Gov. Christie Approves Measure Paving Way for More Charter Schools

November 10, 2011

TRENTON — Legislation signed today by Gov. Chris Christie will allow private schools in struggling districts to become charter schools.

"Charter schools, if done correctly, can be a vital part in improving our public education system and ensuring quality education for our children," said Assemblyman Albert Coutinho (D-Essex), one of the bill’s sponsors. "By removing some of the obstacles to creating charter schools, we’ll be opening the door to a better future for many children while ensuring the proper oversight is in place for a quality education."

Under the legislation (A2806/S1858), high-performing private schools can apply to the state education commissioner to make the change. Because charter schools receive public funding, parochial schools making the transition will be barred from religious instruction or displaying religious symbols.

Christie said the law will help "ensure that more students are stepping into classrooms that will give them a better education and a brighter future." But he said the Democratic-controlled Legislature continues to stall other pieces of his education agenda, including school vouchers and merit pay for teachers.

"These reforms must be taken up now; we cannot ask children in failing schools to wait any longer while these reforms sit untouched in Trenton," Christie said.