Schools Seeking Renewal of Charters Also Asking to Increase Enrollment

John Mooney | October 20, 2015 | Education
Nine applicants, including prominent networks operating in Newark, ask state to let them add more students

kids on bus
With more than a quarter of New Jersey’s charter schools up for renewal this year, almost half of them are also asking to expand enrollment in what could be a pivotal year for the state’s charter movement.

The state Department of Education last night released the applications of 20 charter schools seeking their five-year renewals, usually a relatively routine process.

But it turns out that nine of them — including all the major charter networks operating in Newark, as well as prominent ones in Camden and Paterson – are asking to increase enrollment.

In addition, the education department said another six applications had been filed by the Oct. 15 deadline to open new charter schools, including one that would be a conversion of a public-school district program in Newark.

The department provided little addition information, other than releasing the voluminous applications themselves. It’s been a busy week for the department, as it is gearing up for the first release of PARCC scores today.

Nonetheless, a few of the charter applications are notable, and there is sure to be significantly more debate about them.

For instance, TEAM Academy in Newark – among the state’s largest networks – has announced that it seeks to open five more schools in the city and nearly triple its enrollment there.

North Star Academy Charter Schools, another large network, has already been approved for three more schools in Newark, including one that has already generated protests. The local Planning Board last night held a crowded hearing on a proposal for a new school in the Central Ward.

The LEAP Academy charter network in Camden, one of that city’s first, is also seeking to expand, as are the Robert Treat and Merit Prep charter schools in Newark.

Here’s the complete list of charter schools seeking to expand:

  • BelovED Community Charter School
  • Bergen Arts and Science Charter School
  • LEAP Academy University Charter School
  • Merit Prep Charter School
  • North Star Academy Charter Schools of Newark
  • Robert Treat Academy Charter School
  • Soaring Heights Charter School
  • TEAM Academy Charter School
  • Thomas Edison EnergySmart Charter School
  • The applicants to open new charter schools are:

  • LEAD Academy Charter School, Newark (Grades 9-12)
  • Union Arts and Science Charter School, Elizabeth and Linden (K-2)
  • Essex Arts and Science Charter School, Orange and East Orange (K-2)
  • Achieve Community Charter School, Newark (K-4)
  • College Achieve Asbury Park, Asbury Park and Neptune T. (K-1, 5-6)
  • College Achieve New Brunswick, New Brunswick, Edison, North Brunswick (K-1, 5-6)