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Pascrell Announces $885K in Federal Education Awards for Clifton, Passaic

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) announced today that $885,172 in U.S. Department of Education School Climate Transformation Grants (SCTG) have been awarded to Clifton and Passaic City. The SCTG is a federal program designed to help make schools safer and improve mental health services for students and young adults. Specifically, $500,000 has been allocated to the Passaic Board of Education, with $385,172 going to Clifton Public Schools.

“Today’s students are our future. A safe, high-quality learning environment is essential to ensuring their success both in the classroom and beyond,” said Rep. Pascrell, a former history teacher and longtime champion of school safety measures. “Our school systems must provide a platform for students to not only learn but to feel comfortable and safe amongst their peers. This grant will go a long way toward establishing that platform and will play a critical role in our larger school safety initiative. I am proud to announce this federal investment in Passaic County students and will continue fighting to bring home more awards for our great schools.”

“This grant will help boost our initiative to increase inclusivity and positive behavioral output in our schools,” said Janina Kusielewicz, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Federally Funded Programs, Clifton Public Schools. “We have a track record of four schools already implementing these programs, with five more in the beginning stages of implementation. Over the next five years, we are aiming to have these programs implemented district-wide.”

“The United States Department of Education’s School Climate Transformation Grant provides a critical opportunity for our district to provide new initiatives, expand current programs, and improve services for over 14,000 students we educate every day,” said Passaic Superintendent of Schools Pablo Muñoz. “It is expected that this generous grant will have significant benefits for the students and families in the Passaic Public Schools community.  Specifically, this grant will allow us to continue our work building supportive learning environments for students, and to strengthen positive student-teacher and student-student relationships.  The funding will support an estimated 11,000 hours of professional development for over 1,000 employees, and support building the systems necessary to impact students’ social-emotional learning.  We are thankful to Congress and to the U.S. Department of Education for investing in our schools.” 

The SCTG provides funds to school districts that will be used to develop, enhance, or expand systems of support for implementing evidence-based, multi-tiered behavioral frameworks for improving behavioral outcomes and learning conditions for students.

Today’s grant announcement comes only days after Rep. Pascrell announced a $250,000 school safety grant for Paterson, the latest in his fight for increased school safety measures in New Jersey and throughout the nation. Shortly after the Stoneman High School tragedy, Pascrell and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-12) offered legislation to reinstate the Obama-era mental health background check for gun purchases that was rolled back by congressional Republicans and repealed by Donald Trump shortly after he entered office. Also in February 2018, Pascrell and Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL-07) reintroduced the Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act, which aims to combat gun violence through increased federal taxes on guns and ammunition and by closing tax and regulatory loopholes on some of the most popular and deadly firearms. He also helped secure $2.2 million in school safety grants for schools all throughout northern New Jersey last October.

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