New Camden School Board members sought

Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd, who has been very critical of the school district in recent months, will soon have more control of the district’s destiny.

Redd is seeking applicants to fill three school board seats — which means she will have appointed all nine members.

When the state takeover of Camden ended in January 2010, the power to pick all board members shifted to the mayor. Previously the governor and Camden's mayor each appointed three members. Three additional members were elected.

In her first year, Redd appointed Kathryn Blackshear, Sean Brown, Jason Gonzalez and Ray Lamboy to the board. Martha F. Wilson, Sara T. Davis, and Kathryn Ribay were appointed last year.

Gonzalez resigned in June, and Redd has left the seat empty since then. She previously said she wanted to replace Gonzalez with another Latino.

The three-year terms of current board president Susan Dunbar-Bey and board member Barbara Coscarello, both of whom were Gov. Corzine appointees, will be up next month. Coscarello sent a letter to the mayor a few weeks ago expressing her interest in being reappointed. Dunbar-Bey was not immediately available for comment Monday.

Redd asks interested applicants (must be city residents) to submit letter of interest and resume to mayor’s office (520 Market St., City Hall-Suite 400, Camden, NJ 08101) by end of business April 9.
It will be interesting to see whether Redd reappoints Dunbar-Bey, if she expresses interest. The board president has been the lone defender of Superintendent Bessie Lefra Young, who has received a lot of criticism from the community and Redd.

After reviewing the district’s poor state evaluation and another round of failing test scores this year, the mayor said Young and her team have left “much to be desired.”

The school board reorganization meeting is scheduled for May 16.