LOCAL CONTROL OF NEWARK PUBLIC SCHOOLS TO BE RESTORED BY THE 2017 SCHOOL YEAR
After more than two decades of state oversight, local control of Newark schools should be fully restored by the 2017-18 school year, according to a report released Monday by the Newark Education Success Board, the nine-member panel co-created by Gov. Chris Christie and Mayor Ras Baraka last year to help guide the transition back to local autonomy.
The group’s 45-page report, “Pathway to Local Control,” includes an assessment of district operations, and hundreds of recommendations for continued reform efforts it should implement leading to and immediately after the exchange of power to the locally elected school advisory board and its to-be-determined choice for superintendent.
In the lead-up to the 20th anniversary of the state’s takeover of the Newark public school system, the atmosphere in the city was tense. Students, parents and civic leaders regularly protested school leadership. Baraka often called for then-Superintendent Cami Anderson’s resignation, and when asked why he was reappointing her to the top position in the state-controlled district, Christie said, “I don’t care about the community criticism. We run the school district in Newark, not them.”
Just about a year later, all of that has changed. Now, an end is in sight, and everyone is agreeing on the resolution.
“This report is another giant step toward the day when the people of Newark regain control of our schools,” Baraka said in a statement. “During the coming months, my office, (Newark Public Schools) and the Board of Education will work together to plan the transition with input from the people of Newark, our students, parents, teachers, colleges and universities, business community and philanthropies.”