NJ charter schools fighting for facilities funding
🏫 NJ charter schools desperate for money to fix facilities
🏫 They have launched the SameKidsSameNeeds campaign
🏫 These high-achieving public schools are in old and sometimes decrepit buildings
One in five public school students in New Jersey’s poorest neighborhoods attend a charter school, but public charter schools do not receive state funding to fix and upgrade their facilities like other public schools.
The New Jersey Public Charter Schools Association has launched a SameKidsSameNeeds campaign to change that.
According to Harry Lee, the president of the New Jersey Public Charter Schools Association educators, support staff and students who go to these schools deserve access to safe, secure, clean and welcoming school buildings.
Charter schools getting the cold shoulder
He said New Jersey is one of the few states in the nation that does not provide this kind of aid to public charter schools and this needs to be corrected.
“We must make sure that our kids, especially those who have been traditionally under-served get access to a high-quality school building so they can learn and grow," he said.
“We have to make sure we treat all of our students fairly and every child deserves to be in a safe and secure building where they want to learn.”
Forced to operate in old buildings
Lee said most charter schools in New Jersey are operating in former Catholic school buildings, or they have retro-fitted old factory buildings to make things work.
“We have nearly 30 charter school buildings that are more than 100 years old. In Paterson we have a building that is nearly 200 years old,” he said.
Legislation, A4496 is moving forward that would eventually allow charter schools to get facilities funding in the future.
All kids deserve excellent school facilities
“We want to make sure the Murphy administration and the legislature understand that they must support excellent school facilities for all children, no matter where they go,” Lee said.
“Public charter school families matter and we have to create policies that support these children and families, especially in our urban areas.”
Since 2001 the state has provided more than $17 billion in school construction aid to district public schools, vo-techs and county vocational schools, but zero for public charter schools.
Last year public charter and renaissance schools received $10 million for emergent projects and maintenance needs.
More than 60,000 students in New Jersey attend 85 charter schools in the Garden State.