The second of two forums on the proposed expansion of the Princeton Charter School will be held tonight at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at the John Witherspoon Middle School.
Superintendent of Schools Steve Cochrane will discuss how the Princeton Public Schools would be affected by an expansion of the charter school. Julia Sass Rubin, a professor with the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, will give a presentation comparing demographics and costs per pupil for the Princeton Public Schools and Princeton Charter School. Officials said there will be time for questions.
Larry Patton, head of the Princeton Charter School, wrote a letter to Cochrane this week about the presentation, one of two this week. Charter school officials claim Rubin’s presentations contain inaccurate and misleading information. The letter follows.
Dear Mr. Cochrane,
Based on my understanding that you have asked Julia Sass Rubin, of Save Our Schools, an anti Charter School lobbyist, to make presentations to parents and the community, I wanted to reach out to you to share my concerns. I found the information presented by Ms. Rubin at the December 13 PPS Board meeting to be inaccurate and misleading. Given the supposed highly touted and celebrated credentials of Ms. Rubin as an “expert” in these matters, I am at as loss as to why such basic and misleading errors are present in her analysis. More important, however, is that it is my view that by soliciting her analysis and privileging her access at the board meeting, at a special meeting for Princeton Public School parents, and at a public meeting, you as Superintendent stand behind her calculations and report as the findings of the district.
I feel that the presentations this week mark a significant crossroad for you as Superintendent because such inaccurate information that misleads the citizens of Princeton is unfair and disrespectful of the students, families, and teachers at Princeton Charter School. I also feel that the information she will present has the tacit endorsement of your office and the Princeton Public Schools district since she has been invited by you to represent the facts and figures.
Primary among my concerns with her presentation at the Board Meeting on 12/13/17 are:
Her statement that PCS does not have any non-speech Special Education students.
Her statement that there are no costs of Special Education for the Charter School.
Reliance on a mystery report that she could not explain, that was not produced, that states that PCS underperforms in comparison to all Princeton Public Schools, which also is not corroborated by any information released by the New Jersey Department of Education.
Representation of the cost per pupil of a PPS student that removes the cost of Special Education and the Charter School, without correspondingly removing Charter School students and Special Education students from the total number of students used to determine the per pupil amount. (An error that results in thousands of dollars of discrepancy in per pupil costs.)
The erroneous facts presented by Ms. Rubin seem intended to have a strongly negative impact on the public’s view of the Charter School and has raised the hostility against our families and “our students.” I share these concerns with you as I feel that her presentation and your endorsement of her position reflects upon your judgment in this matter.