Camden superintendent agrees to retire
CAMDEN, N.J. - May 15, 2012 (WPVI) -- The superintendent of schools in Camden has agreed to retire on June 30th.
The Camden Board of Education met Tuesday night and and accepted the retirement offer.
There was much dissatisfaction with Bessie Young, who has presided over the 16,000 student school district for four years.
Among the reasons for her sought after retirement were reportedly low academic assessments and notable absenteeism. Not by students, but by the superintendent.
As superintendent, Young earned $244,000 a year. She came from the Philadelphia district in 2007 amid great expectations.
But after more than four years under Young's direction, the district continued to get dismal assessments from the state.
Complicating matters, Young reportedly suffers from a chronic health problem, causing her to be absent 186 days in the last 18 months.
Camden's Mayor Dana Redd signaled its time for a change at the top of district.
"I've made it very plain, and I've been a vocal critic. I'm not pleased with the leadership. We need new leadership to help us to lead this district and help us get it back on track," said Redd.
News of Young's possible departure was not a big issue for parents we talked to Tuesday, who graded the quality of education in Camden.
"I'm not complaining at all. Coming from Puerto Rico, the grade is real good, actually. I'm happy with the teachers, the principal and the program," said Manuel Quinones.
"I can only speak from experience and I would rate the schools right now a 'D' or below because they are not accommodating a lot of kids with disabilities. Even the principals don't have knowledge of certain things they can do," said Natasha Johnson.
We reached out to the superintendent for comment and we did not hear from her.
A buyout of the last year of her contract was valued at only $62,000 a year, the maximum allowed under New Jersey law.
We do understand she has made a request for some additional monies to cover various expenses she incurred over the last four years in Camden.
new jersey, school, camden, local/state, john rawlins
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