Outgoing Camden superintendent asks for five-figure reimbursements

On Friday, just before she walked out of the Camden School District administration office for the last time, outgoing superintendent Bessie LeFra Young made a phone call.

She called the district’s state fiscal monitor Michael Azzara, who was on vacation, asking for her check.

No, not the $62,000 buyout agreement the board signed off on. But the check for all the expenses she had filed.

Officials did not say how much she initially requested, but the district last week agreed to reimburse Young $6,000 for travel expenditures she incurred and neverfiled for during her five-year tenure.  The other expense claims are still being sorted through, Azzara said. Young has asked for a five-figure check for non-travel expenses.

As I’ve reported, Young faced intense criticism this year from state and city officials as well as community members for her long absences and the district’s lack of improvement in academic performance. She blamed her absences on a chronic illness. A former top administrator in the Philadelphia School District, Young had a year left in her contract, which paid her a $244,083 annual salary, when she decided to take early retirement.

Of the district's 26 schools, 23 are on the state's "priority" list of the 72 schools with the worst academic performance in New Jersey.

Deputy superintendent Reuben Mills was chosen last week to serve as interim superintendent. No word yet on how the transition to Mills is going.