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Local educators weigh in on both sides of charter schools bills including Mandarin

February 14, 2012
PRINCETON AREA: Local educators weigh in on both sides of charter schools bills
DATE POSTED: Monday, February 13, 2012 4:37 PM EST
By Charley Falkenburg, Staff Writer

Two controversial charter school reform bills are working their way to the full Assembly after the Assembly Education Committee approved them at a Feb. 2 hearing.

The first bill would require a public referendum before the establishment or expansion of new charter schools.

The other would increase charter school educational and financial accountability. It would address the fact that New Jersey charter school students do not represent the demographics of their sending districts and would include a provision that would sign up all district students in a charter school’s admission lottery.

Many public school districts support these bills, particularly the law requiring local approval for a new charter school. Under the current law, local communities have no say in the charter school approval process even though the schools are funded from public school budgets.

   Princeton schools spend almost $5 million annually on the Princeton Charter School. They would have to pay an additional $250,000 if a proposed Princeton International Academy Charter School, a Mandarin immersion school, is permitted to open in South Brunswick.

Princeton Board of Education president Rebecca Cox disagreed with making Princeton taxpayers fund these schools and said such schools should need the approval of the public they are affecting.

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