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Christie Administration Censures Another Batch of Charter Schools

State's latest move means nearly 25% of New Jersey's charters are on watch list.

Without much -- if any -- fanfare, the Christie administration yesterday said it has put another three charter schools on probation and issued warning letters to 11 others as it seeks to further raise standards for the alternative schools.

The decisions came after a statewide review of charter performance, an effort that is expected to culminate in new assessments for each school this summer.

There are more than 80 charter schools in New Jersey; the new list means that close to a quarter are now on some form of state watch. Ten charter schools had already been on probation.

"We take accountability seriously -- whether the school is a charter school or a district school -- and this is what accountability looks like," said Justin Barra, the department's chief policy and external affairs officer. "We expect that all schools on probation will address their deficiencies and improve. But if they don't, we will close the school and ensure that any option we offer to a New Jersey student is a high-quality one."

The following schools were placed on probation or notified of problems for a variety of academic, governance, and financial reasons, officials said.

New probation:

  • D.U.E. Season Charter School, Camden

  • Environment Community Opportunity Charter School, Camden

  • Galloway Community Charter School, Galloway

Warning letters:

  • Union County TEAMS Charter School, Plainfield

  • Burch Charter School of Excellence, Irvington

  • Dr. Lena Edwards Charter School, Jersey City

  • East Orange Community Charter School, East Orange

  • Great Oaks Charter School, Newark

  • Jersey City Charter School, Jersey City

  • John P. Holland Charter School, Paterson

  • Lady Liberty Charter School, Harrison

  • M.E.T.S. Charter School, Jersey City

  • Renaissance Regional Leadership Charter School, Browns Mills

  • Sussex County Charter School for Technology, Sparta

Meanwhile, the department also announced yesterday that it has advanced 13 of 34 applicants for the next round in the charter process, for schools opening in 2014. Among those not moving ahead is a virtual charter school proposed for Lakewood.

With decisions to be announced in September, those moving to the second phase:

  • Center Oak Charter School, Pemberton

  • Community Advancement Charter School, Camden

  • Creative Visions Charter School, region consisting of Glassboro, Pitman, Wenonah, West Deptford, East Greenwich, Harrison, Mantua, Deptford, and Washington Township

  • Great Futures Charter High School for the Health Sciences, Jersey City

  • International Academy of Trenton, Trenton/Ewing

  • Mathematical Innovation Generates Higher Technology (MIGHT) Leadership Charter School, Paterson

  • New Jersey Institute of Fashion and Technology Charter School, Newark

  • Ray Lesniak ESH Recovery Charter High School, Elizabeth / Roselle

  • Regional Pneuma Academy Charter School, Asbury Park / Neptune Township

  • Rivergate Academy Charter School, Bridgeton, Fairfield Township

  • Science, Business and Technology, Irvington

  • The District Charter School, Winslow/Chesilhurst

  • Trenton STEM-to-Civics Charter School, Trenton.

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