April 16, 2019
Dr. Lamont Repollet
New Jersey Department of Education
100 River View Plaza
P.O. Box 500
Trenton, NJ 08625
Dear Dr. Repollet,
I am writing on behalf of the Leadership Board and nearly 8,000 members of South Jersey Women for Progressive Change, representing urban, rural and suburban women from the seven counties in Southern New Jersey.
We are appalled and disappointed that children in Camden City are unable to receive a quality education, with neighborhood schools, adequate supplies and curriculum and safe and secure buildings. As a District controlled by the State of New Jersey, it is the State’s responsibility to ensure an equitable education for ALL New Jersey students.
The $27 million budget deficit is a result of the State’s mismanagement of the District and the continued lack of concern for children of color, who suffer disparities in our state that are among the highest in the nation.
The “solution” to this budget crisis is not the closing of three more neighborhood schools and the layoff of more than 300 teachers and staff. With the recent audit of Renaissance schools, and the unfair incentives offered by both charters and Renaissance schools, we urge you to develop a solution in conjunction with members of the community and affected parents. If school closings are required, neighborhood schools should not be targeted. It is imperative that Camden residents are able solidify their local control and have oversight over school administration, student outcomes and transparent practices and funding.
South Jersey Women for Progressive Change sees a high-quality and equal education as the best way to break the cycle of poverty and give Camden children a path to success. We urge you to take the following steps immediately to provide equitable education opportunities, which is mandated by our State’s Constitution:
Thank you for your attention to this critical matter that will impact the lives of thousands of children that need our support to grow and thrive as productive adults giving back to their community and our State.
Racial Justice Action Group
On behalf of the Leadership and Members of South Jersey Women for Progressive Change
This is the inspiring team, led by Camden Education Association President Keith Benson, that walked to Trenton logging #milesforequity to fight for Camden kids, who deserve an equitable education.