Schools in Newark, Paterson and Jersey City are being controlled by the New Jersey Department of Education. State Senator Ron Rice thinks it’s time the cities get to run their own school districts.

Rice is planning a press conference at Newark’s City Hall with representatives from the State NAACP, clergy members and school board officials to announce that he is asking federal education regulators to review the State’s policy of denying local control to boards of education in Newark, Paterson and Jersey City.

“As the sponsor of the law that set quality benchmarks to allow the State to return local control to the three school districts in question, I am very concerned that the State Department of Education is refusing to follow the process when those benchmarks are met,” says Rice. “In the case of Newark, all but one of the benchmarks to trigger returning the district to local control was satisfied, and yet the Department failed to begin the process, as they are required to do under the law.”

Rice says he Rice has followed reports about the State’s failure to follow the process laid out in the QSAC (Quality Single Accountability Continuum) law to return local control in Newark, Paterson and Jersey City.  He says that while 107 school districts fell below standards that would trigger State intervention, only those three three districts continue to be under total State control.

“There is no legal justification for maintaining total State control in these districts,” insists Rice. “The end result is a population that is disenfranchised on education issues within their school district.”