N.J. charter school measures face opposition

    Advocates are urging the New Jersey Assembly to reject charter school legislation up for a vote Wednesday that would, among other regulations, require voter approval for charter schools.

    Carlos Perez, CEO of the New Jersey Charter Schools Association, said the bill to mandate local voter approval before a charter school could open would slow the growth of those schools.

    “It’s based on the false premise that charter schools drain resources from local districts,” said Perez. “The money belongs to each individual child and their school for them to attend a public school that is right for them and their family needs.”

    Karen Thomas, CEO of Marion P Thomas Charter School in Newark, also opposes the measures.

    “Decisions about charter schools and their need in the community really should be made by the parents who are seeking choice for their children,” she said. “You effectively block that by allowing a group that’s not in that particular choice to have perhaps an overriding say in that.”

    Perez also opposes a measure that would require every child in charter school districts to be put in a lottery to determine who is admitted.

    Advocates would prefer a comprehensive reform of the charter school law to give educators the power to make decisions at the local level and make sure the schools are held accountable for student performance.

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