On March 6, 2020, President of the New Jersey Charter Schools Association, Harry Lee and JerseyCAN Executive Director, Patricia Morgan wrote an opinion piece for NJ.com discussing the need for $900M to repair and upgrade Charter and Renaissance schools over the coming decade.
Every student in New Jersey deserves to go to school in a safe, secure, and healthy school building. Since the 1980s (when the New Jersey Supreme Court established a constitutional mandate that the state provide funding to low-income school districts), the state of New Jersey has spent roughly $15 billion on school construction and repair, much of it in our neediest districts. This support has been critical to creating safe, modern school facilities in communities like Newark, Camden, Trenton and Paterson.
However, the makeup of the school community and options have changed dramatically in these districts over the last 20 years. In the 1990s, the first public charter schools in New Jersey were just getting off the ground. Today, public charter and renaissance schools serve 60,000 kids statewide — and nearly one-in-five students in the former Abbott districts. Public charter and renaissance schools are a critical option for many families yet they have not received any funding for facilities from the state. This isn’t fair to these families or reflective of a commitment to creating safe, modern public schools for all students.