I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Sunday, June 10, 2012

NJDOE: Some Charters Ain't Worth It

Oh, dear - looks like sitting on a stage with governor Christie...

... isn't always enough to save your charter school:
State officials have raised questions about a planned charter school in Cherry Hill. 
Regis Academy is scheduled to open in the Ashland area later this year, pending final approval by the state Department of Education. But a DOE official, in a letter to the school’s organizer, said a legal challenge has presented “numerous issues and inaccuracies regarding the school’s application and addenda.” 
Amy Ruck, interim director of the state’s Office of Charter Schools, included no specifics in the letter to Pastor Amir Khan, head of the Solid Rock Worship Center. 
She asked Khan to provide “any evidence or documentation that help in reviewing the situation.” Khan must respond by Friday, according to Ruck’s June 1 letter. 
You all remember Amir Khan, the anti-marriage equity crusader who is looking to finance his church's property with proceeds from his charter school. Chris Christie swore he never met the man, even though he has appeared with him on stage twice. I'm sure that Regis's approval was just a happy coincidence...
The DOE in October approved Regis Academy’s application to serve 250 students from Cherry Hill, Voorhees, Lawnside and Somerdale. Khan earlier this year said the school expects to draw about 100 students from the four towns. He said another 100 students are expected to come from other communities. 
The districts’ appeal is not the only legal challenge for Khan. His church also has faced an eviction suit by the Diocese of Camden. The diocese contends Solid Rock has not met terms of a lease-purchase agreement for the former Holy Rosary complex at Burnt Mill and Evesham roads.
Let's be clear: this charter should never have been approved. The community didn't want it, the students didn't need it, and the board was not qualified to run it. This fiasco is the result of a vetting system that is ineffective, ideological, and out of control. The NJDOE is clearly embarrassed at the poor job they did scrutinizing the Regis application; now they're backing away from it.

Some of you may be surprised to hear me say this, but I do feel for Amir Khan. He was clearly strung along by a DOE that thought it could make a charter play into the 'burbs without too much commotion. Little did they suspect that parents would be so ferocious in their response, or that school districts wouldn't just sit back and watch desperately needed funds be diverted from their students.

Khan has been used as a political pawn in a larger battle, just like the charters in Trenton: Emily Fisher and Paul Robeson. The Broadies at the NJDOE apparently like charters - if they are the right kind of charters. Regis isn't measuring up, so... out it goes.

This should not be allowed to happen again.

All pending NJ charter openings should be postponed, and all applications suspended, until the Cerf charter report is released.

1 comment:

Rita McClellan said...

Thanks, Duke. When I attended Regis' Board of Trustees meeting last week they were saying that they would be drawning from 19 different school districts beside the 4 original approved districts. They included places like Mt. Holly, Williamstown, Deptford, Evesham and West Berlin. Additionally during the lsst 2 meetings I attended, I have been asking them if they have contingency plans in place if they are evicted from the property. From the smug responses they gave me, it's obvious that they have not plans in place and are expecting a miracle from heaven. One can only hope that the DoE will wise up and not grant their final approval.