- Associated Press - Thursday, April 3, 2014

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) - Camden school officials say they must lay off one-fifth of their staff as enrollment is dropping.

Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard (PAY’-mahn roo-HAN’-ih-fard) introduced a budget plan Wednesday calling for 575 jobs to be eliminated, including 400 layoffs before school starts in September.

He says declining federal funding and overspending have led to a projected $75 million deficit. The state government, which pays for most of the city’s school expenses, is calling for a flat subsidy for the coming school year.

Charter schools and school-choice programs have been expanding in a city that is among the most impoverished in the nation and enrollment has dropped by 1,000 students in the last five years.

Per-pupil spending in Camden this year is more than $27,000 - the second-highest in New Jersey.