Camden superintendent candidates in town for interviews and meet and greets

Camden Board of Education members will be interviewing superintendent candidates all day Saturday to narrow down the field to three.

The remaining three candidates will be available for a meet and greet with the public Tuesday from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Octavius V. Catto Community School, 3100 Westfield Avenue in Camden.

The meet and greet will be followed by a “Question & Answer” session for previously submitted questions from 6 to 7 p.m. at the same location. There will be no questions asked from the floor.

Questions and comments may be emailed to by 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday. Or questions may also be dropped off at the Camden Board of Education Administration Building, 201 N. Front Street, 8th Floor, Room 820 by 3:00 p.m. on Monday.

As I mentioned in my story Friday, a $7.4 million tax levy was approved Thursday by the Board of School Estimates, the group charged with approving the city's contribution to the board's budget. That move put the final seal on the district's 2013-14 allocation from the city budget.

The board unanimously approved the $326.5 million operating budget last month. Yet, some board members, including the board finance chair, still seem to be confused by some of the budget allocations.

The state's new Regional Achievement Centers will cause a financial toll on the district because the district will have to bear an as yet undetermined cost for the RAC employees, school board finance chair Barbara Coscarello told me Thursday. School board member Sean Brown, who also serves on the Board of School Estimates, also mentioned the RAC's price tag as one of the challenges in shaping this year's budget.

However, state Department of Education officials told me Friday that the state is paying for the 12 RAC employees based in Camden. A price tag for the dozen employees and the support services they provide was not immediately available Friday.

There are state required positions for “Turnaround Schools,” which are the schools that the seven regional RACs throughout the state are working to improve. The required positions, which in Camden equal to about 88, are paid by the district with the help of federal Title 1 funds, according to state education officials.

But while those 88 positions are new to the pay roll, there are also 95 district positions that will be eliminated next year. Some of the employees in the to-be-eliminated positions could transfer to one of the newly required turnaround positions.