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Lawmakers, SOS NJ Want Charter Reform Bills Posted

SOS NJ says Thursday press conference will highlight bi-partisan support for charter school reforms.

Lawmakers and members of the Education Law Center will join parents from across the state today in Trenton to call on the Senate Education Committee to post charter school reform bills for a vote by the Senate.

Describing the current charter school law as “broken,” parents along with State Senators Shirley Turner, Barbara Buono and Linda Greenstein, the primary sponsors of S 2243, and by Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, and Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan Jr., who sponsored bills in the Assembly, will hold a press conference immediately following a the Senate committee hearing.

“New Jersey's broken charter school law is unique in allowing the State to force local communities to pay for unlimited numbers of new charter schools, against those communities' wishes,” according to a release sent out by Save Our Schools NJ. “Across the United States, 90 percent of all charter school authorizers are local. 

“Our State's broken charter school law must be reformed.  Save Our Schools NJ urges the Senate Education Committee to post Senate bills 2243 and 3001 for a vote.”

SOS NJ has gathered 2,400 "signatures" in an online petition that seeks to make sure voters get a say on charter schools in their communities.

In June, the State Assembly approved bills that would reform the way charter schools operate.

Save Our Schools NJ had been lobbying both the Assembly and the Senate to give voters the right to decide whether they want charter schools in their districts and to make charters more accountable.  The Senate still has not taken action on any of the bills.

In June, said the Assembly vote was great news but the bills still had a long way to go.

“I am worried about the bills never getting ‘released’ for a vote in the Senate,” he said then, adding that even if they did, there would still be the possibility of a veto by Gov. Chris Christie.

Members of are tired of waiting and are hoping to put pressure on the Senate Education Committee with the press conference scheduled to take place immediately after a committee hearing on those bills.

Julia Sass Rubin, a founding member of Save Our Schools NJ and the parent of a charter school student, wrote in an op-ed piece on NJ Spotlight on Wednesday that “New Jersey communities are being torn apart by our broken charter school law, with charter schools and traditional public schools suing each other and with charter school parents pitted against those whose children attend traditional public schools.

“Fortunately, the New Jersey Senate has an opportunity to stop this discord by repairing our state's charter school approval process,” she wrote.

In June, Carlos Perez of the New Jersey Charter School Association responded this way: “Requiring a referendum on charter schools is not only bad public policy, it undermines the entire premise of a charter school. It’s a reaction to a challenge of the status quo by the entrenched education establishment to stop the thriving charter school movement in New Jersey in its tracks.”

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