Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd could have made a strong statement by boldly shaking up the membership of the city's Board of Education. Instead, she played another round of political musical chairs.
Redd did appoint one newcomer, Kathryn Ribay, a former science teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School. But she also reappointed two veteran school board members - Sara Davis and Martha Wilson.
Davis and Wilson have already served more than 10 years each, and held top leadership posts. They should be applauded for their commitment, but it's time for some new blood.
Redd has not publicly commented on the appointments. The trio will be sworn in Monday to three-year terms.
The board has nine members, who are responsible for setting policy for the district. Redd was given the authority to appoint school board members after the state's takeover of the city ended in January 2010.
During the seven-year state takeover, the board had three elected members, three members appointed by the mayor, and three appointed by the governor.
Of course, it's no easy task in a poor, struggling city like Camden to find qualified community members who are dedicated enough to serve on the board. In the past, the board has suffered with no-show members who were cited for excessive absenteeism.
Redd interviewed at least 15 candidates before making her appointments, several with impeccable credentials, according to board member Sean Brown.
At least one applicant who was not chosen had an Ivy League education.
Brown, appointed last year, lamented the lack of other new faces. "No one can say that the status quo is good for the Camden school system," he said.
Redd owes the public an explanation for her appointments. She should release the list of applicants, if there's nothing to hide.
The public also has a right to know why Redd missed the April 15 deadline to appoint the new board members.
Elected or appointed, the Camden school board has not had an impressive track record. Camden schools are ranked among the worst in the state and have an abysmal graduation rate.
But the challenge to improve Camden schools is neither Redd's nor the board's alone.
Qualified people must stand up to serve on the board, and when they do, they should be given a chance.