George E. Norcross III does not lose often.Nor does he lose easily: When Camden’s school board recently rebuffed a Norcross-backed bid to bring a Hope Act school to the city, the de facto leader of South Jersey Democrats quickly renewed the push for his goal.[...]Norcross declined to comment on specifics of the vote or his plans to revive the proposal, though he did express frustration and disappointment at the 4-4 vote he thought he would win.With the Urban Hope Act, powerful figures in local and state government advanced Norcross’ vision for a five-school complex near Cooper and the new medical school. The venture would be operated through an alliance of charitable foundations for Cooper and the Norcross family, and by KIPP, a national charter school operator.
But the BOE’s tally was 4-4, with one abstention, meaning the proposal failed. The other three proposals were spurned unanimously, with an abstention on each.
The [Camden Mayor] Redd administration, which did not comment for this story, had embarrassingly miscounted.
Well, Norcross didn't take this lying down, and used his muscle to force another vote in November of 2012. What did the four who initially rejected the Cooper/Norcross/KIPP bid decide to do this time?Voting against the Cooper/Norcross/KIPP bid were Sara Davis, Sean Brown, Kathryn Ribay and Brian Turner. [emphasis mine]
So Davis was consistent and voted no, Turner was conveniently absent, and Lamboy abstained again. But Ribay and Brown changed their votes. I'm sure they were rewarded for this, right?
Translation: there's no room for dissension in Camden. Split votes and contrasting opinions may be fine for the 'burbs, but everyone had better be on the same page in Camden - or else.
Saw the writing on the wall, didn't you?
See, the last thing anyone needs to do in Camden is stick his or her nose into a search for a superintendent. Just like in Jersey City, the appointment of the superintendent will be at the discretion of Education Commissioner Chris Cerf and Governor Christie; the last thing they want is a bunch of locals who insist on having a say and mucking up their plans.
And they certainly don't wanted an advisory board in open revolt like the one in Newark.
So anybody in Camden who isn't on board with the Norcross-KIPP-Christie-Cerf-Broad Foundation plan is given his walking papers. Even abstaining on a vote is considered a sign of disloyalty to the cult of KIPP and the South Jersey political machine.
Rest assured, Sara Davis: your days are numbered. But maybe you can take some cold comfort in the fact that you're not alone: all across the country, school boards are being taken over by the forces of reforminess. Sometimes they try to buy the race; in Camden, that's not necessary because the mayor controls all the school board appointments. But the outcome remains the same: those who voice even the slightest doubts about the privatization agenda are to be purged.
Resistance is futile...