PATERSON, NJ - Paterson Public Schools hired a new business administrator last week, completing an overhaul of its finance department that began more than seven eight months ago.
Carol Fredericks, who will be paid $160,000, has worked as school business administrator in Bogota since 2009. Fredericks' career in education started in 1990 when she became a teacher in Pleasantville Public Schools, according to her resume. In 1996, she founded a charter school in Absecon, in 2000 she became business administrator for Fairfield Township Public Schools in rural Cumberland County and later worked as purchasing agent and assistant business administrator for Atlantic City Schools.
Fredericks replaces Frances Finkelstein, who was told during Christmas break last year that her contract would not be renewed. Also terminated was Paterson schools' assistant superintendent for finance, Mark Kramer, who is not being replaced. Finkelstein made $159,984 and Kramer was the district's second-highest paid employee at $175,000.
At the time Finkelstein and Kramer were given notice, the school district was under a spending freeze that the state imposed last September after officials in Trenton raised questions about city school finances. Officials declared the district solvent when the freeze was lifted in the spring, but there was no disclosure whether or nor the state found anything wrong with the district's finances during its review.
Since January, the school district's finances were handled by two interim business administrators whose contracts said they could be paid as much as $140,000 each for their eight months of work.
Details on how many people applied for the business administrator position and on exactly how Fredericks was chosen were not available last week. Evans announced her appointment at the August 3 Board of Education workshop meeting.
Fredericks is taking the business administrator position at a time when the future leadership of the district remains in doubt. State-appointed schools superintendent Donnie Evans' contract expires next year and the New Jersey Department of Education has until September 1 to let him know whether his contract will be renewed.
Some Evans supporters fear he's in jeopardy of not getting rehired by the Christie administration, partly because he originally was appointed by former Democratic Go. Jon Corzine.
In the next several weeks, the school district also must finalize plans on what to do about art and music instruction in it elementary schools and how to spend an extra $27 million in state aid Paterson received as a result of a recent state Supreme Court ruling.
Budget cuts during the 2010-11 school year decimated art and music at the elementary levels, leaving many schools without any instruction in those areas. Evans has said the district would restore art and music instruction to every school, but he has not said whether the district would hire and music teachers or simply have regular classroom teachers handle it.