The president of the Newark Teachers Union has sent an e-mail to its membership predicting state-appointed schools superintendent Cami Anderson will soon leave ker position.
Joseph Del Grosso said he and other union officials met earlier this week both with Acting Education Commissioner David Hespe and legislative leaders. He said he came away from those meetings with this conclusion:
“It is my strong belief that based on the discussions I have had to this point, Cami Anderson will not be continuing as Superintendent of the Newark Public Schools.”
In a subsequent conversation with me, Del Gross said he believed Anderson’s departure is “imminent.”
Sources within the union leadership said Anderson’s contract–up at the end of June–would not be renewed and she would leave in a way that suggested her departure was voluntary. Those same sources indicated leadership could be passed over to a cooperative arrangement between a state official and a current high-ranking officer within the Newark Public Schools, with the most obvious candidate Roger Leon, currently an assistant schools superintendent.
None of this has been confirmed by either Anderson or Hespe.
It would not surprise me that Del Grosso’s email is part of an effort, both locally and at the state level, to pressure Anderson into leaving. It also is a difficult time for NTU members who are about to learn whether they will be laid off. Clearly, the message is designed to rally union members to stand behind a concerted effort to pressure Anderson into leaving.
This is the text of Del Grosso’s email to NTU members.
Over the past months, there have been numerous rumors of layoffs, school closings, and drastic cuts to the Newark Public Schools budget. In preparation for these events, the Newark Teachers Union requested a meeting with Acting Commissioner David Hespe, some six weeks ago. The meeting took place last Monday afternoon in Trenton. We went there prepared with information regarding the misdeeds and mismanagement of funds by Superintendent Cami Anderson. Acting Commissioner Hespe was very interested in the information that we provided, and says he intends to act on the information expeditiously. I have been made aware that he or his designees are already in Newark today. We also requested meetings with various Assemblymen and Senators, especially those on the Educational Legislative Committees. Senator Ronald Rice, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Public Schools, sent a detailed letter to Commissioner Hespe regarding what he perceives as the illegalities and malfeasance that have been taking place at the Newark Public Schools. Attached is a copy of that letter which is also going to the Attorney General and other law enforcement agencies. It is my strong belief that based on the discussions I have had to this point, Cami Anderson will not be continuing as Superintendent of the Newark Public Schools. I have many other meetings to attend with other stakeholders who are interested in making her departure a reality. I intend to fight for each and every member to retain their jobs and to restore positions such as attendance counselors, parent liaisons, teacher aides and clerks, as well as teachers to the positions that Newark so desperately needs. We will continue to engage and support likeminded community, parent, and student organizations in this battle to not only end the layoffs and school closings, but to restore Newark to full local control. Acting Commissioner Hespe has informed me that he intends to make a strong recommendation to the state board of education to return fiscal control to Newark’s Board of Education by July 1st. We must remain diligent in our fight to take back our schools and to restore order and a sense of learning to the educational community of Newark. I will keep you informed of any new information that develops from my meetings with the Commissioner and legislators as they transpire. Cami Anderson will be leaving. It is your efforts on Fight Back Fridays, our Mayoral Election efforts, Advisory Board meetings, and other initiatives that have made this possible. I am very proud of all of our members. In solidarity, Joe.