Newark Public Schools Gets 25 New Teachers for Arts Education

Elliott Street School Dancers celebrate their presentation of the play HAMILTON! at the 2019 Board Reorganization meeting in April.
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NEWARK, NJ - Arts education in the Newark Public School District is getting a boost for the 2019-2020 school year.

The Newark Board of Education hired over 25 Visual and Performing Arts teachers. The positions include all four disciplines: drama, music, theater and visual arts. 

“We’re making sure that as we budget for the next fiscal year, that we have in every one of our schools, not only an art teacher but a music teacher,” León promised in June. “We understand that we have a lot of work in our classrooms to be a whole lot better.”

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Incomplete Lunch Applications Costs Newark Public Schools Millions Annually

NEWARK, NJ - Families who do not submit school lunch forms could be costing the Newark school district millions of dollars. 

National School Lunch Program forms gather family income data to determine if students qualify for free, reduced, or full-priced lunch. Eligibility for free and reduced-price lunch is used as a proxy to measure poverty. 

Lunch form completion is critical for school district meal programs and determining eligibility for state and federal funded programs. 

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Newark School Board May Consider Banning Disruptive Members of The Public From Board Meetings

File Photo of the Newark Board of Education members.
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NEWARK, NJ - The Newark Board of Education will consider temporarily banning disruptive members of the public from attending board meetings.

The idea and how this would be accomplished was discussed during a governance committee meeting earlier this month. It will be brought up before the full board for discussion, School Board Vice President Dawn Haynes said.

Those who are disruptive and prevent educational programs from going forward or business of the Board of Education from proceeding in an orderly fashion would receive a "ban letter," explained said Brenda Liss, the Newark school district's general counsel.  

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NEW CONTRACT TO RAISE NEWARK TEACHER SALARIES, END PERFORMANCE PAY

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Activists Denounce Proposal to Eliminate Public Advertising of Mayor's Executive Orders

Mayor Ras Baraka
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NEWARK, NJ - Local activists say accessing Mayor Ras Baraka’s executive orders would become more difficult should city council support a new measure

City council on Wednesday deferred voting on the first reading of an ordinance that would eliminate a municipal requirement to publicly advertise the mayor’s executive orders in newspapers. Executive orders usually dictate title changes or salary adjustments, but can also set policy, personnel appointments or committee placements. 

A Movement of the People (AMP), a grassroots group of Newarkers that advocates for affordable housing and transparency in decision-making, has been asking residents to call their council people and the mayor’s office to denounce the new measure. 

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Worker who allegedly ran drug ring in rec center recently released from prison

Updated Aug 5, 2019

Awaiting trial on federal drug charges, Rahim Jackson was on house arrest in his Green Brook home when authorities found his girlfriend’s shot and severely burned body in a field -- the result of a robbery attempt gone wrong.

The four men who were later charged with her murder wanted to rob and kidnap Jackson’s girlfriend in an attempt to get access to Jackson, who they thought was a “wealthy drug dealer,” court records show.

Jackson would eventually be sentenced to a decade in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute and posses heroin.

Two months after he was released from prison in 2017, Newark hired Jackson to work part-time at one of the city’s recreation centers.

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We didn’t run background checks on men we hired to work with kids, city says

Updated Aug 2, 2019

The Newark employees charged for their alleged roles in a 12-person drug trafficking ring run out of a recreation center should have undergone a criminal background check as required by city policy but “fell through the cracks,” officials said Friday.

Two of the three city workers accused of being embroiled in the gang-affiliated drug operation were previously convicted on drug charges similar to the ones they now face.

“We should have had a better screening process and had we had a better screening process, we probably would not have put them in the rec center,” Kecia Daniels, Newark’s deputy business administrator and previous personnel director told NJ Advance Media.

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Gang Used Newark Recreation Center to Store and Sell Drugs, Feds Say

Rotunda Recreation and Wellness Center on Clifton Avenue

NEWARK, NJ - Three city recreation department employees are among 12 people facing federal narcotics charges as part of an alleged drug trafficking ring that used a Newark recreation center to deliver and store their drugs.

Federal prosecutors say Edward Williams, 51, Rahim Jackson, 43, and Arthur Hardy, 41, conspired to distribute at least a kilogram or more of heroin out of the Rotunda Recreation and Wellness Center on Clifton Avenue. Williams was allegedly a member of the G-Shine set of the Bloods, according to the criminal complaint. 

“That somebody would use the cover of their job to do this, is a whole other level of disgust,” Mayor Ras Baraka said today during a press conference at city hall. 

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New Building Supply Company Moving Into The Ironbound Looking for Workers

A new building supply company slated to open on Doremus Avenue in Newark's Ironbound is looking to hire local residents.

Kuiken Brothers, one of the state’s leading suppliers of quality residential, plans to open a new distribution center at 500 Doremus Avenue by the end of summer.

"The economic outlook for Newark is strong, and we are committed to supporting continued growth in the City through not only the supply of building materials, but through our investment in people, and support and engagement with other local, Newark-based businesses," said Matthew D. Kuiken, the vice president of operations for Kuiken Brothers.

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Judge Extends Jumah's Probation for Home Confinement Violations

Mayor Ras Baraka stands with Linda Jumah in this file photo.
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NEWARK, NJ - A federal judge gave the wife of Newark Mayor Ras Baraka an additional year of probation after she admitted to violating the home confinement portion of a three-year sentence for filing a false income tax return. 

Linda Jumah, the co-founder of a political consulting firm that has worked on Baraka's campaign, said in federal court in Newark on Wednesday she violated certain conditions of home confinement by returning to her residence later than certain authorized outings allowed.

Jumah's attorney, Robert Stahl, and federal prosecutors agreed before the hearing to extend Jumah's probation by six months for the violations.

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