Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Camden High a worthy investment

State promises to spend $50 million

Gov. Christie's promise to spend $50 million to upgrade Camden High School is too little, too late for some critics. Others believe more spending on the place is a waste.

But I see the magnificent landmark -- and the 800 students who go to class there -- as well worth the investment.

A beloved and enduring institution in a city where many such community anchors have moved away or shut their doors, 'The High' (the nickname favored by recent grads) was constructed at the crest of Park Boulevard in 1918. Additions were built in 1959 and 1970.

Even I can do the math: The newest portion of the 'Castle on the Hill' (as it's known among old-schoolers) will turn 45 next year.  Surely suburban schools with the wherewithal to renovate or at least spruce up buildings of that vintage are doing so; why should public school students who happen to have Camden zip codes be denied the same sort of improvements to their educational surroundings?

The conservative blogger Matt Rooney, who's a friend, takes what I find to be a rather, shall we say,  harsh tone about the $50 mil. His selection of a photo of a toilet -- as in money being flushed away --  to illustrate his Save Jersey blog post was so not constructive.

When I messaged the Haddon Heights attorney about the matter, he doubled down.

"We already spend over $20k per kid in Camden, K-12. Anyone who thinks more money is the answer is either (1) willfully blind or (2) stupid. If I had a kid there...I wouldn't want it to be a toilet. So I'd vote for better politicians and advocate for vouchers to get them out.  Again, I don't know how ANYONE can argue with that."

I can, and do: Camden kids deserve a high school with facilities on par with those elsewhere -- now, not in some future New Jersey with higher-caliber politicos. And Trenton, which has taken over the Camden school district, ought to get the job done soonerr rather than later.