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Two Private Schools in Newark Ask Permission to Become Charters

Four other organizations also seeking state Department of Education’s expedited go-ahead for schools

Department of Education Building

Two more private schools are bidding to become public charter schools in the latest round of charter applications in New Jersey.

Six applications in all were submitted to the state Department of Education by Tuesday’s deadline in an expedited review process meant exclusively for established schools or organizations seeking to become new charter schools.

The two proposals both came out of Newark, where the Link School and Affirmation Academy are both seeking to convert to public charters able to accept public dollars instead of tuition.

If the charter applications are approved, LinkSchool would start serving fifth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students from Newark, Orange, East Orange and Irvington, according to the state. Affirmation Academy would serve only Newark students as an elementary school.

The new requests come on the heels of last summer’s first-ever state approval of a charter conversion, or the new Philips Academy Charter School in Newark. Formerly the independent St. Philips Academy, the school sought more financial stability in making the switch while also facing more public accountability.

The other four charter-conversion proposals are each linked to an existing organization:

  • Excellence Charter School, Camden – a K-9 school that would be part of the Mastery Charter School management network in Philadelphia. It would ultimately be a K-12 school or schools serving nearly 2,000 students.

  • Bridgeton Public Charter School in Bridgeton – a K-2 school that would grow to a K-5 school of 300 students. It would be replicating the Vineland Public Charter School.

  • Dream Academy Charter School in Newark – a K-8 school with more than 600 students. It would be affiliated with the Brick Academy Schools program in Newark, which is currently collaborating with two other schools in the city district.

  • College Achieve Central Charter School in Plainfield – a K-7 school that would grow to a K-12 school with more than 1,700 students. It would be part of the College Achieve Public Schools, a new charter management organization based in New Brunswick that is run by the former director of the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas.

As part of the expedited process for the conversion, preliminary approvals will be decided by February and the schools could open by next fall. The Christie administration has put more emphasis on picking established charter organizations, while approving fewer schools through the general application process.

Earlier this month, just three proposals out of more than 30 bids submitted through the general application process were given preliminary approval.

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