A year ago, more than 40 applications were filed to open charter schools in New Jersey this coming fall. Yesterday, the state announced that four are ready to go.
The state Department of Education released the names of four schools that will open in September, with one each in Plainfield, Atlantic City, Bridgeton and Jersey City.
"These charter school approvals directly align with the mission of the Department to ensure that all children, regardless of ZIP Code, receive a high-quality public education," said state Education Commissioner David Hespe.
The announcement was not unexpected, as all four received preliminary approval last fall. The required final sign-off is designed to make sure that the schools are ready to open, covering everything from occupancy permits to enrollment requirements.
The approvals continue the slow but steady growth in the charter movement in the state under Gov. Chris Christie.
The new approvals will bring to 89 the number of charter schools operating in New Jersey. Thirty-nine of them have been approve since Christie took office in 2010.
At the same time, the Christie administration has taken a tough approach on some existing charter schools, closing 17 of them in that same time span.The opening of the Plainfield school -- the College Achieve Central Charter School -- will be the first since the state closed another charter school in that city for low-performance.
Atlantic City, which has also had a checkered history with charter schools, will now see the opening of a new one aligned with a school opened in Trenton in 2014 and operated by the SABIS Educational System.
Following is information about the four schools opening this fall, including their opening enrollment estimates:
College Achieve Central Charter School, Plainfield and North Plainfield, K-2nd grade, 5-6th grades, 346 students
Bridgeton Public Charter School, K-1st grade, 108 students
Empowerment Academy Charter School, Jersey City, K-1st grade, 198 students
International Academy of Atlantic City Charter School, Pleasantville and Atlantic City, K-3rd grade, 354 students