Saturday, November 28, 2015

Archive: May, 2012

POSTED: Thursday, May 17, 2012, 7:48 AM

In case you missed it, the Camden School Board accepted Tuesday the resignation and buyout of Superintendent Bessie LeFra Young. Read HERE

Young will remain as the district leader until June 30. No word yet on who will serve as interim, though her deputy superintendent Reuben Mills told me at Wednesday's board meeting he does plan to stay. Also planning to stay is assistant superintendent Andrea Gonzalez-Kirwin. All three arrived in 2007.

The new school board, which assembled itself at Wednesday's reorganization meeting, will have the great task of putting a superintendent search process in place and selecting a new leader, while juggling all the changes coming to the district. The most notable of the changes being the "Renaissance School" projects and the new Regional Achievement Center. More on that HERE and HERE.

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POSTED: Saturday, May 12, 2012, 9:12 PM

The Camden City Board of Education is set to vote Tuesday on a buyout package for Superintendent Bessie LaFra Young, who has drawn sharp criticism for having called out sick for the equivalent of more than a school year of time since being hired five years ago.

Young, a former top administrator in the Philadelphia school district who has a year left in her current contract, will be stepping down June 30 from her $244,083 job at the helm of the long-struggling district, two people familiar with the negotiations told The Inquirer.

Following the terms of her contract, Young would receive three months’ pay, totaling about $62,000, if the agreement is accepted by the board and then by state Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf.

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POSTED: Friday, May 11, 2012, 10:39 AM

In case you missed it, my colleague Matt Katz and I wrote a story yesterday on a State Commission of Investigation report that claimed New Jersey taxpayers pick up the tab for millions of dollars a year in salaries and benefits for government employees on leave to do union business.

The commission found that in Camden, $2.3 million had been spent over five years to pay the salaries and benefits for three police officers and three firefighters engaged in union business full-time. Union representatives from the departments complained the report was misleading because there were only two officers working for each union at any given time. (The state counted three, officials said, because there was a change in union leadership for both departments between 2008 and 2009.)

Camden firefighters union president Kenneth Chambers also said that, given the personnel issues the department currently faces, there needs to be a full-time union president.

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POSTED: Friday, May 11, 2012, 6:08 PM

The Ronald McDonald House of Southern New Jersey, located in Camden, will celebrate Mother’s Day early with the presentation of gift bags full of pampering products.

On Saturday, the Lauren Rose Albert Foundation – a Cherry Hill-based nonprofit that helps mothers achieve economically and educationally --  will give gift bags to the 23 mothers currently living at the Ronald McDonald House with their seriously ill children. The gift bags, which are collected through the foundation’s Mothers Matter program, contain an assortment of items, including shampoo, conditioner, a loofah, body lotion, and makeup.

The families currently staying in the Camden house and seeking treatment in area hospitals are from all over the world. There are several local families but there are also people from Michigan, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Jordan, Trinidad, and Ecuador, according to a spokeswoman.

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POSTED: Thursday, May 10, 2012, 8:36 PM

Based in one of the hungriest cities in the nation, Campbell Soup Company is coordinating the 20th annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive.

The event, considered the country’s largest single-day food drive, is expected to collect more than 70 million pounds of food on Saturday.  More than 210,000 letter carriers nationwide will pick up non-perishable food left by mailboxes the day of the drive and deliver it to local food banks. The National Association of Letter Carriers is co-sponsoring the event.

Mailers went out this week promoting the drive and are likely sitting in your mailbox, if you haven't already picked it up. I got mine yesterday.  

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POSTED: Tuesday, May 1, 2012, 2:17 PM

In an effort to fight childhood obesity and promote healthy living, the Camden City School District is hosting its first Let’s Move Gala on Wednesday evening.

The idea came from First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to put children on a path to a healthy future, said Sharon Shields, Camden school district manager for Youth Services Program.

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About this blog

Allison Steele writes about Camden’s schools, government and businesses. Most importantly, she writes about the city’s residents. She is a former crime reporter who covered the Camden and Philadelphia police departments for the Inquirer. A Philly native, she has been with the Inquirer since 2008.

Send comments, tips and story ideas to, call 856-779-3876, or reach out on Twitter @AESteele.

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