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Buono Praises Assembly Committee Action On Bill To Require Community Votes On New Charter Schools

TRENTON – Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex) today praised the Assembly Education Committee’s release of legislation that would require local voter approval before a charter school could open in a community.

The bill (A-3852) is sponsored by Buono’s 18th Legislative District colleagues, Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan and Peter Barnes (both D-Middlesex), along with Assemblymen John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) and Ralph Caputo (D-Essex). Buono is a sponsor of the measure’s Senate counterpart (S-2243).

At a recent Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee hearing, Buono questioned Acting Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf about the state’s requirements for allowing new charter schools to open. She noted that in East Brunswick, which she represents, one new charter school is siphoning more than a million dollars from local property taxpayers, who had no say in its creation. The school’s creation is a controversial topic in a town whose public schools have historically been high achieving.

Buono made the following statement:

“Absent a more realistic and comprehensive review process for charter applications at the Department of Education, local voters must be empowered. Just as they have a voice in directing how their property tax dollars are spent in their public schools, residents should have a voice in determining whether those same dollars should be allowed to go to a charter school.”

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