Princeton Council Slated to Approve Resolution Opposing Charter School Expansion

The Princeton Council is planning to pass a resolution tonight at the 7 p.m. public meeting opposing the expansion of the Princeton Charter School.

In the past in the consolidated Princeton, Princeton Township and Princeton Borough, the governing body’s official position was to never take a position on school issues. When residents asked the council to pass a resolution a few years ago supporting the reuse of the old portion of the Valley Road School as a community center, school officials asked them to to interfere in school affairs, and they did not. But school officials opposed the community center proposal.

School officials are now urging the Princeton Council to get involved in the charter school issue. Mayor Liz Lempert is a founding member of Save Our Schools, and new Princeton Councilman Tim Quinn is a former school board president.

The Keep PPS Strong group that is opposing the charter school expansion is hoping to get more than 100 people to attend the meeting to urge the council to pass the resolution. Charter school opponents say the proposed addition of 76 students to the charter school will cost the Princeton Public Schools $1.18 million a year.


  1. I remember The Valley Rd building issue, a building that is slowly rotting by the way, and that PPS prefers to use as an storage site and rejected the possibility of reusing it (so much fot a town that prides itself to be a Silver Sustainable whatever nonsense) and that the mayor and the council could not interfere… how convenient it is that now they get involved.
    I am all for the expansion of the PCS, with a condition: that PCS advertise and reach out to the community; some people don’t know that there is another possibility for their kids and those are mostly the low income Hispanic families with kids born in this country and living in this town. PCS should reach out more and mail information in English and Spanish to every single family in town; so, they can fill out an application and participate in the so called lottery. If they do that, I am all for its expansion, and by the way, my child doesn’t attend PPS or PCS.

    1. Hi Sandra,

      PCS has done pretty extensive, individualized outreach, and is posting its lottery signs in Spanish and well as English. I’m going to pass along your suggestion to PCS admin and see if they have any ideas along the lines of Spanish-language leafletting in certain neighborhoods. Everyone I know at PCS (me among them) agrees it is only fair that we give 1) what we think is a great education opportunity and 2) adequate support to English Language Learners.

      1. another great idea would to be to give up the sibling preference. this would prove that PCS is committed to changing its demographics. It is also the “fair” thing to do, as this is a public school, so every potential student should have the same chance in the lottery, regardless of siblings.

        1. Hi Valerie,

          The reason this went into place initially was to not inconvenience families who wanted a kid to go (e.g., one kid at PCS and one kid elsewhere is hard). Also, with the weighted lottery idea, the sibling preference will be a boon to diversity as one disadvantaged kid gets a seat, his/her siblings all get preference, and then the socioeconomic mix changes substantially in a few years in a way it might not absent the sibling pref.

          1. Why wouldn’t the president of PCS commit to putting the lottery in place regardless of the expansion passing last night when asked about it?

            1. Very interesting question! A cynic might suggest that double-weighting the disadvantaged without expanding enrollment might actually shift the demographics further than the school would prefer. The horror! A cynic might also suggest that the guy is being a bit of a brat and using the lottery adjustment as some sort of quid pro quo–do what we want or we’ll keep the school practically all white. Which, let’s face it, it will still be regardless of the lottery double-weight. TA cynic might further suggest that the changes to the lottery are basically a free way for Charter to look as though it’s doing the right thing without taking much genuine “risk” with respect to the demographic makeup its adherents quietly prefer. Poor kids who don’t speak English aren’t going to be entered into the lottery no matter how much window-dressing type “outreach” the school may do. And they know it. Heck, quadruple weight them! They’re still not going to show up.

              1. “the guy is being a bit of a brat?” Come again? Did you perhaps mean to say that without adequate support, PCS would not be able to educate ELLs to their full potential? Or were you trying to say that PCS should cater to no ELLs, live down to its (undeserved) stereotype, and convince no parents of ELLs to apply, so you’ve got yourself a self-fulfilling prophecy? Tricky, tricky.

                1. None of the above. Let me state it plainly: I do not believe the charter school, nor the majority of those associated with it, has any genuine interest in having more poor, non-white, and/or difficult-to-educate kids in their midst, lip service to the contrary. Clear enough?

                  1. It is clear enough that you have your fingers in your ears and are interested in a misinformation campaign vs. a discussion, yes. No wonder you don’t own what you write under your real name, as it’s ridiculously untrue.

                    1. Wrong yet again. I hear what the charter school is saying. I just don’t believe it for a second. Sorry. And this is my real name, Ms. Schartman–I mean, Winslow, or whatever handle you’re using this week.

                    2. I always post on PP’s website as Liz Winslow, which is my legal surname. I use Liz Winslow Schartman on Facebook only so I’m identifiable with my kids to other parents (how flattering to know I have an internet stalker!). But wow, you are working overtime on the conspiracy theories! So now we know that you think everyone you don’t agree with is a liar. Do you have anything else to add to the conversation, or any support for that?

                    3. I don’t think everyone I disagree with is a liar. But I do think that many of those who profess to want to make the charter school more diverse and who are somehow trying to tie the expansion to this are being disingenuous. Nothing to add beyond that, no.

                    4. So you don’t have any reason to disbelieve Charter, other than – to disbelieve Charter. Is that right?

                    5. Do I have proof that Charter is filled with a bunch of closet elitists who pretend to be down with the people by sending their kids to public school despite the desire (and the means in many cases) to obtain the private school academics and atmosphere they so desperately crave? No. Though I do happen to know many who fit that description.

                    6. Name them. If you want to make accusations like that (under your “own name”), then let’s hear you out, and let those folks respond. Otherwise, it’s tough to believe you’re not just one more person with an agenda who’ll say anything to push it.

                    7. You’ve said you think Charter is lying about wanting to serve a more diverse population, and the one hint of support for that you’ve provided is that “Charter is filled with a bunch of closet elitists who pretend to be down
                      with the people by sending their kids to public school despite the
                      desire (and the means in many cases) to obtain the private school
                      academics and atmosphere they so desperately crave?” So it’s pretty obvious you’re anti-expansion. That is what people who come up with good internet screen names can recognize as an agenda.

                      -And with that, I’m out. Maybe I’ll see you around under a different screen name.

                    8. Please read over our comment policy regarding using multiple screen names on this website. According to our records you have used several handles. Pick one and stick to it. Thanks

                    9. Incredible lack of internet footprint, btw, if this is your real name. Yet you decide to use it… in a small town comments section? To each his own.

                    10. What can I say? I’m low profile. Under the radar. The hidden hand. Quietly exercising my considerable power from a shadowy perch on the fringe of society…would Batman splatter his business all over the internet? I think not.

                    11. So hidden you’ve no Facebook profile, no LinkedIn profile, no record of any property purchases on NJ Parcels, and no phone number listed anywhere in the U.S. Who Albert W. Money WAS was a munitions author about a century ago. I think all that’s splattering here is your credibility.

                    12. Lol. I’m the stalker? Classic. You’re so easy to wind up that it’s almost becoming a sport.

                    13. Most people are better liars than you are, that’s all. But you go on and keep practicing. You’ll get there one day.

                2. Adequate support? What support is being denied to the PCS? What is preventing PCS from teaching more ELLs today? Are you suggesting that without the expansion, PCS would not be able to properly educate ELLs? Why would that be?

          2. The proposed expansion doesn’t state that this *will* change demographic numbers, just that they *hope* it will.

            Has anyone run numbers for how the weighted lottery will work in reality? I’m presuming PCS could do that with past application numbers.

            The lottery is already weighted by community demographics towards affluent and white, so I’m wary that giving economically disadvantaged students one extra try will actually level the admission playing field.

    2. Agree that there’s deep irony in our town’s sustainability label. What’s happening to municipal & school buildings is sad. Over 80 million dollars applied to PHS & JW not long ago, enough to build 4 schools, & District leaders are finding PHS & JW inadequate now. They didn’t have to spend a single cent for a consultant to tell us Valley Road would be too expensive to renovate, after those PHS/JW renovations. One of my ancient relatives looked Val. Road & said…”can’t turn that pig’s ear into a silk purse now”. While my confidence in school leadership has evaporated, I do believe in our kids & in our teachers. Give them space anywhere, & the supplies they need, and they will shine. Your push for more outreach & inclusion in all schools is great. Thanks for sharing that!

  2. I was disheartened last night at the council mtg. to hear PCS Head of School Larry Patton say that the lottery may or may not be weighted in favor of diversity if the expansion does not go through. Seems like that should be in place regardless of expansion.

  3. Yes, agreed. Should be weighted regardless. And the sibling preference should go. That would help too with regard to the issue of demographics. Sibling preference is a luxury of private schools, every student-citizen should have the same chance to get into a public school. It’s the only fair way to enroll. As far as I know, siblings still get priority. Perhaps that has changed?

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