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Contact: Faith Sarafin
For Release: August 17, 2000

Department of Education Receives 27 Charter School Applications

The Department of Education today announced its receipt of 27 new applications for charter schools in New Jersey. The applications will next undergo a rigorous review, including scrutiny by department staff and input from either local boards of education or superintendents of state-operated school districts. The annual process ends on or about January 15, 2001, when Commissioner of Education David C. Hespe will announce which charters he will approve from this round of applications.

"It is gratifying to see that the charter school movement is still strong in New Jersey," said Commissioner Hespe. "The fact that founders for 27 potential new charter schools are willing to invest time and resources in their dream of providing a choice for parents within the public education system is an encouraging response.

"Over the four years that charter schools have been approved, many potential founders have realized that the level of commitment needed to start a school is intensive," the Commissioner added.

Charter school panels will immediately begin to review the applications submitted. In addition, the applications will be reviewed by local boards of education that would be affected by the prospective charter school, as well as by the state superintendents in affected state-operated school districts.

The department may request additional information from the applicants in order to complete the review. In such instances, the local districts have 30 days to submit their comments on the addenda.

A total of 56 charter schools will be operating in September serving nearly 12,000 students during the 2000-2001 school year. The Commissioner of Education has the authority to grant a charter for a four-year period and to renew initial charters for a five-year period.