Thursday, October 4, 2012

State Denies Application for new Charter School in Hoboken

Hoboken Patch recently reports that: The Christie Administration has denied the application for a new science-based charter school in Hoboken, according to a press release from the New Jersey Department of Education.
A group of parents worked on the Da Vinci School application for about a year, making it through three rounds of the process before it was shot down by Governor Chris Christie Tuesday.
"All we can say is that we're disappointed," said Laura Siegel, one of the ten founding parents of the proposed school.
In two weeks, Siegel said, the Da Vinci board will get more information about why the charter was denied. Until then, she said, it's too soon to determine the next step.
Whether or not the team will continue to try to open a fourth charter school in Hoboken will depend on the feedback they receive, Siegel said. 
"We were surprised," Siegel said. But, she added, "we know it's an extremely competitive process."
Charter schools are public, but students are admitted by way of a lottery. The schools are run privately, and are—besides tests and other state wide requirements—independent from the local Board of Education.
In May, the Hoboken Board of Education opposed the creation of a new charter school, stating that it would not be in the best interest of the district's current students to add another charter.
The Christie administration approved two applications this round, according to the press release.
"We are deeply committed to ensuring that every student in New Jersey has access to a high-quality public school that is a good fit for them, and we strongly support charter schools as one public school option for underserved students," said Education Commissioner Chris Cerf in the press release. "By holding a high bar for any new school we approve, we are following through on our commitment to ensuring that we not only provide options for students, but that we provide high-quality options for students."
The New Jersey Department of Education approved the International Academy of Camden Charter School and the Philip's Academy Charter School in the Newark, East Orange, and Irvington districts.
In Hoboken, said Superintendent Dr. Mark Toback, the addition of another charter school would have been an "enormous strain on the district."
"At one time we did have a budget that could have supported that," Toback said, but now it would have been "really a devastating thing for the school district." The money it would have cost the Hoboken school district, Toback said, would have resulted in the elimination of multiple programs.
"I think the Department of Ed responded to the application in a reasonable manner," Toback said.
Although the future of Da Vinci is still uncertain, the proposed school will definitely not be opening in Hoboken in the fall of 2013.

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