Citing concerns about academic achievement, the Christie administration ordered two charter schools to close, and rejected two applications that would convert existing Camden district schools to charter schools.
The administration earlier this month also approved one new charter school; and renewed charters for 14 others, but placed half of those 14 on probation, largely due to lagging academic achievement.
The new school approved is Hudson Arts and Science Charter High School, which will open in 2016 to serve Jersey City and Kearny. It requires one more final approval before opening.
“The charter schools initiative represents an exciting opportunity for parents, teachers and others to use their collective creativity in designing new and innovative ways of helping children to reach high levels of academic achievement,” Commissioner of Education David Hespe wrote to Hudson Arts’ founder, Nihat Guvercin.
The two applications that were rejected were Camden Arts and MetEast High School, both small schools within the Camden city public school district that had sought to convert to charter schools.
Hespe informed Camden Arts that its application did not show the program could be effectively implemented.
Action on Renewal Applications In addition to acting on three new applications, the department took action on numerous applications for renewal.
A decision to renew a charter school for five years is made following “comprehensive review” of the school for its entire term, according to a letter to Central Jersey Arts Charter School in Plainfield, one of two schools ordered to close. The other that will close is Galloway Community Charter in Atlantic County.
Central Jersey Arts has operated for 10 years, during which time it was put on probation numerous times for fiscal, organizational and academic reasons. Its charter will expire June 30. “A major goal of the Department of Education is to ensure that all New Jersey charter schools are serving students with a high-quality public education,” Hespe wrote. He said the school’s academic performance is “dismal.”
Along with closures, however, there was good news for some charter schools whose charters were acted on affirmatively.
Seven schools’ charters were renewed: Camden Academy High School, Camden; Great Oaks, Newark; Passaic Arts and Science, Passaic; Millville Public Charter, Millville; People’s Prep, Newark ; University Heights, Newark; and Central Jersey College Prep, Somerset.
Seven charter schools were also renewed, but put on probation, largely for academic reasons and with prescribed steps for “turnaround.” Those schools are M.E.T.S., Jersey City; Roseville Community, Newark; Dr. Lena Edwards, Jersey City; Hope Academy, Asbury Park; John P. Holland, Paterson; Kingdom, Blackwood; and Lady Liberty, Newark.