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Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
160 West State Street
Trenton, New Jersey 08608

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GSCS Board of Trustees endorsed ACTION LETTER to Trenton asking for caution on Charter School expansion
GSCS: "As you are no doubt aware, the NJ legislature will be acting on new and revised charter school legislation in the coming weeks. There are many critical points that will directly impact GSCS districts, and the Coalition has been closely following the development of legislation, urging legislators and Department of Education officials to consider factors that might negatively impact GSCS districts. The attached letter was written by the Princeton Regional Board of Education and fully endorsed by the GSCS Board of Trustees at its December 1st meeting. We suggest that you, as a GSCS member district, take the following actions:"

Garden State Coalition of Schools

204 W. State St., Trenton, NJ 08608    (609) 394-2828    www.gscschools.org •gscs2000@gmail.com

 

December 6, 2010

 

To all GSCS Superintendents and Board of Education Members:

                       

As you are no doubt aware, the NJ legislature will be acting on new and revised charter school legislation in the coming weeks.  There are many critical points that will directly impact GSCS districts, and the Coalition has been closely following the development of legislation, urging legislators and Department of Education officials to consider factors that might negatively impact GSCS districts.

 

The attached letter was written by the Princeton Regional Board of Education and fully endorsed by the GSCS Board of Trustees at its December 1st meeting.  We suggest that you, as a GSCS member district, take the following actions:

 

     • Discuss at the Board of Education level with the goal of getting endorsement from your Board

     • Send the letter on your letterhead and signed by your Board to your district's legislators and mayor, members of the Senate Ed and Budget Committees, the Assembly Ed and Budget Committees, the Acting Commissioner, the Governor, and your local media. (Some of the addresses you will need are attached.)

     • Complete this in December if at all possible, as time is of the essence.  If it takes until early January, it is still worth completing the endorsement and dissemination.

      

As always, we appreciate your feedback and thank you in advance for your efforts in this important initiative.

 

Lynne Strickland

Executive Director

Garden State Coalition of Schools

 

                                           ______________________

 

Letter:

 

December 2010

 

To Our Governor, Acting Commissioner of Education, State Legislators:

We urge you to pay close attention to the issues surrounding charter school legislation. New Jersey residents hold high expectations for their public schools, invest in education at high rates and are proud of New Jersey’s strong record of excellence in public education. Nonetheless, we recognize that there are examples of failure and that there are great needs which must be addressed.

 

Please take time to learn from other states’ successes and from their failures. In many states, there has not been educational or fiscal accountability on the part of charter schools. Charters’ success rates are mixed and millions of dollars have been poorly invested in some charter schools. While developing policy and legislation, please examine reliable research. A 2010 federal study by Mathematica demonstrated minimal or negative impact of charter schools on the performance of higher income and higher achieving students.

 

We eagerly stand accountable for providing the best and most cost effective education possible for ALL children, and implore you to protect what is sound and serving children well in New Jersey. As you move forward with legislation that insures equity and excellence for all of our students we specifically request the following:

  • Establish criteria for proof of educational need of charter schools in each community. In the midst of a recession we cannot afford to divert funds from successful programs in order to fund “boutique” schools designed for small and segregated populations with special wants. Needs and wants are very different bases for the investment of public dollars.
  • Use taxpayer dollars wisely and respect taxpayers’ needs and opinions. Taxpayers should vote on approval of their tax dollars being directed to new charters or expansion of current charters. Additionally, taxpayers should vote for members of the charter schools’ boards just as they elect representatives to traditional school boards. THERE SHOULD BE NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION.
  • Hold charters to high standards for educational outcomes by collecting performance data that demonstrates their students are out-performing comparable cohorts in traditional schools.
  • Assure the public that all legislation created to insure accountability and oversight of traditional public school districts will also apply to all charters.
  • Do not approve for-profit charter school systems since they are profiting from public funding.
  • Do not sub-contract to other institutions the authority to approve charter applications since it minimizes the State Department of Education’s role, subjugates taxpayer authority and increases costs.
  • Monitor enrollments closely so that we do not further segregate our beautifully diverse and enriching population. One of the backbones of public education is preparing a diverse population of students to together become the understanding, creative and talented thinkers and leaders of the 21st century.

Much is at stake. We ask that as leaders of our fine state you listen and study closely so that wise and balanced decisions are made regarding the education of ALL of our children and the investments of all of our taxpayers.

 

Sincerely,

The Princeton Regional Board of Education

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trenton Contact Information

 

Governor's Office
Governor Chris Christie
PO Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625
609-292-6000
Note:  If calling, please leave the message that charter school legislation must be studied carefully so that it does not negatively impact on public school districts.  
Email:  You can only email the Governor by visiting
www.gov.state.nj.  Click on his website in the upper right corner and follow the prompts from there.

Senate President
Sen. Stephen M. Sweeney
935 Kings Highway, Suite 400, West Deptford, NJ 08086
Email:  sensweeney@njleg.org

Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee
Chairperson:  Sen. Paul A. Sarlo
207 Hackensack St., 2nd Floor, Wood-Ridge, NJ 07075
Email:  sensarlo@njleg.org

Vice Chair:  Sen. Brian P. Stack
5801 Palisade Ave., West New York, NJ 07093
Email:  senstack@njleg.org

Sen. James Beach
1309 Route 70 West, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
Email:  senbeach@njleg.org

Sen.Anthony R. Bucco
75 Bloomfield Ave., Suite 302, Denville, NJ 07834
Email:  senbucco@njleg.org

Sen. Barbara Buono
2 Lincoln Highway, Suite 401, Edison, NJ 08820
Email:  senbuono@njleg.org

Sen. Sandra B. Cunningham
1738 Kennedy Blvd., Jersey City, NJ 07305
Email:  sencunningham@njleg.org


Sen. Michael J. Doherty
127 Belvidere Ave., Washington, NJ 07882
Email:  sendoherty@njleg.org

Sen. Kevin J. O'Toole
155 Route 46 West, Suite 108, Wayne, NJ 07470
Email:  senotoole@njleg.org

Sen. Steven B. Oroho
115 Demarest Rd., Suite 2B, Sparta, NJ 07871
Email:  senoroho@njleg.org

Sen. Joseph Pennacchio
330 Changebridge Rd., Suite 102, Pine Brook, NJ 07058
Email:  senpennacchio@njleg.org

Sen. Teresa Ruiz
166 Bloomfield Ave., Newark, NJ 07104
Email:  senruiz@njleg.org

Sen. Bob Smith
216 Stelton Rd, Suite E-5, Piscataway, NJ 08854
Email:  sensmith@njleg.org

Sen. Jeff Van Drew
21 N. Main St.,
Cape May Court House, NJ 08210
Email:  senvandrew@njleg.org

Senate Education Committee
Chairperson:  Sen. Teresa Ruiz
166 Bloomfield Ave., Newark, NJ 07104
Email:  senruiz@njleg.org

Vice Chair:  Sen. Jim Whelan
511 Tilton Rd., Northfield, NJ 08225
Email:  senwhelan@njleg.org

Sen. Diane B. Allen
11 W. Broad St., Burlington, NJ 08016
Email:  senallen@njleg.org


Sen. Thomas H. Kean, Jr.
425 North Ave., E., Suite C, Westfield, NJ 07090
Email:  senkean@njleg.org

Sen. Shirley K. Turner
1440 Pennington Rd.,
Trenton, NJ 08618
Email:  senturner@njleg.org

Assembly Speaker
Asw. Sheila Y. Oliver
15-33 Halsted St., Suite 202, East Orange, NJ 07018
Email:  aswoliver@njleg.org

Assembly Budget Committee
Chairperson:  Asm. Louis D. Greenwald
1101 Laurel Oak Rd, Suite 150, Voorhees, NJ 08043
Email:  asmgreenwald@njleg.org

Vice Chair:  Asm. Gary S. Schaer
1 Howe Ave., Suite 302, Passaic, NJ 07055
Email:  asmschaer@njleg.org

Asm Peter J. Barnes, III
3 Stephenville Pkwy, Suite 2E, Edison, NJ 08820
Email:  asmbarnes@njleg.org

Asm. John J. Burzichelli
935 Kings Highway, Suite 400, West Deptford, NJ 08086
Email:  asmburzichelli@njleg.org

Asm. Albert Coutinho
73-75 Ferry St., Newark, NJ 07105
Email:  asmcoutinho@njleg.org

Asm. Gordon M. Johnson
545 Cedar Lane, Teaneck, NJ 07666
Email:  asmjohnson@njleg.org

Asm. Joseph R. Malone, III
311 Farnsworth Ave., Bordentown, NJ 08505
Email:  asmmalone@njleg.org


Asm. Declan J. O'Scanlon, Jr.
32 Monmouth St., Red Bank, NJ 07701
Email:  asmoscanlon@njleg.org

Asw. Nellie Pou
100 Hamilton Plaza, Suite 1405 Paterson, NJ 07505
Email:  aswpou@njleg.org

Asw. Joan M. Quigley
235 Ninth St., Jersey City, NJ 07302
Email:  aswquigley@njleg.org

Asm. Jay Webber
760 Route 10 W., Suite 101, Whippany, NJ 07981
Email:  asmwebber@njleg.org

Asm. David W. Wolfe
852 Highway 70, Brick, NJ 08724
Email:  asmwolfe@njleg.or

Assembly Education Committee
Chairperson:  Asm. Patrick J. Deignan, Jr.
908 Oak Tree Ave., Unit P, South Plainfield, NJ 07080
Email:  asmdeignan@njleg.org

Vice Chair:  Asw. Joan M. Voss
520 Main St., Fort Lee, NJ 07024
Email:  aswvoss@njleg.org

Asm. Ralph R. Caputo
148-152 Franklin St., Belleville, NJ 07109
Email:  aswcaputo@njleg.org

Asw. Elease Evans
100 Hamilton Plaza, Suite 1400, Paterson, NJ 07505
Email:  aswevans@njleg.org

Asw. Mila M. Jasey
15 Village Plaza, Suite 1B, South Orange, NJ 07079
Email:  aswjasey@njleg.org

Asm. Joseph R. Malone, III
311 Farnsworth Ave., Bordentown, NJ 08505
Email:  asmmalone@njleg.org

Asm. Paul D. Moriarity
129 Johnson Rd., Suite 1, Turnersville, NJ 08012
Email:  asmmoriarity@njleg.org

Asm. Ruben J. Ramos, Jr.
70 Hudson St., Hoboken,NJ 07030
Email:  asmramos@njleg.org

Asm. Scott T. Rumana
155 Rt. 46 West, Suite 108, Wayne, NJ 07470
Email:  asmrumana@njleg.org

Asm. Brian E. Rumpf
620 W. Lacey Rd., Forked River, NJ 08731
Email:  asmrumpf@njleg.org

Asw. Bonnie Watson Coleman
226 W. State St., Trenton, NJ 08608
Email:  aswwatsoncoleman@njleg.org

Asm. David W. Wolfe
852 Highway 70, Brick, NJ 08724
Email:  asmwolfe@njleg.org

NJ Department of Education
Acting Commissioner Rochelle Hendricks
PO Box 500, Trenton, NJ 08625
Fax:  609-777-4099
Email:  rochelle.hendriks@gov.doe.nj.us

 


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