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State Blocks Teaneck-Englewood Hebrew Immersion Charter School

Department of Education denies Shalom Academy Charter School application.

State officials rejected a bid to open a Hebrew immersion charter school for students in Englewood and Teaneck, saying the school had not proven it was ready and could not supply the required documents.

Shalom Academy Charter School failed to provide a certificate of occupancy for educational use, a fire inspection certificate for educational facilities and a "sanitary inspection report with satisfactory rating," Acting Education Commissioner Chris Cerf wrote in a letter to school founder Raphael Bachrach.

"The Board of Trustees and founders of Shalom Academy Charter School have not only failed to meet the necessary statutory and regulatory requirements to gain final approval, but have also not demonstrated overall leadership and organization capacity," Cerf said in the letter, dated Monday.

Bachrach and a school representative did not respond to requests for comment. 

Shalom Academy’s first application to open in fall 2011 was delayed when the school could not secure a building. The school can re-apply by April 2013 or challenge the decision in court.

Shalom Academy was one of 10 schools denied a charter, education officials said in a statement. Nine charter schools across New Jersey were approved to open in the fall.

“We must hold a high bar for any school that serves New Jersey students, and we are confident that these schools have the academic and operational components in place to provide a high-quality choice on day one,” Cerf said in a statement.

Shalom Academy faced controversy throughout its attempt at approval. Englewood schools officials filed a legal challenge to block the school, and district officials in Teaneck expressed concerns about the program.

Once slated to, Shalom Academy was unable to secure the location and state education officials granted the school a “planning year” in 2011. In June, the  in Teaneck, but a zoning board hearing was delayed, prompting the school to seek temporary space in Englewood.

Shalom Academy planned to enroll 160 students. The school filled those spots and some grades had waiting lists, a representative said in June. 

Teaneck and Englewood were required to allocate funds for students from each community to attend the K-5 charter school. The Teaneck Board of Education allocated $1.4 million for Shalom Academy as part of the 2012-2013 budget while Englewood had set aside about $785,000.

"We will work the $1.4 million, or as much of it as we are permitted to, back into the classroom," said Teaneck Board of Education President Ardie Walser. The district pulled money from other district programs to meet the required allocation for Shalom Academy, he added. 

 

 

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JamesTS July 17, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Right decision here. This school was very questionable from the start.
Charisse Viscomi Santos July 17, 2012 at 12:39 AM
So what happens to the money that the Teaneck BOE allocated now that this school will not open?
steve savitz July 17, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Right decision to reject but for the wrong reasons. Should have been permanently rejected for not serving the needs of all public school students
zizi July 17, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Why not give back the money to the Tax payers........ "We will work the $1.4 million, or as much of it as we are permitted to, back into the classroom," said Teaneck Board of Education President Ardie Walser. The district pulled money from other district programs to meet the required allocation for Shalom Academy, he added.
shimon baum July 17, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Yeah what a brilliant decision because why would they want to offer people more choices. How bout serving the needs of people who don't send their kids to public school. But of course we can't have that.
JamesTS July 17, 2012 at 02:22 PM
This school couldnt even find a proper buidling and meet fire codes. They were not ready to open a real school and do not understand what it means to be responsible and run a school.
Dee Are July 17, 2012 at 03:22 PM
any language immersion charter school can be considered as not serving the "need" of anyone. Who "needs" any language immersion? The issue is choice for those who "want" language immersion and it seems that people feel that those who "want" will be those who are looking for Hebrew in a public school as a replacement for the more expensive Hebrew in private school. I don't think that this will be uniformly the case. As such, the issue of "need" is rendered irrelevant as it would be for any charter school, and the issue of "want" is as personal as any other preference. I expect that a Hebrew immersion public school will do a BETTER job of language instruction than a private Jewish school but will not address the religious/socio-cultural role and application of hebrew which is, to my mind, what makes the language relevant (as this would be a breach of the church/state wall). Thus, I wouldn't send my child there because it serves neither my need, nor my want. But then again, neither would a Russian, Spanish or Latin immersion charter school.
Tee Smyth July 17, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Don't want public school? Go to private school. Problem solved.
Karin Kiesow-Irvine July 17, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Private schools serve the needs of those that do not use the public school system. Charter schools are PUBLIC SCHOOLS!
JamesTS July 17, 2012 at 04:37 PM
This is not about "Public vs. Priviate schools" NJ laws allow for charter schools. That is how it is. What this is about for me is a very low quality school trying to move into Teaneck/Englewood. The school should not be approved for reasons above and discussed before. It is not about anythign else for me.
zizi July 18, 2012 at 03:59 AM
Teesmyth: I guess you have a very simplistic mind..... We want public schools that serve our kids well..... make them ready for job/education market... we want to spend less on overhead and more on education.... that is what people like you don't understand...... Most people confuse spending on education with teachers/administrators compensation....... no sir..... Teaneck administrators and teachers already makes a lot more than than peers and we should not allow any raises in that regard. If we can keep our salaries/benefits the same or actually reduce them than we will have more to spend on our kids.....
steve savitz July 18, 2012 at 09:17 PM
This IS about public vs private school funding. Does anyone really think that the hebrew emersion school will attract a diverse population simiilar to our current Teaneck public and charter schools? Isnt that what public schools are for? Charter schools were not set up to help one group beat the system by claiming anyone can enrol in the hebrew emersion shooll. Nonsense, and they know it. That is the beauty of true provate schools, if you have the cash and the school does what you want it to do- go for it. Dont try to corrup tand game the the public school education system to help a select few find a home to avoid paying private school tuition.
steve savitz July 18, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Resubmitted with corrections: This IS about public vs private school funding. Does anyone really think that the hebrew emersion school will attract a diverse population similar to our current Teaneck public and charter schools? Isn't that what public schools are for? Charter schools were not set up to help one group beat the system by claiming anyone can enroll in the hebrew emersion school. Nonsense, and they know it. That is the beauty of true private schools, if you have the cash and the school does what you want it to do- go for it. Dont try to corrupt and game the the public school education system to help a select few find a home to avoid paying private school tuition.
Dee Are July 18, 2012 at 10:27 PM
do you feel the same about other language immersion charter schools? or do you say this because you think that the SACS would be a way for those who want religious schools to get a good equivalent for free because the SACS will not provide the religious education and will thus, not be a reasonable replacement for many. do you think that there should not be a spanish language immersion charter school in a community with a spanish speaking population, or specifically in a community with no spanish speaking people?

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