2012-02-01 / Schools

Group seeks public input on idea for charter school

FREEHOLD — A group of residents is in the early stages of gauging the public’s opinion about the idea of founding a charter school in Freehold Borough.

According to the State of New Jersey Department of Education website, “A charter school is a public school that operates independently of a local school district’s board of education under a charter granted by the commissioner (of education).

“Once a charter is approved and established, the school is managed by a board of trustees with status as a public agent authorized by the State Board of Education to supervise and control the school. A charter school is a corporate entity with all the powers needed to carry out its charter program.”

Richard Ginn is serving as a spokesman for a group of residents who are considering the possibility of seeking approval for the creation of the Beta Charter School.

Ginn said the charter school would create an innovative learning environment that includes a personalized learning program for all students, a longer instructional day, and technologically enhanced curriculum that fosters creativity and problem solving.

He discussed the idea of a charter school with members of the Freehold Borough School District Board of Education on Jan. 23. Ginn said he is hoping to engage board members in a dialogue about the issue.

He said the residents want to solicit feedback from the public as to whether a charter school is something that should be pursued in Freehold Borough. An online community survey can be found by visiting www.betacharter.org.

“If we don’t feel the town wants it, we won’t put in the application, but we believe we will see positive feedback,” he said.

Ginn said the residents who are looking into the idea of creating a charter school have no desire to be “competitive or confrontational” with the board, and he commended the board, the teachers and the administration for what he called their “Herculean” efforts to educate borough children with fewer resources than other school districts.

Ginn, a former administrator in the Freehold Township School District, said information about charter schools is expected to be presented at the Feb. 21 meeting of the Borough Council.

Those behind the charter school idea “are eager to speak with any community, business, or religious organizations that would like to hear a presentation,” he said.

He said initial plans might call for the charter school to open with classes for kindergarten, first, second and third grade. He said the charter school group does not have a location for the school at this time.

— Clare Marie Celano

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