NJ Awarded $14.5M Grant for Charter Schools

March 13, 2012

New Jersey has won a $14.5 million federal grant to bolster charter schools, officials announced Tuesday.

Expanding quality charters has been one of the Christie administration’s main education goals as it pushes for school choice, especially in failing districts. Critics of charters argue they drain precious resources and weaken programs in regular public schools.

The New Jersey Department of Education said the money, to be distributed over three years, will help new charters with start-up costs and help existing, successful charters that want to grow. Those schools will have to compete for dollars. Some of the money will support collaboration between charters and regular district schools so they can share innovative ideas and best practices.

New Jersey, which lost a previous bid for a federal charter grant, was one of three states to share $55 million get one in this round, including Massachusetts and Minnesota.

There are 80 charters statewide and 26 planning to open in September. The department has promoted its rigorous standards for charters, and early this month announced it was closing two that did not meet targets for student learning.