CAMDEN, N.J. – The Camden, New Jersey school district has been a mess for years, despite a 14-to-1 student to teacher ratio and spending over $26,000 per student every year.

The district’s graduation rate is under 50%. ABC News recently reported only three Camden students who took the S.A.T. test last year scored as “college ready.”

Twenty-five percent of 3rd graders were proficient in Language Arts Literacy – which is the fancy bureaucratic way of saying reading and writing.

This all shows something is not working in Camden.

EAGnews recently analyzed the district’s 2012-13 spending. One of many things that stuck out: nearly $24,000 was spent at bowling alleys and skating rinks.

One might assume the district is paying for field trips and that could be justified in many people’s minds.

gutter-ball-picWhen we asked why the district spent money this way, in particular at a bowling alley, the district’s response? “Improve hand eye coordination.”

And why take students ice skating? They said to “expand muscle coordination, balance and rhythm.”

Really? Have they never heard of a good ole fashioned game of kick ball on the playground? Or playing catch with a football? Do they have gym classes?

It seems that muscle coordination will be improved naturally by, oh I don’t know – walking! – and the district would be better off focusing on student achievement. Or are they content with a 50% graduation rate and 75% of 3rd graders being behind in reading and writing?

Camden’s not the only New Jersey district with silly excuses for wasteful spending.

Trenton’s reasons for taking students to a Build a Bear workshop?

“Observe similarities and differences in the needs of living things” to “naming the body parts of a bear.”

Trenton has a 48.4% graduation rate.

These are the sorts of inexcusable expenditures that must stop, particularly in light of poor academic performance.

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