Parochial school conversion measure passes, although reception remains in doubt
By John Mooney
One change to New Jersey’s charter school law passed the legislature yesterday, while talk mounts that a broader rewrite of the state’s 15-year-old statute governing the semi-autonomous schools may be in the offing.
- Related Links: Senate Bill 1858
The state Senate passed a bill that would allow certain parochial and private schools to convert to charters. Few think that the proposal will lead to many such conversions, but may send a lifeline to at least a few closing Catholic schools.
The measure, which passed 25-13, is the only one of a half-dozen proposed reforms to New Jersey’s charter school law that has now passed both the Senate and the Assembly. It goes next to Gov. Chris Christie for his expected signature.
But while other charter proposals have languished, leading Democratic legislators said there is momentum gaining for a more comprehensive overhaul of the 1996 charter law that could loosen some restrictions and add others.
State Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), the chairwoman of the Senate education committee, said in an interview that she still hopes to get some specific changes through by the end of the calendar year, including a bill to extend the number of organizations that can approve new charters.