Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Jersey Jazzman: NJ Charter Schools - A Fool's Gold Rush: Princeton

Jersey Jazzman: NJ Charter Schools - A Fool's Gold Rush: Princeton:

NJ Charter Schools - A Fool's Gold Rush: Princeton

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Here are all the parts of this series so far:


Franklin, NJ

Princeton, NJ

As in Franklin, NJ, it appears that charter schools are splitting the community of Princeton apart. Go to planetprinceton.com, the town's hyperlocal, and you'll find lengthy and heated back-and-forths in the comments section about Princeton Charter School and the consequences of its expansion on the Princeton Public Schools.

This was brought about by the NJDOE's rush to expand charter school enrollment before Chris Christie's term ends. PCS will grow from 348 to 424 students in grades K-8; as I explained before, this will undoubtedly put additional fiscal strain on the public district schools. And, as always, the local school board and the local voters have no say in whether the expansion should take place.

Before I get to the data, a few things: first, while a particular charter school may work well for a particular student, personal stories are a poor way to make public policy. I have no doubt many PCS parents are happy with their children's school: good for them. But, as I have explained previously in this series, their ability to enroll their children in a charter school comes at a cost to the other families in Princeton and the town's taxpayers.

The real question in school "choice" policy is whether the alleged gains for charter school families outweigh the costs to all of the stakeholders. Those costs, by the way, include having parents within a town battling each other over charter school expansion.

Second: you can go to GuideStar.org and look up the tax records of Princeton Charter School and its affiliated 501c3 organizations, of which there are at least two: PCS Endowment & Capital Fund, and Friends of PCS. In 2015, these two nonprofits held over $1.2 million in assets, and granted over $300K to the school. I assume most of this was Jersey Jazzman: NJ Charter Schools - A Fool's Gold Rush: Princeton: