Hebrew Immersion Charter School To Open Next Year
School officials in Englewood and Teaneck reviewing impact, plan to discuss with BoE.
A controversial Hebrew immersion charter school will open a year later than expected after it failed to meet state requirements, officials said in a statement Friday.
Shalom Academy Charter School was originally slated to open this fall and had already started registering students from Teaneck and Englewood for the upcoming school year. The fate of those slots was not immediately clear.
Shalom Academy founder Raphael Bachrach did not return calls and e-mails for comment Friday. Bachrach has not returned repeated requests for comment and much of the details of the charter school remain unclear.
"I would assume the school will be communicating directly with families on this," Department of Education spokesman Justin Barra said of the enrollment.
The school advertised a public meeting to be held at the Englewood Public Library Friday but a library employee said the group was “escorted out” for not properly registering the meeting space.
The school’s location also remained unknown Friday. Documents obtained by Patch list an address on William Street in Englewood but property owners have said they have no plans to sell or move out.
“Since it is not opening this year, we do not know the location right now for 2012,” Barra said.
The school did not submit a Certificate of Occupancy for the building, Barra said.
The news came in a statement issued by the state Education Department around 6 p.m. Friday. Nine other charter schools were approved to open in September, the statement said.
“The Christie Administration’s commitment to approving quality charter schools demonstrates the high bar that we must have for any school that is serving New Jersey students,” Acting Education Commissioner Christopher D. Cerf said in the statement.
Teaneck Board of Education President Ardie Walser said the Board plans to discuss the impact of the charter's delayed opening in August. Teaneck had budgeted $1.4 million for Shalom Academy. Nearly all of the school’s 160 spots were filled, according to the school’s website.
"We are cautious with public funds and try to plan everything well. We don’t want to rush to any judgment about use of funds previously designated for Shalom Charter," Teaneck Schools Superintendent Barbara Pinsak said in an e-mail Monday morning.
Englewood School District Superintendent Donald Carlisle also said Shalom Academy would be discussed at an upcoming Board of Education meeting. City schools had filed an appeal in an attempt to block the charter school from opening.
"We're not over here celebrating. We are upset," Carlisle said. "We were prepared to work with those folks as neighbors."
Carlisle said he understood that locating a facility suitable for a school was difficult.
Note: This article was first published Friday, but has since been updated with comments from Teaneck school officials. Check back for updates on this developing story.