper and necessary supplies to supplement us throughout the day and then there’s money being spent on arbitrary things such as catering and food,” sophomore high school student Khadija Bhatti told NBC New York.

When asked to defend the glut of state cash spent on food, Superintendent Cami Anderson refused to reply, but school spokeswoman Vanessa Rodriguez told NBC New York that New Jersey union rules requires food to be provided to teachers who stay late for parent-teacher conferences.

“Ninety percent of what we have spent in these events happens at the school level. And it happens with teachers and it happens with students and families,” Rodriguez said.

Yet parent-teacher conferences are only held twice a school year, and according to the NBC New York report, the teachers were pigging-out on thousands of dollars worth of food every month with no definite proof that students and families were present.

President of the Newark Teachers Union Joseph Del Grosso, said that schools rarely provide food for teachers after the school day ends, and said he was disappointed that the penniless schools were spending so much state cash on takeout meals. (RELATED: Union Sues To Block School Vouchers For Disabled)

“While we in schools are living hand to mouth, the superintendent is out catering affairs,” Del Grosso told NBC New York.