New Jersey Department of Education Commissioner Chris Cerf and Camden Mayor Dana Redd will host a joint town hall meeting in Camden Thursday to discuss the future of the city’s schools. The meeting is expected to be part of a series of meetings the Department of Education staff will host with the Camden community to discuss the next steps in the state takeover of the district.
The Camden community is invited to attend Thursday's meeting to share their thoughts on changes they would like to see in the city’s schools, what challenges they see for the future, and how the Department and community can work together to ensure Camden’s students are prepared for college and careers upon graduation.
If you go:
The Hotel Plaza, a longtime vacant shell of its previous life as bustling hotel on Cooper Street, was approved for demolition.
After many arguments for and against the razing of the historic hotel, the Camden Planning Board voted 3-2 to allow New York- based owners of the hotel, Cooper Plaza Associates, to tear down the Plaza.
"It became clear that the building is so far beyond repair and no one would invest to bring the building back," planning board chairman Rod Sadler said Friday morning. He voted in favor of the demolition.
Camden’s plan to grant a developer a 20-year tax abatement contract was put on hold Tuesday after some city council members raised questions on the financial impact on the city.
“I make decisions based on information I have,” said city councilman Brian Coleman, adding that he had not received requested information on the developer’s contract with HUD or an impact study.
Councilman Luis Lopez also joined Coleman in asking City Attorney Marc Riondino to provide impact studies on all existing and proposed Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreements.
City Councilwoman Deborah Person-Polk will not be seeking a second term this November. Taking her place on the ballot will be Arthur Barclay, a recent South Jersey Basketball Hall of Fame inductee and assistant basketball coach at Camden High School.
Neither Person-Polk nor Barclay could be reached for comment Monday evening.
Gov. Christie’s announcement of a state takeover of Camden schools has not scared off the three finalists for the Camden Superintendent job.
Former Philadelphia School Reform Commission member Heidi Ramirez, current Willingboro superintendent Ronald Taylor and Oakland school district administrator Denise Saddler are all vying for the job of turning around New Jersey’s worst performing school district and will be doing a “Meet and Greet” with the public tonight.
The Camden Board of Education's candidates will be considered by the state, Christie said Monday, but the board now will serve in only an advisory role and has no final say. Christie could add more names to the mix.
As we reported Sunday evening, Gov. Christie will be in Camden Monday to announce a state takeover of the Camden School District. Here are some excerpts of my interviews with some school board members following the our confirmation of the news.
As of Sunday evening only a few board members knew of the announcement and those who did hardly had details.
Gov. Christie's announcement Monday of his takeover of the Camden school district was met with support from a few board members but also with complete disagreement from others, including one board member who simply quit on the spot.
Here are two opposing views on the topic. First is board member Felicia Reyes-Morton's speech in which she expresses support for the governor's plan. Second, is board member Kathryn Ribay's resignation letter in which she expresses disappointment in the governor's decision.
Felicia Reyes-Morton :
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 administration officials briefed on the plan.