'One Newark' violates state statutes, school board members say

By Naomi Nix | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on September 17, 2014

Several Newark school board members say they plan to seek legal action to halt the district's controversial reorganization plan.

 

NEWARK — Newark Public Schools controversial overhaul plan violates state statues governing the school district, a group of Newark school board members said.

Four Newark Public School Advisory Board members held a press conference on the steps of City Hall this evening to criticize One Newark, a reorganization plan that involves expanding charter schools, changing leadership in existing schools and relocating other schools.

The board members contend the plan violates district code 5111, which they say requires that a student be assigned to schools in their community unless an assistant superintendent approves another placement.

The group, including board members Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson, Donald Jackson, Marques-Aquil Lewis, Philip Seelinger and Ariagna Perello also said the One Newark plan violates district code 6156.

Under that code, the board members said, the district did not follow a requirement to plan instruction so that there is was minimum disruption to the school day, including movement between classes.

"Simply put the district must follow district policies," said board member Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson.

Baskerville-Richardson and her colleagues called for an end to One Newark, the ouster of Superintendent Cami Anderson and for the school board to have the power to control the school district.

Newark Public Schools has been under state control since 1995.

Statements from board members Khalil Sabu Rashidi and DeNiqua Matias echoing similar comments as their colleagues were read at the press conference.

The board members said the codes coincide with state statues, and they plan to seek legal action to stop the One Newark plan on the basis of the violations they described.

The board members said they could not provide a time frame for the legal action or provide more details.

The Star-Ledger has reached out to the school district for comment. This story will be updated when more information is available.

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