By Jessica Mazzola, NJ Advance Media for

NEWARK — Complete local control of the Newark schools should be fully restored by the 2017-18 school year, according to a report released Monday afternoon by the Newark Education Success Board — the 9-member panel co-created by Gov. Chris Christie and Mayor Ras Baraka last year to help guide the transition back to local control.

The group’s 45-page report, “Pathway to Local Control,” includes an assessment of the district’s current operations, and hundreds of recommendations for continued reform efforts it should implement in the lead up to, and immediately after, the state hands over the reigns to the locally-elected school advisory board and its to-be-determined choice for a superintendent.

In the lead up to the 20th anniversary of the state’s takeover of the Newark public school system, the atmosphere in the city was tense. Students, parents, and civic leaders regularly protested school leadership. Baraka often called for then-Superintendent Cami Anderson’s resignation, and when asked why he was reappointing her to the top position in the state-controlled district, Christie said, “I don’t care about the community criticism. We run the school district in Newark, not them.”

Just about a year later, all of that has changed. Now, an end is in sight, and everyone is agreeing on it.


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