CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — The decision to shut the doors of a Camden school has been overturned. Students at Veterans Memorial Family School figured that when they left for the summer, they would not be coming back, but Wednesday’s news was much celebrated by students and their parents.
There were feelings of joy and relief as parents learned Veterans Memorial Family School is staying open.
“I’m happy because it was hard looking for another school. My daughter loved this school. I went to this school,” Camden parent Takeela Reddick said.
Several months ago, the Camden School District announced that Vets School would close because there was no room in the budget for necessary maintenance on the 80-year-old school.
But on Wednesday morning, district officials announced they were able to secure about $17 million in emergency state aid after meeting with the New Jersey education commissioner on Tuesday.
“He did encourage the application and he also committed. There was a verbal conversation about it, there is no written documentation, of course, because it has to go through the process,” Camden Schools Superintendent Katrina McCombs said.
Six of the $17 million is specifically earmarked to keep Vets School staffed and running another year. The decision comes after the Camden Education Association marched from Camden to Trenton in April and met student protesters to fight to keep the school open.
“I was really just thrilled because of the efforts that a lot of the community and educators and civic groups around the city have been pouring out for the last few months and it showed that we can win one,” Camden Education Association President Keith Benson said.
Families say the biggest winners of all are the kids.
“I’m excited because I didn’t want to go to a new school and meet new students and different teachers because this school — Vets is my school,” fourth-grader Ceanaja Rivera said.
Officials say that while the school will remain open, the overall number of layoffs in the district remains the same — about 55.