Only 8 of 22 proposed charters clear first hurdle in NJ’s application process

 Trenton State Capitol building. (Alan Tu/WHYY)

Trenton State Capitol building. (Alan Tu/WHYY)

Eight charter-school applications — including one to expand New Jersey’s first private-school conversion — have passed the first round of the state’s application process, which started this spring.

The Christie administration rejected 14 other applications, including a virtual charter and what would have the state’s first Montessori charter.

Charter schools continue to be a contentious political issue, with a number of bills restricting new approvals still pending.

The eight successful applications now go to the second stage, with further details requested of them in the next month. After that process, the state will decide whether to give preliminary approval in the fall. The schools would open in September 2016.

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One of the applications moving to the second round is for Philip’s Academy Charter School of Paterson, the expansion of the Philip’s Academy in Newark, which was the first charter to be converted from a private school.

One application from Camden, headed by a former high school principal in the city, and another from the Newark Preschool Council are also moving to the next stage in the process.

Among the rejected were the 24/7 Learning Academy Virtual Charter School in Newark, as well as two charters proposed for suburban communities, one in Princeton, the other Lawrence and Ewing.

The new head of the New Jersey Charter School Association applauded the process so far, and said it had worked with a half-dozen of the successful applicants.


“We support the Department of Education as they go through the rigorous application review, and we look forward to the DOE’s final decision towards the expansion of high-quality schools for every student in the state of New Jersey,” said Nicole Cole, president and CEO of the association.

The following list includes applications that are moving forward and those that have been declined. In addition, four charter schools are currently under final review to open this fall:

Approved Phase I

Camden Innovations Charter High School — serving Camden, grades 9-12 (240 students)

Elizabeth Prep Charter School — Elizabeth, grades 6-10 (500)

First Ocean Charter School — Lakewood, grades K- 5 (340)

International Academy of Greater Irvington — Hillside and Irvington, grades K-8 (698)

Liberty Community Charter School — Trenton, grades K-6 (950)

NPC Charter School — Newark, grades K-4 (375)

Philip’s Academy Charter School of Paterson — Paterson, grades PK-3 (270)

Regional Pneuma Academy CS for Science, Health and Tech — Asbury Park and Neptune Township, grades K-5 (240)

Universal Business Academy — Englewood, grades 6-8 (195)


ACE Charter School — Jersey City, grades 9-12 (710 students)

Agape Trinity Charter School — Plainfield, grades K-5 (274)

KEEN Charter School of Trenton — Trenton, grades K-5 (468)

Synergy Charter School — Keansburg, Hazlet, and Keyport, grades K-6 (266)

24/7 Learning Academy Virtual Charter School — Newark, grades 6-12 (1,020)

Asbury Park Youth Movement Charter School — Asbury Park, grades K-8 (144)

Global Learning Charter School — Paterson, grades K-5 (480)

The Holistic Charter School for Behavioral Therapy — Howell and Lakewood, grades K-5 (36)

International Academy of Passaic Charter School — Passaic, grades K-8 (698)

Langhorne Preparatory Charter School — Princeton, grades K-8 (510)

Learn STEM Charter School — Atlantic City, Pleasantville, and Egg Harbor Township, grades 5-8 (225)

The Montessori Charter School of New Jersey — Ewing, Hopewell, Lawrence, and Trenton, grades K-6 (256)

Theresa M. Fredericks Academy Charter School — Hamilton and Trenton, grades 9-12 (1,150)


NJ Spotlight, an independent online news service on issues critical to New Jersey, makes its in-depth reporting available to NewsWorks.



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