Thursday, May 22, 2014

Newark: Is Cami A Crook?

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.... Bob Braun's Ledger
The Newark story continues to fascinate. Yesterday we reported and posted a video of the student sit-in ( to our last post: Newark Student Union Conducts a Sit-in at The Newark Public Schools Board's Budget Meeting and Cami Walks Out Again!). Today the union leader is saying Supt Cami Anderson will be gone (Is Cami Anderson Out in Newark? ). Today mayor elect Ras Baraka met with Christie..... Hmmmm!

Our pal in Newark pawed through the report of Cami malfeasance (I'm hoping for a perp walk.) and sent in this dispatch:
Kristin Towkanuik President of the Newark Student Union led a sit in at 2  Cedar Street administrative home of the Newark Public Schools. The students demanded to meet with State District Superintendent Cami Anderson and Acting Education Commissioner David Hespe. In less than twenty-four hours, both luminaries have agreed to the demands. What is going on here? The secret is Mayor-elect Ras Baraka spreading his magic dust over the city. Cami and David decided to meet with the students before their chutzpah gets out of hand.

State Senator Ronald Rice sent a letter to Hespe on behalf of the Joint Committee on the Public Schools respectfully requesting an investigation of Anderson's "handling of the administrative and fiscal affairs of the Newark Public Schools." I have been studying this document for hours and I will try to give you a cheat sheet on the information I have gleaned.

The projected deficit for the Newark Public Schools is $53 million. Where did all that money go? Cami gave out generous raises to her BFFs also known as assistant superintendents. They are all making $175,000 per annum. The Chief Talent Officer is only earning $173,975, but the School Business Administrator brings home $189,817. It seems like a lot of dough for shuffling e-mails, but they may have other hidden responsibilities.

Another significant concern is the potential for conflicts of interest in the awarding of contracts and the hiring of consultants. The crux of the matter is the sale of 18th Avenue School to the TEAM Charter Schools operated by KIPP Schools. Sir Walter Scott must have had a look at Cami's machinations when he penned, "Oh what a tangled web we weave."
Let it suffice for me to introduce a few key players. Former Education Commissioner Chris Cerf had previous professional business associations with Tim Carden who resurfaced as the President of Friends of TEAM Schools. The Friends are a 501(c)(3) that conveniently holds all the loans and leases for TEAM. Hannah Richman is the Director and Secretary for the Friends. In this capacity, she directs real estate, finance, acquisition and renovation for TEAM. The question as to Cami's previous professional relationships with this cast of characters is at the heart of the matter. To make matters worse, it is alleged that 18th Avenue School was sold at a below market price with an abbreviated bidding process.

If you guys have any further interest in the details of Cami's entanglements, I am prepared to spend a few more hours studying this document tomorrow night. I presume that it will take Hespe a substantial amount of time to sort through the data. Cami earned $247,500 and a bonus of $32,992 for this year so it is my guess she isn't going anywhere soon. Chris Christie and Tom Moran of The Star Ledger still love her even though she has managed to infuriate nearly everyone else.

A Newark Teacher

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You should be following the theft of New Jersey public employee pensions Christie has announced. Bridgegate, One Newark, and now this. and