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Christie Administration Announces Approval of New Charter Schools and Expansion Requests

Authorized Charter School Seats Now Exceed 50,000

For Immediate Release
Contact: Michael Yaple
David Saenz
Date: February 29, 2016
609-292-1126

Trenton, NJ – The New Jersey Department of Education today approved three new charter school applications, 16 expansion requests, and 19 applications for renewal.

The three applications for new charter schools, which were submitted during the Department's October application round, were each granted with a planning year, to open in 2017-2018.

The Department also approved 16 charter school expansion requests.  Seven were approved during the renewal process that each charter school undergoes every five years, and the remaining nine were approved through an amendment to their charter that allows the school to expand outside of the renewal process.

Additionally, all 19 charter schools that were up for renewal in the 2015-2016 school year and that planned to continue to operate in the 2016-2017 school year were reauthorized for an additional five-year period.

With these approvals, along with previously approved enrollment increases, there will be a total of 50,328 authorized charter school seats available to students in New Jersey in the 2016-2017 school year. 

"For years, this Administration has been committed to aggressively expanding opportunities for parents to choose a school that is best for their child, and today's announcement continues that commitment," said Education Commissioner David C. Hespe. "We have a moral and ethical duty to ensure that all students have access to a high-quality school. Expanding the number charter schools and seats available ensures that students and parents, especially in our academically struggling districts, have more options to achieve success."

In order for the Department of Education to approve a charter school, a charter school applicant team must meet the Department's rigorous multi-stage approval process. After receiving initial application approval, the Department conducts a preparedness visit and reviews the school's academic, fiscal and operational components to ensure that the charter school applicant has the capacity to provide a high-quality educational program from the first day of school. New charter school approvals are for four years, and renewals thereafter are for five years.

There are currently 89 charter schools in New Jersey.  Since 2010, 39 new charter schools have opened and the Department has closed 17 due to academic, operational or financial deficiencies.

New Charter School Applications

Charter School
(approved with a planning year)
District(s) Year 1 Grades
(Enrollment Projection)
Union Arts and Science CS Elizabeth/Linden K-2
(240 students)
LEAD Academy Charter School Newark 9-12
(92 students)
Achieve Community Charter chool Newark K-4
(760 students)

Expansion Decisions (Renewal Process)

School Name Year Opened District 15-16 Grades Max ENR w/ Expansion
(at-scale)
BelovED Community CS 2012 Jersey City K-5 1320
Bergen Arts and Science CS 2007 Garfield, Hackensack, Lodi K-12 1440
North Star Academy CS 1997 Newark K-12 6550
Robert Treat Academy CS 1997 Newark K-8 860
Soaring Heights CS 1997 Jersey City K-8 500
TEAM Academy CS 2002 Newark K-12 7920
Thomas Edison Energy Smart CS 2012 Franklin Twp, North Brunswick, South Brunswick K-6 584

Expansion Decisions (Amendment Process)

School Name Year Opened District 15-16 Grades Max ENR w/ Expansion
(at-scale)
Academy for Urban Leadership 2010 Perth Amboy 9-12 600
Englewood on the Palisades CS 1998 Englewood K-5 252
Great Oaks CS 2011 Newark 6-11 939
Maria L. Varisco Rogers CS 1999 Newark K-8 540
Millville Public CS 2011 Millville K-6 447
New Horizons 1999 Newark K-5 672
Teaneck Community CS 1998 Teaneck K-8 320
University Heights CS 2006 Newark K-8 1050
Vineland Public CS 2009 Vineland K-8 446

Updated - July 13, 2016