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    Tom Rosenthal
    Richard Vespucci
    Jon Zlock

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For Release: December 9, 2002


Accomplishments of the New Jersey Department of Education 2002

Camden Public Schools Fiscal and Education Intervention

On July 16, 2002, Education Commissioner William L. Librera made public the report of findings and recommendations prepared by the Camden Public Schools Fiscal and Education Intervention Team.

To assist the district in planning and implementing the action plan outlined in the report, a commitment was made by the department to keep the Fiscal and Education Intervention Team in place for the entire 2002-03 school year.

Here is a summation of the successes and accomplishments achieved by Camden School District and Department of Education officials:

Outcomes to date designed to increase accountability and achieve greater administrative and operational efficiencies:

  • Averted a $14 million projected deficit in the local school budget for the 2001-02 school year.
  • Closed a $46 million gap in revenues versus appropriations through the construction of the budget, resulting in an approved balanced budget of $285 million adopted for the 2002-03 school year.
  • Improved accountability for extra compensation, resulting in a budget reduction of $1.7 million.
  • Developed process for budget development.
  • Established practices for controlling costs, such as payment of extra compensation, alternative schools, and scope of work for developer contracts.
  • Completed review of all certificated school personnel (1,780) to verify certifications and teaching assignments.
  • Identified and removed from payroll several staff on extended leave with pay, resulting in a savings of $172,000 in salaries and benefits.
  • Developed a plan for more focused, coordinated and accountable use of grant funds.
  • Reduced district’s exposure to developer fees through analysis of billing practices, resulting in $78,000 in reduced fees.
  • Implemented a district quarterly reporting process to measure progress made in addressing deficiencies in fiscal, administrative operations as outlined in the report.
  • Improved structure of agenda items to be considered by Board of Education.

Assisted the district with implementation of the following activities:

  • Development of District goals and priorities for the 2003-04 school year.
  • Installation of Electronic data collection system software for budget development.
  • Consolidation of the Office of Grants and Federal Staff into a single office.
  • Determined the optimal staffing complement to reduce overstaffing in the district and a revised Table of Organization.
  • Established a review process for procurement of services.

Strategic Initiatives planned include, but are not limited to:

  • Planning is underway to establish a Renaissance School zone in the district, to link new school construction with efforts to build and restore the community.
  • Planning is underway to implement a professional development leadership program for principals and administrators which include two career tracks—MPA program with a concentration in educational policy and leadership, and a leadership training academy in partnership with Rutgers University, Camden, The Princeton Center for Leadership Training and the New York based Leadership Transformation Group.
  • This partnership will provide the district with a unique opportunity to begin to develop leadership capacity in-house and engage in succession planning as well as potential to establish the first Urban Education Leadership Academy in the state designed for principals and administrators