Senator SHIRLEY K. TURNER
District 15 (Mercer)
Senator BARBARA BUONO
District 18 (Middlesex)
Senator LINDA R. GREENSTEIN
District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)
Senators Gill, Codey, Rice, Sarlo, Whelan, B.Smith, Vitale and Bateman
Requires voter approval at the annual school election or by the board of school estimate prior to the establishment of a charter school.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning the establishment of charter schools and amending P.L.1995, c.426.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 4 of P.L.1995, c.426 (C.18A:36A-4) is amended to read as follows:
4. a. A charter school may be established by teaching staff members, parents with children attending the schools of the district, or a combination of teaching staff members and parents. A charter school may also be established by an institution of higher education or a private entity located within the State in conjunction with teaching staff members and parents of children attending the schools of the district. If the charter school is established by a private entity, representatives of the private entity shall not constitute a majority of the trustees of the school, and the charter shall specify the extent to which the private entity shall be involved in the operation of the school. The name of the charter school shall not include the name or identification of the private entity, and the private entity shall not realize a net profit from its operation of a charter school. A private or parochial school shall not be eligible for charter school status.
b. A currently existing public school is eligible to become a charter school if the following criteria are met:
(1) At least 51% of the teaching staff in the school shall have signed a petition in support of the school becoming a charter school; and
(2) At least 51% of the parents or guardians of pupils attending that public school shall have signed a petition in support of the school becoming a charter school.
c. (1) An application to establish a
charter school shall be submitted to the commissioner and the local board of
education or State district superintendent, in the case of a [State-operated school district] school district under full State
intervention, in the school year preceding the school year in which the charter
school will be established. Notice of the filing of the application shall be
sent immediately by the commissioner to the members of the State Legislature,
school superintendents, and mayors and governing bodies of all legislative
districts, school districts, or municipalities in which there are students who
will be eligible for enrollment in the charter school. The board of education
or State district superintendent shall review the application and
forward a recommendation to the commissioner within 60 days of receipt of
the application. [The] Except as otherwise provided pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection, the commissioner shall have final authority to grant or reject a charter application.
(2) The commissioner shall not approve an application for the establishment of a charter school unless the establishment of the charter school has been approved by the voters of the district at the annual school election in the case of a charter school to be established in a Type II district, or the board of school estimate in the case of a charter school to be established in a Type I district.
d. The local board of education or a charter school applicant may appeal the decision of the commissioner to the [State Board of Education. The State board shall render a decision within 30 days of the date of the receipt of the appeal. If the State board does not render a decision within 30 days, the decision of the commissioner shall be deemed final] Appellate Division of the Superior Court.
e. A charter school established during the 48 months following the effective date of this act, other than a currently existing public school which becomes a charter school pursuant to the provisions of subsection b. of section 4 of this act, shall not have an enrollment in excess of 500 students or greater than 25% of the student body of the school district in which the charter school is established, whichever is less.
Any two charter schools within the same public school district that are not operating the same grade levels may petition the commissioner to amend their charters and consolidate into one school. The commissioner may approve an amendment to consolidate, provided that the basis for consolidation is to accommodate the transfer of students who would otherwise be subject to the random selection process pursuant to section 8 of P.L.1995, c.426 (C.18A:36A-8).
(cf: P.L.2002, c.123, s.4)
2. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill provides that the Commissioner of Education may not approve an application for the establishment of a charter school unless the establishment of the charter school has been approved by the voters of the district at the annual school election in the case of a charter school to be established in a Type II district. In the case of a charter school to be established in a Type I district, the bill provides that the board of school estimate must approve the establishment of the charter school.