A Hebrew charter school that was to open this fall in Englewood, serving the largely Orthodox communities of that northern New Jersey city and neighboring Teaneck, has postponed its launch by a year, families of prospective students learned last week.
In an email message, the Shalom Academy Charter School announced that the State Department of Education granted the school “a planning year to open in September 2012 instead of 2011.”
The planned enrollment for the elementary school is 160 students.
While the school had received state approval for a variety of fiscal, zoning and other requirements, “we were not given certain certificates in time for final approval,” the message stated. “We sincerely regret that many of you will be inconvenienced by the State’s decision and hope you will reapply for the 2012 school year.”
One Teaneck father of two young children, both of whom he had planned to enroll in the charter school in the next few years, said fellow parents who had counted on putting their children in the Shalom Academy as a way to avoid the high tuition charged by Orthodox day schools, were “disappointed” by the sudden announcement, which arrived just before Shabbat began last week. “It’s a major blow.
“There is anger because they were left in the dark [about the school’s fate] until the end,” said the father, who asked that his name not be printed.
Some families had counted on enrolling their children in the charter school this fall and are scrambling to find another Jewish school with openings, he said, adding that he will probably still consider sending his children to the Shalom Academy if it does open next year.
The parents want more input in the planning of the nascent school, he said. “We want to be a lot more in the loop.”