New Jersey school administrator claims he’s been passed over for a promotion 45 times because he is white

A New Jersey school administrator is suing the Paterson school district for alleged racial discrimination.

Thomas F. Franco, 58, filed a lawsuit last month, claiming he has been overlooked for a promotion 45 times because he is white. Franco was hired as a guidance counselor at Paterson’s International High School in 2016 and earns an $82,500 salary, the New York Post reports.

Thomas F. Franco, LinkedIn

According to the school’s mission statement, it provides “a safe and challenging environment that fosters diversity, academic excellence, a spirit of imaginative and independent thinking.”

Franco says he’s applied for more than 45 positions within Paterson Public Schools, but so far, he’s been granted just one interview.

“Nearly all administrative level positions within the PPS [Paterson Public Schools], greater than 95%, are held by Black and Hispanic individuals,” the lawsuit, filed in Passaic Superior Court, states.

“Most of the people” who were hired for the positions, Franco says, were “less experienced” than he and lacked his academic credentials.

Franco served as an interim administrator in 2016 and has the necessary state certificates required for the principal and vice principal positions he sought, according to his lawyer, Evan Goldman.

“While I applaud the fact that the district employs many minorities to serve its mostly minority student population, at the same time the district should not prevent highly qualified individuals who may be a non-minority, from being promoted,” Goldman told The Post. “Mr. Franco’s potential promotion will only serve to enhance all of the students’ experiences in the district.”

Franco holds multiple degrees, his LinkedIn page reveals, including a bachelor’s degree in biology and psychology from Rutgers University and two master’s degrees from St. Peter’s University and Rutgers.

“Throughout the course of Mr. Franco’s employment with PPS, he has always received performance evaluations rating him either ‘highly effective’ or ‘effective,'” the lawsuit states. But the district “does not provide the same opportunities for advancement to White applicants as it does to minority candidates.”

“Franco has a wealth of experience in administrative roles prior to joining the PPS. He is certified as director, supervisor, principal, and school administrator,” the suit notes, according to the Daily Mail.

The slighted administrator is seeking back and future pay that he would have received had he landed an administrative position. Paterson Public Schools is the third largest school district in New Jersey.

“Our mission is to successfully prepare all children for college and career,” it declares on its Twitter profile.

Ironically, the post currently pinned at the top of the district’s Twitter page is an advertisement for a job fair.

According to, in the Paterson Public School District 95% of the student body is Hispanic, compared to the New Jersey public school average of 59%.

The PPS is comprised of 50 public schools serving 23,356 students who rank well below the state’s other students with respect to academic proficiency.

“This district’s average testing ranking is 1/10, which is in the bottom 50% of public schools in New Jersey,” the Review website reports. “Public Schools in Paterson Public School District have an average math proficiency score of 6% (versus the New Jersey public school average of 25%), and reading proficiency score of 27% (versus the 47% statewide average).”


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