On the same day that a movie based on the life of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg opens in theaters, he will announce a gift of $100 million to Newark schools. Zuckerberg and Newark Mayor Corey Booker are expected to announce the donation during Friday's Oprah Winfrey Show.
Richard Perez-Pena, who wrote about the story in The New York Times Thursday, says that the amount is a significant chunk for a district that has a budget of $800 million. "This is $100 million on top of that. It's really a very significant amount of money," he says. "It could go to just about any purpose. We don't know yet how it's going to be used. But it could accomplish quite a lot."
Newark resident Carse Lucas says Newark's schools can use the aid. "You got a lot of young people now pooling together to try to see if they can make a difference and now we actually see somebody that's actually giving them some kind of support," he says. "It's pretty cool that he's actually giving something back. Facebook is a real big thing right now, so as far as a social network, if he's feeling generous, we'll accept it."
As part of the deal, Booker will regain some control of the school system, which has been under state watch since 1995. But Gov. Chris Christie will preserve the right to retake control.
Zuckerberg grew up in Westchester County and has no particular connection to Newark. In July, he and Booker met at a conference and began talking about the city.
The film "The Social Network" -- which depicts the legal battle between Zuckerberg and the other Facebook founders for control of the company -- opens the New York Film Festival Friday.