The NJ Interdistrict Public School Choice program allows students the option of attending a public school outside their district of residence without cost to their parents. For parents seeking that option, the number of available, new seats in the school choice program and participating schools for the upcoming, school year 2012-13 are strategic pieces of information. NJ Governor Chris Christie’s administration and the New Jersey Department of Education have just announced new availabilities for choice in the state’s Interdistrict Public School Choice Program.
Enlarged Interdistrict Choice Program
For the 2012-13 school year, there will be more than 3,000 families able to select the public school option that best fits their children’s needs in the 2012-2013 school year. This coming fall, 3,126 new seats are being offered by 71 school districts approved to participate in the Interdistrict Public School Choice program.
The Interdistrict Public School Choice Program was signed into law by Governor Christie on September 10, 2010. There are currently 1,878 students in the program in the 2011-2012 school year.
A list of participating schools in the Interdistrict Public School Choice program is online at the NJ State Department of Education. 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 will choose the students by lottery.
Who is eligible to apply?
Any school-age student, who is a resident of New Jersey, is eligible to enroll in the Interdistrict Public School 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.
“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.”
Intent to participate form, application, and deadlines for both
Parents who would like their child to take part in the program may obtain an Intent to Participate form from the NJDOE website. The Intent to Participate Form must be returned 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.
Local Board of Education decision
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.
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.
Hunterdon County district in program
This year, Elsinboro Township District in Salem County and Franklin Township District in Hunterdon joined the program.
Empowerment of every learner
As parents consider opportunities for their children, the NJDOE and public school system seek to provide flexibility and opportunities for success for every learner through expansion of the Interdistrict Public School Choice Program. Choice in electing a public school program for a learner is an important responsibility. In a 21st century Knowledge Era, education is a critical key to success for every learner.
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