New Jersey Department of Education

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    Rich Vespucci
    Kathryn Forsyth, Director

For Release: July 19, 2004

Department of Education Receives 16 Charter School Applications

The New Jersey Department of Education today announced that it has received 16 new applications for charter schools. The applications are for prospective charter schools that would open in September 2005 or September 2006. Since the first round of applications was accepted in 1996, the Department of Education has received 238 applications.

The applications received this month will now undergo an extensive review by Department of Education staff and by Commissioner of Education William L. Librera, who is expected to announce the successful applicants in this round on or about January 15, 2005.

"I want to thank these new applicants for wanting to take on a very tough but very rewarding job – to successfully operate a school," said Governor James E. McGreevey. "Charter schools are a natural fit for New Jersey because they meet our state’s need for diversity and choice. They have proven their value in offering another opportunity for students and their families to succeed."

"We will begin immediately to review the new applications to determine whether they are for schools that will be able to provide students with opportunities to learn and succeed," Commissioner Librera said. "Each application represents a proposal for a new school, containing descriptions of its mission, curriculum, and staffing, as well as the operating budget it expects it will need.

"Governor McGreevey and the Department of Education maintain a strong commitment to charter schools as part of our shared efforts to provide every student with a quality education," Dr. Librera said.

The recently passed 2005 state budget includes approximately $5.2 million in additional aid for charter school education.

This September, 52 charter schools, including consolidated charter schools, are expected to open their doors to approximately 14,000 students. Another previously approved charter school has opted for a planning year and will open in September 2005. Many of New Jersey’s charter schools serve students who are at-risk or from low-income households, and some of them are located in affluent suburban communities.

A charter school is a public school that is given greater flexibility in curriculum and instruction. New Jersey’s charter school law establishes charter schools as places where education innovation, with fewer regulations, can be carried out for possible use of successful programs and practices in schools throughout the state.

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.

Attached is a list of the applicants announced today.