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New Jersey Takes Over Troubled Camden Schools

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John Ostapkovich John Ostapkovich
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By John Ostapkovich

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — New Jersey Governor Chris Christie doesn’t call it a takeover, but the state will soon take a firmer hand in running Camden schools.

Christie made the announcement Monday at the city’s Woodrow Wilson High School.

The governor says he came to this decision for a practical reason, a report in the summer of 2012 showed Camden schools going from bad to worse, and a moral one, that the current state of affairs is simply unacceptable.

“For decades, we’ve seen attempts at fixing what seems impossible to fix,” Christie said, “instead of it getting better, it’s very oftentimes gotten worse and each day that it gets worse we’re failing the children of Camden, we’re denying them a future, we’re not allowing them to reach their full potential.”

The governor estimates getting court approval will take six to eight weeks, after which the state will provide input on selection of a new superintendent, with reforms and personnel to be in place by the start of school in the fall.

Christie says this is less about the boatloads of state money (nearly $280 million per year) going into Camden schools, than about getting better results.

Camden becomes the fourth urban school district under state control, and the first in South Jersey. It’s the first takeover initiated by Governor Christie.

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