In Takeover, Christie Aims To Fix Camden Schools - KMSP-TV

In Takeover, Christie Aims To Fix 'Broken System' Of Camden Schools

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Camden Mayor Dana Redd during Monday's news conference regarding Camden's schools. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Camden Mayor Dana Redd during Monday's news conference regarding Camden's schools.
A protesters speaks out against the state's plan to take over Camden schools. A protesters speaks out against the state's plan to take over Camden schools.
CAMDEN, N.J. -

Gov. Chris Christie on Monday moved forward with a major overhaul of what his administration called the "persistent failure to deliver results" of Camden city schools.

During a Monday news conference, the governor outlined the details of a government takeover of the city's school district that he said will include the leadership of the city, education advocates across the state and members of both political parties.

The Christie administration says the steps in taking over the district were put into place Monday. The plan to intervene in the district will still need full approval.

"While there are some great teachers and educators in Camden, the system itself has proven undeniably to be broken and incapable of change on its own," Christie said in a statement.

Once approved, the Christie administration says it will work with a new "reform-oriented, state appointed superintendent and leadership team" to assume direct oversight and operational control in the school district. The plan will produce a new educational platform, a leadership team and will work to create accountability and results, the administration said.

"We have a moral and legal obligation to make sure that all of our students are on track to graduate from high school ready for college and a career, and today we are acting to make that a reality on behalf of Camden's children," Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf said in a statement.

Cerf went on to call the plan a "tremendous opportunity" to work with the Camden community.

Local education advocates tell FOX 29 they have not yet been approached regarding the takeover.

LaVerne Harvey, president of the Camden Education Association, told FOX 29's Stephanie Esposito that he had questions about what the state wants to achieve.

According to the Christie administration, the problem with Camden schools is not due to a lack of funding. The state says Camden spent well above the statewide average of per student costs but still remains at the bottom of performance across the state.

The governor expects the legal process to approve his plan to take between four to six weeks. The governor says he doesn't expect any major changes to take place until the fall.

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