Cerf, a former New Jersey Education Commissioner, will help lay the groundwork to return the district to local governance by the end of the next school year.
The funds will go toward programs supporting "READ! by 4th," a citywide campaign to have all of the city's children reading at grade level by the time they enter the 4th grade.
The cash-strapped district had sought an extension from the state to make the payments, arguing that it could not do so in full without impacting the classrooms.
The annual convention of elementary and middle school principals in Long Beach, Calif., focuses on empowering principals to tackle key challenges of the job.
If the district is successful, they'll have to take the final step without outgoing Superintendent R. Stephen Green, who has steered the district from "the brink of state takeover."
Gov. Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced that after 20 years under state control, the city's public schools will return to local governance by the end of the next academic year.
After Gov. Sam Brownback approved changing to the state's per-pupil K-12 funding formula to a block-grant funding mechanism, some school districts headed to court to block the law.
This is the second year in a row that the Democratic governor has vetoed an attempt to fix the state's school transfer bill. He said the bill doesn't address the problems the law had created.
Tiffany Anderson, the superintendent in Jennings, Mo., appeared with other local leaders to talk frankly with the Democratic presidential candidate about racial and socioeconomic issues in their communities.
The district is strapped for cash, faces a $1.1 billion deficit, and may be unable to make its full $634 million pension payment due by the end of June.