Sunday LeftoversMarch 24, 2013
Why Did NJ Take Over Camden’s Public Schools?March 26, 2013
From this morning’s Philadelphia Inquirer:
TRENTON – Gov. Christie plans to announce Monday that he is taking the extraordinary step of putting the educational and fiscal management of the Camden School District under state control, The Inquirer has learned.
As part of the takeover of what the state considers the worst-performing district in New Jersey, Christie will appoint a new superintendent and leadership team, shifting the school board to an advisory role, according to Christie administration officials briefed on the plan.
The Republican governor’s move nonetheless has support from at least a few school board members and key Democratic leaders in the South Jersey political establishment, some of whom are expected to join Christie at the takeover announcement Monday in the city, officials said.
Camden will become the fourth urban district under state control, after Paterson, Newark, and Jersey City. This is the first takeover initiated by Christie, who will add the severely challenged district to his education portfolio less than eight months before his reelection bid.
Though the news will likely be greeted with relief by those who believe the district is permanently broken, critics will cite the state’s previous – and largely unsuccessful – interventions in Camden schools, government, and law enforcement.
In an odd bit of timing, the takeover comes as Camden school board members were closing in on selecting a new superintendent. As recently as Saturday, they were interviewing candidates, and a meet-and-greet for the public with as many as three finalists was scheduled for Tuesday night, school board member Ray Lamboy said last week.
Lamboy, who served on the board subcommittee charged with finding a new superintendent, said he wasn’t sure what the board had spent on the search. Some of the candidates have been flown in, and a search firm has been hired.
That process will now be moot.