Rice Measure To Ensure That Charter Schools Are Committed To Education Clears Senate Education Committee

Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee Chair, Senator Ronald L. Rice, D-Essex, speaks at a meeting of his committee.

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Ronald L. Rice, which would toughen the requirements for the approval of charter school applications was approved today by the Senate Education Committee.

“Too often, it seems like applications to open charter schools go through the State like water through a faucet,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex, a longtime advocate of increased accountability for those applying to open and operate charter schools. “When it comes to teaching our children, the commitment must be to education. ‘A’ must come before ‘B,’ and both an adequate funding source and a location must be secured before these facilities are approved to instruct our students.”

Under current law, all charter school applications must be accompanied by a building certificate of occupancy for educational use, issued by the local municipality.

Senator Rice’s bill, S-60, would also require applicants to provide written documentation that they have adequate finances to lease or purchase the facility that will be used for the school.

Senator Rice noted that too often, there is little review when it comes to approving charter school applications. He also stated that in certain instances, schools never open because of a lack of location or of qualifications and funds on part of the administrator, and families are left with the issue of trying to get their children back into the public school system on short notice.

“The application approval process must be tightened up on the State level in order to ensure that all students are receiving the best possible education,” said Senator Rice.

This measure now heads to the full Senate for approval.

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