TRENTON – The New Jersey Department of Education announced that more than 3,000 families will be able to select the public school option that best fits their children’s needs in the 2012-2013 school year.
This fall, 3,126 new seats are being offered by 71 school districts approved to participate in the Interdistrict Choice program, which allows students the option of attending a public school outside their district of residence without cost to their parents. There are currently 1,878 students in the program in the 2011-2012 school year.
“All children, regardless of where they are born, should have the same hope and opportunity that comes with attending a school that works best for them. The Interdistrict Public School Choice program empowers parents to make the best educational choices for their children, so they have the best chance for a successful future,” Acting Education Commissioner Chris Cerf said. “This program also allows districts to maximize enrollment and more efficiently use space in their schools.”
Any student in the state is eligible to enroll in the Interdistrict Choice program, regardless of whether or not their home district is participating. Transportation of up to 20 miles, or funds to pay for transportation, will be provided by the district of residence to a student going to a choice school. If the school is outside of the 20-mile radius, transportation will be the responsibility of the student, parents or guardians.
Parents who would like their child to take part in the program may obtain an Intent to Participate form from the NJDOE website at http://www.state.nj.us/education/choice/forms/NoticeOfIntentForm.pdf and return it to their home district by the November 1, 2011, deadline. Applications may be obtained by contacting the choice school districts directly and are due by December 1, 2011.
District participation in the program is optional. The decision to apply to participate is made by the local board of education. The district then sends an application to the Department of Education for processing and review. This year, Elsinboro Township District in Salem County and Franklin Township District in Hunterdon joined the program.
The choice school sets the number of openings per grade level. If there are more students requesting admission to the school than there are available openings, the school chooses the students by lottery. Any school-age student who is a resident of New Jersey is eligible to take advantage of this program.
The Interdistrict School Choice Program was signed into law by Governor Christie on September 10, 2010. Details on the program can be found here: http://www.state.nj.us/education/choice
A list of schools participating in the program can be found here: http://www.state.nj.us/education/choice/districts/
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