Montclair Community Pre-K Opposes Proposed Montclair Charter School

Montclair Community Pre-K Opposes Proposed Montclair Charter SchoolThe Montclair Community Pre-K (MCPK) administration and Board of Trustees, in a press release Friday, officially declared its opposition to the application of the Montclair Charter School, previously known as the Fulbright Academy Charter School. The MCPK has taken this action for the following reasons:

Neither the MCPK, nor any of its employees or board members, has had any involvement with the charter school application. The Montclair Charter School application alleges that the proposed charter school will enjoy a “natural relationship” with the MCPK for recruiting students, but there has been no discussion about this — or anything else — between the two groups.

A charter school would drain money from the existing public schools. According to a letter sent by Montclair’s Interim Superintendent Ron Bolandi to NJ Education Commissioner David Hespe on May 20, 2016, the state’s final approval of the Montclair Charter School will initially cause the Montclair School District to transfer $2,625,000 to the new charter school. This figure will increase to as much as $4,825,000 if and when the school’s student body grows to its full capacity (K-8). The loss of these funds will necessitate cuts to staff and services that will affect every student in the district, and most significantly those who are at-risk.

Down the line, this could impact the township’s funding priorities as well, potentially resulting in cuts to, or a total loss of, early childhood education. This chain of events might mean that the MCPK would be unable to offer financial assistance to those who cannot afford a pre-k education. Given that the MCPK’s mission is to prepare all of Montclair’s children for success in kindergarten and beyond, regardless of the family’s ability to pay, this could negatively impact the school’s ability to do so.

The MCPK stands with the Montclair Public School District on this issue. As an integral part of the public education system in Montclair, the school has a vested interest in seeing that every component of our public education system works together. The MCPK partners directly with the Montclair Public School District and stands with them in solidarity on this issue. It is important to note that the Montclair Township Council opposes the proposed charter school as well.

The Montclair Community Pre-K’s families, administration, faculty and Board of Trustees are a diverse and inclusive group, mirroring the demographics of the Township of Montclair. Our public school system should be diverse and inclusive as well. In order to maintain these values, the MCPK feels it is critical to stand together as a community in opposition to the proposed charter school.

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  1. I haven’t yet studied the charter school issue enough to make up my mind about it, but I am puzzled as to why Montclair parents don’t seem to make as much of a fuss–at least on as big a scale–to right many other problems in the district. See below, about the wasteful, inefficient management of the new district communication system. I guess it’s possible people feel helpless after years of navigating the bureaucracy, teacher unions, and so forth. Maybe a depersonalized, less immediate threat like a charter school is a less scary thing to confront than the waste of students’ time (lives!)and parents’ hard-earned, over-the-top tax dollars?

  2. Excuse me, but the potential for a loss of $2.5 million plus from the district is by definition, an immediate threat.

  3. All depends on how you define immediate.

    Take the MPS’ health care costs budget. Last year, the disconcerting trend over budget reared up in April/May. So, I’m sure that the Central Office has a fairly good idea going into the 2016/17 budget year whether we are going to have another OMG moment next January or we have it under control. That is immediate to me. Whether it is good news or bad news, this new, better BoE said they would share rolling budget forecasts and I have not heard a word yet.

  4. Love that someone asks open-minded question and johnqp replies with “Excuse me…” Turns out, the 2.5 million “loss” to district may fall on taxpayers, as johnqp implies, or it may fall on the charter students. Here is explanation from

    “One concern would be the lost revenue to the district, as charter schools in New Jersey are supposed to receive state funding equal to 90 percent of what local public schools receive.
    In Montclair, according to a document displayed at the BOE workshop, that’s approximately $10,500 per student. The document indicated that if 250 students leave the school district to attend Fulbright Academy, then the district would have to transfer $2,625,000 to the proposed school.”

    So the question is, will MPS have to make up difference for our pockets or can charter be force to get by with 10,500 less per student? I don’t know the answer but as usual, johnqp leaves out the relevant details in his/her anti-charter hysteria.

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