New Jersey should put charter school applications on a “short hiatus” while the schools can be carefully studied, State Senator Loretta Weinberg said.
Weinberg told Patch she wanted a brief hold on the applications and said it was time to review the positives and negatives of the schools.
Charter school regulations must also be updated to address new online schools, the senator said.
Weinberg said she supports charters, but wanted to see data before any widespread approval of the schools.
In a video interview posted on BlueJersey.com, Weinberg reiterated her call for a "short moratorium" on charter applications and said she admired fellow Teaneck residents for braving the cold to protest Gov. Chris Christie’s press conference at the Teaneck Armory Thursday. Around 20 protesters gathered to voice opposition to the proposed Garden State Virtual Charter School, which officials have said could cost the district $15.4 million.
Weinberg questioned the thinking behind a letter sent from the state to Teaneck telling the district to prepare for a possible $15.4 million budget hit from the proposed online charter school.
"Somebody didn't use their head, and that's being kind," she said of the letter sent to Teaneck school officials.
State officials have said the number was only a budgeting guide, not a requirement. The exact cost would vary based on how many students from Teaneck enrolled in the statewide online school.
The state’s letter has sparked outrage and concern in Teaneck. Local school officials have said the $15.4 million figure represented around 20 percent of the public school budget and would force massive cuts to staff and programs.
The Board of Education filed a petition to block the school and a court hearing has been scheduled for Monday.
Jason Flynn, the proposed school's co-founder and a Teaneck parent, has said he would delay its opening if regulations for virtual schools are not addressed. The state will announce in January if the charter school is approved.