Friday, April 17, 2009

HoLa, Others, Contend for New State Charters

The following story was posted online on Tuesday, April 14, 2009 by KEN THORBOURNE of The Jersey Journal. 

A North Hudson Catholic school principal and a parent who proposed a dual-language program in Hoboken are among the 27 applicants to the state Department of Education who want to open charter schools in September 2010. With St. Joseph of the Palisades High School, in West New York, slated to close in June, principal Bruce A. Segall has applied for a charter to open the "Palisades Charter School," which would ultimately serve 400 students in West New York, North Bergen and Union City, according to a DOE release. Segall couldn't be reached to comment yesterday. But his current employer - the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark - gave the proposed charter thumbs down. "Closing a Catholic school in order to start a charter school is not something the diocese is in favor of at all," said Archdiocese spokesman James Goodness. "We don't want to have charter schools because charter schools are public schools." The Catholic high school is $400,000 in debt and the parish is $2 million in debt, most of which is related to operating the school, he said.

After working with the Hoboken Public School District for a year to start a dual-language program, parents Jennifer Hindman Sargent and Camille Korschun Bustillo walked away empty-handed in February when the school board shot down their proposal in a 4-3 vote. "We felt we needed to explore all the avenues before giving up," Hindman Sargent said yesterday about her DOE application. "The Hoboken Dual Language Charter School (Ho La)" would ultimately run from kindergarten to Grade 5 with 264 students, said Hindman Sargent, who holds a master's in education. Spanish would be spoken 90 percent of time in kindergarten and first grade and English would be phased in after that, she said.

State Commissioner of Education Lucille Davy plans to announce the results of the review of the new applications on or about Sept. 30.

No comments: