MONTCLAIR, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Parents in Montclair, New Jersey, are fighting to stop a charter school from entering their award-winning public school system.
CBS2’s Meg Baker reported parents have been working all summer to stop the state’s approval of a charter school, claiming it will draw students away from a unique system that the town has worked hard to build.
“Montclair prides itself on our diverse public schools,” said Sarah Blaine. “Kids are not assigned to schools based on where they live, but based on what their interests are.”
Parent Michael Grele said, “The charter proposed based on the idea that schools are failing and that’s just not the case.”
Despite opposition by some parents, along with the Montclair Board of Education, Mayor Robert Jackson, and the town council, an application for the Fulbright Academy Charter School of Montclair has moved to phase two of the approval process by the New Jersey State Board of Education.
The charter proposal is for a school of 250 students – kindergarten to fourth grade – that will have dual French-English curriculum with Spanish as a core subject. It would take $3 million away from public schools the first year, and the NAACP said it may segregate students.
“We have a very diverse, high-performing school system and we believe that a charter school would diminish that,” said James Harris of the Montclair NAACP.
Montclair is used as an example for magnet school systems across the nation, with school options for science and technology, gifted and talented, STEM, a Montessori Magnet and more.
“If a charter comes in we will lose some of the amazing things that we can off our children,” said Rachel Quinn Egan of Montclair Cares About Schools. “My children are studying Mandarin.”
Darryle Bogan, the charter’s founder, confirmed to CBS2’s Baker she is a parent in town, but would not comment on the appliciation.
The final decision is expected on Sept. 30. If approved, the school could open next year.