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4-16-13 Education In the News, plus School Elections Today for 41 Districts - Remember to Vote
NJ Spotlight - Holdout Districts Hold Traditional April School-Budget Votes Today…Not many left, as most have switched to November vote on board seats, with no approval needed for spending plans

The Record - Christie signs measure that bars 'school spying'

NJ Spotlight - Fine Print: Newark Charter School Revocation…Despite warnings and promises, 100 Legacy charter to be shuttered at end of inaugural school year

NJ Spotlight - Holdout Districts Hold Traditional April School-Budget Votes Today…Not many left, as most have switched to November vote on board seats, with no approval needed for spending plans

 

By John Mooney, April 16, 2013 in Education 

On what was once a pivotal day for all New Jersey school districts, voters will be asked to go to the polls today in just 39 districts in 10 counties to cast ballots on local school budgets.

This is the second year of the law that allowed districts to move school board elections to November and, in turn, do away with budget votes entirely.

The number of districts staying with traditional April elections continues to drop. Last year, 70 districts held budget elections in April, with nine in 10 districts seeing their budgets pass, the highest rate on record.

The districts holding school elections today are:

Bergen: Cliffside Park, East Rutherford, Emerson, Englewood, Fairview, Garfield, Hackensack, Harrington Park, Midland Park, Norwood, Oakland, Palisades Park, Ramsey, Ridgewood, Wood-Ridge

Cumberland: Bridgeton

Essex: Belleville, Irvington, Newark (school board only)

Gloucester: Delsea Regional, Franklin

Hudson: North Bergen, Secaucus, Weehawken

Middlesex: Cranbury, Edison, Metuchen, New Brunswick

Monmouth: Neptune Township

Morris: Chatham, Mendham Township, Mountain Lakes, Pequannock, Riverdale, Rockaway Borough

Passaic: Hawthorne, Passaic, Paterson (school board only), Totowa

Warren: Allamuchy, Greenwich

In addition to the base budget votes, four districts are holding votes on “second questions” calling for spending that exceeds the state’s 2 percent tax cap. They are Wood-Ridge, Secaucus, the Chathams and Greenwich.

The proposals in Secaucus and the Chathams include additional funding for added security personnel in the aftermath of the Newtown, CT, school shootings. Secaucus is seeking security personnel in each of its schools.

Meanwhile, Greenwich is asking for additional funds to maintain existing staff in subject areas such as art, music and physical education.

The Record - Christie signs measure that bars 'school spying'

Monday April 15, 2013, 2:08 PM

Associated Press

 

TRENTON  — Gov. Chris Christie has signed a measure intended to prevent New Jersey school districts from violating students' privacy rights by tracking them through school-issued laptops.

Districts that provide students with laptops, cell phones or other electronic devices will now have to provide written notification that the device may track them. The notification also must include a statement that the school won't violate the student's privacy rights.

Christie signed the bill Monday. It takes effect July 1.

The bill was introduced after a Philadelphia-area school district came under fire in 2010. The district admitted it captured thousands of webcam photographs and screen shots from student laptops in a misguided effort to locate missing computers.

A district review found its technology staff captured at least 56,000 images though a remote tracking program.

 

NJ Spotlight - Fine Print: Newark Charter School Revocation…Despite warnings and promises, 100 Legacy charter to be shuttered at end of inaugural school year

 

By John Mooney, April 16, 2013 in Education

What it is: The state Department of Education yesterday released its letter to the 100 Legacy Academy Charter School in Newark, informing the school that its state charter had been revoked after just seven months of operation. The April 11 letter cited a number of violations and findings concerning the school’s instructional programs, financial viability, and general operations.

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What it means: Under pressure over the growth of charter schools in the state, the Christie administration has repeatedly said it has increased the accountability of the alternative schools. Now, eight charters have been closed or not renewed in the past two years, but this is the first to be shut down so close to its approval date. The revocation is effective at the end of the school year.

First probation: The middle school opened in August, 2012, with roughly 270 students, part of a partnership with the 100 Black Men of NJ organization. But by January it was placed on probation, after review found the school in violation of state statute in several areas, including special education and required criminal background checks of staff.

Didn’t get better: The state followed up in early February. According to the letter from assistant commissioner Evo Popoff, “This visit confirmed that school conditions had indeed deteriorated, putting at risk not only the safety, well-being and academic progress of students, but also the overall viability of the school.”

And again: The school submitted a remediation plan in late February, including pledges to improve its programs. But state officials said further visits found that “classrooms instruction had not sufficiently improved,” read Popoff’s letter. “Students were observed with their heads down, disengaged and frequently disruptive.”

Finally: The school submitted a long-term plan in March, and the state rejected that as well. “The department has no confidence that, given more time, the school will be able to improve its performance to the high standard the Department maintains for all charter schools.”

No comment yet: Efforts to contact the school’s leadership yesterday were unsuccessful, but the school made no mention of the revocation on its website. It said it was accepting applications for next year and also seeking a new principal.

Dissenting view: “The fact that the NJ DOE opened this school just last year and now is closing it speaks to the quality of their charter school approval process,” said Julia Sass Rubin, a spokeswoman for Save Our Schools NJ. “Clearly, the NJ DOE is not capable of making these decisions. They need to give local communities the final say in whether a charter school opens in their midst.”

Subject to appeal: The school may challenge the decision to the state appeals court.

 


Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608
609-394-2828