Three new charter schools have applied with the New Jersey Department of Education to open in the city as soon as the next school year.
Demetria Newby, parent of a Philip’s Academy Charter School student, is looking to open Philip’s Academy Charter School Paterson II out of the old Temple Emanuel building on Broadway to educate 100 children in K-1 and reach 280 children in K-4 by the fourth year, according to application submitted to the state.
Newby’s school is seeking to open by fall 2017. A city school teacher, Michelle Petriello, is looking to open two charter schools – the Garret Hobart Charter School and Nathan Barnert Charter School.
Petriello, who teaches at School 8, wants to open the Garret Hobart Charter School at 95 Sherman Avenue, the former site of a district run early childhood education center, next fall. This school will begin first year with 132 K-2 students and expand to K-5 with 264 students by the fourth year, according to her application.
Petriello is the sister of Christina Scano, the principal of the John P. Holland Charter School. The state last year denied Scano’s request for expansion citing, among other reasons, Petriello being on the board of her charter school.
The second charter Petriello wants to open is the Nathan Barnert Charter School. This school will also open with 132 K-2 students and have 264 students in K-5 by the fourth year. She proposes to open this school in fall of 2018.
If all three schools are approved, the Paterson Public Schools will lose 808 students. This means millions of dollars in funds will follow the students out of the district. At $21,481 per pupil, the district could lose more than $15 million.
School board members Errol Kerr and Jonathan Hodges, both critics of charter schools, said this will further worsen the district’s financial problems.
“It’s disgraceful,” said Hodges. He said this aligns with the governor’s plan to “dismantle” the city’s public school system.
Hodges said the state is in control in Paterson to make all the changes it needs to make to improve the lots of city students.
“I think it’s bad for education. It’s one more oxygen pipe being cut off,” said Kerr. “You are asking us to produce when you are taking funds from us.”
The three charters submitted their applications as part of the October expedited charter application round. The state will make decision on the schools on February 15th, 2017 for schools that may open in fall of 2017.
The expedited round is for existing charter operators with a proven record for success, according to the state.
Hodges said the three applications will very likely be rubber stamped by the state. He also warned charter schools would be opening at locations left vacant by the school district. 95 Sherman Avenue was vacated by the Paterson Public Schools at the end of the last school year.
“I almost feel like they have been approved,” added Kerr.
Eight operators applied for nine charter schools in New Jersey. Other schools are the Pierce Academy: A Personalized Learning Charter School in Jersey City; Collegiate Charter School of Hillside-Irvington in Hillside and Irvington; Albert Einstein EnergySmart Charter School in Old Bridge; Nikola Tesla EnergySmart Charter School in Perth Amboy; Reach Charter School of Clifton for Clifton and Passaic; and the Theresa M. Fredericks STEAM Academy Charter School for Hamilton Township and Trenton.