Plans for Newark charter school abandoned, after more than $1.5M is spent

July 15, 2011

NEWARK — A former official with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who was in charge of distributing education grants has abandoned plans to open three charter schools of his own in New York City and Newark, N.J.

Tom Vander Ark was granted charters in 2010 to open a high school in Brooklyn and two others in Newark.
But The New York Times reports that after spending more than $1.5 million of investors' money, Vander Ark has walked away from the project and the schools will not open as planned this fall.

Vander Ark blamed the weak economy and the difficulty of establishing charters.

But those he had been working with to open the schools said they were blindsided.

The schools may open in 2012 without Vander Ark.