Volunteers spruce up Camden schools before the academic year starts

"This is a true commitment to our traditional public schools."

Mike DeNardo
August 22, 2018 - 1:48 pm
Crews spruce up Camden schools.

Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio

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CAMDEN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — City officials and volunteers fanned out across Camden on Wednesday, sprucing up school buildings for the Sept. 6 start of class.

Outside of the Camden Promise Academy, crews with weed whackers trimmed the overgrown grass, and bulldozers cleared debris from lots nearby. 

Camden Mayor Frank Moran pitched in.

"We've made strides over the last seven, eight years," Moran said. "And this is a true commitment to our traditional public schools."

More than half of Camden's 15,000 students attend charters. Acting Superintendent Katrina McCombs says the cleanup is a message that every child matters.

"Our Renaissance schools, our charter schools, they may have access to private funding, McCombs said, "but that doesn't mean that students in the traditional public schools should not experience the same wonderful facilities and rich environments."

McCombs is a lifelong Camden educator, and was appointed as acting chief of the school district to replace Paymon Rouhanifard, who left in June.

She says Camden's high school graduation rate is improving — it's up to 66 percent — but that it still isn't where it needs to be.