The woman at the heart of this story doesn’t want me to use her name or her picture–or the names and pictures of her children. I can’t blame her for that. I don’t know anyone who wants to tell the world about her troubles, especially personal financial troubles. The story would have more impact if she were willing to provide identifying details and you could see a picture of her and her children, but I understand why she wishes not to do that. The woman, however, is real and I have spoken to her at length. If someone in authority wants to help her, I will tell that person how to reach her.
The state official running the Newark schools conceded at Tuesday night’s school board meeting that his predecessor–a woman he appointed–created a $63 million budget shortfall by relying on assumptions that “turned out not to be true.” Christopher Cerf, who named Cami Anderson to the Newark job four years ago, quickly added he didn’t believe she and her staff had deliberately lied about the budget or had done anything illegal.
The committee that is supposed to figure out how the state will give up control of the Newark schools after 20 years has scheduled its first public meeting Wednesday night (Sept. 23). The “Newark Educational Success Board” (NESB)– established in a deal between Gov. Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka–is supposed to find out what the community thinks but the committee has only met secretly since its creation in June. The members of the committee–five appointed by Christie, four appointed by Baraka (with Christie holding a veto over the mayor’s choices)–won’t even say how many times they’ve met secretly because they are under a gag order that forbids its members from making public statements. All questions must be directed to the mayor’s office and the mayor has a major political stake in the perception of its success.
Every morning I run at Warinanco Park in Elizabeth and I often listen to recorded books while I do. A few books, I listen to repeatedly and one of them is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.
Newark’s public schools face an unprecedented financial crisis because of an edict from the state-controlled administration ordering all principals to freeze spending at 25 percent of their current budgets.
A budget ax costing Newark’s children $15 million has fallen on the city’s public schools–but not its pampered charter schools. Christopher Cerf, the new state-imposed schools superintendent, had his underlings tell public school principals the bad news late Friday to avoid disrupting Cerf’s smiling charm offensive in the mainstream media.