Newark Mayor Cory Booker kicks off first phase of $100M school reform
Published: Monday, November 01, 2010, 12:49 PM
By Jeanette Rundquist/The Star-Ledger
NEWARK — Newark Mayor Cory Booker, School Superintendent Clifford Janey and a host of other Newark leaders this morning kicked off a city-wide community engagement effort designed to start turning around the city’s schools, the first step in a $100 million makeover of the troubled school system.
Funded by a $100 million gift from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, which is to be matched through donations — Booker said pledges are up to $43 million and counting — the school reform initiative is aimed at turning around a school system that now has a dropout rate near 50 percent.
The first step will be an orchestrated campaign aimed at engaging the community, and reaching out to Newark parents and others to find out what is working in the schools and what is not. The campaign will involve volunteers and paid canvassers knocking on every door in the city; numerous public meetings; advertising and phone banks. Booker estimated the first step will cost more than $1 million.
A set of reform recommendations is expected to be done by January.