Newark School Superintendent Could Get Performance Bonus

NEWARK – State-appointed Superintendent of Schools Cami Anderson could be in line for performance bonuses of up to $50,000, according to NJ Spotlight’s John Mooney.

Both Newark’s Municipal Council and the school district’s local advisory board have given Anderson a vote of no-confidence, but Newark’s public school system was taken over by the state in 1995 and State Education Commissioner Chris Cerf appears to be satisfied with her job performance.

“I think [Anderson] is doing an outstanding job,” Cerf said in an interview last week. “In every respect, she’s doing outstanding work.”

That assessment seems at odds with Cerf’s overall evaluation of the Newark public school system. Earlier this month, a state appellate court affirmed the commissioner’s discretion to determine whether the district “has successfully implemented an improvement plan and made sufficient progress in achieving the relevant quality performance indicators.”

The court ruled that although Newark had reached certain benchmarks established by state legislation, there had not been enough sustained improvement to return control to local school board. (Newark’s advisory school board is expected to regain control over its fiscal operations as soon as this summer, but the city will still not have full local control of its schools.)

Anderson supported a school budget that cut spending by over $50 million – with some schools seeing cuts of up to 15 percent – which was necessary because Gov. Chris Christie’s state budget did not fully fund state school aid. The cuts inspired student walkouts in April.

“Newark residents realize their public schools are being hollowed out from within. Instead of working to improve public education, the Christie Administration is pushing a pro-charter, pro-voucher agenda that will be great for some people’s pocketbooks but totally inadequate to meet the needs of students,” said Rob Duffey of New Jersey Working Families Alliance. “[I]f school performance is lagging, how can they possibly justify giving the person they charged with improving it a massive bonus?”

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