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.