State Department of Education approves Princeton Charter School expansion

The New Jersey Department of Education has approved the Princeton Charter School’s  controversial plan to expand its student body by 76 students and offer a weighted lottery to benefit economically disadvantaged students.

The approval comes in spite of a campaign opposing the expansion. A petition calling for the state to deny the application received more than 3,000 signatures.

“We thank the Acting Commissioner Kimberley Harrington for approving the request in its entirety to amend our charter to implement our proposed access and equity plan, allowing for the implementation a weighted enrollment lottery and enhanced support services for economically disadvantaged and special education students through a modest increase of the school’s enrollment by 76 students,” said Paul Josephson, chairman of the Princeton Charter School Board of Trustees, in a statement about the commissioner’s decision to approve the school’s amended charter.

“The Commissioner should be commended for taking a thoughtful and deliberate approach to our application, judiciously considering both public sentiment and the actual merits of the request. Over the last few months, this charter amendment request has been at the center of a heated debate within our community that has primarily focused on the anticipated impact that the enrollment expansion will have on the school district,” Josephson said. “It is unfortunate that school funding laws put our public schools at odds at moments like these, and we reiterate our call that the Princeton Public Schools work with us to find a legislative solution that makes us allies in the cause of better public education. As we have stated many times publicly, we are confident that the access and equity plan, phased in over two years, will have minimal financial impact to the school district.”

As of 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, school district officials had not responded to a request for comment on the decision.

Josephson said Princeton Charter School’s ability to enroll more Princeton students will relieve some of additional burden to the Princeton Public Schools associated with the influx of younger school aged children moving into Princeton, a claim school district officials have rejected.

“A weighted lottery will ensure that more ethnically diverse, socio-economically disadvantaged students are given the opportunity to attend Princeton Charter School,” said Josephson, adding that the school is open to continuing our discussions with the school district to find innovative ways to collaborate and reduce costs for both the charter school and the district. District officials say the expansion will cost the district $1.2 million a year.

“The public debate over the Princeton Charter School expansion, while contentious, demonstrates that Princeton is filled with smart, passionate people who aren’t shy about advocating for what is best for our children,” Josephson said. “This level of passion is encouraging. We hope all can agree after this debate that nobody has a monopoly on the best educational solution. As a community with many visions of what is best, having a choice in public education makes Princeton an even more attractive place to live. I am confident that the PCS and PPS community will be able to find common ground going forward and that we can work together, collaboratively and in good faith, to provide the best possible public educational opportunities for all Princeton students.”

Representatives from the Princeton Charter School and the Princeton Public Schools met three times to try to negotiate a settlement regarding the expansion but could not come to an agreement. The next move was up to the Princeton Public Schools. The Charter School was still waiting for a response from the Princeton Public Schools after the most recent meeting.

Please share your thoughts on this story.

  • Just because something has been in place for 20 years doesn’t mean it can’t or shouldn’t be corrected. My comments about the potential danger to our local public school IS looking to the future. I don’t agree that anything I have said is virtiol towards PCS. It’s a statement of facts as I see them.

    Congratulations on having lived through recent history. I’m not sure how any of that relates to our local issue of public schools, other than to distract from my statements and move the goalposts. Public schools are a bedrock of our society which has been under increasing attack. Just saying “aw shucks, stuff will get better” or “maybe it won’t be as bad” isn’t a luxury we as a society can afford.

  • Krystal – please look at syntax, post timing, etc. on Parent2 and whywhy3 – sound like same person, same IP, different handles. In which case, I am disinclined to engage further in discussion.

  • HI Parent2 – another parent asked pretty much the same thing on Planet
    Princeton’s FB page, so if you don’t mind, I’ll just copy my response
    from there to save time.

    good about PCS? It sounds silly, but there’s something in the sauce.
    I’d describe it mainly that all of the teachers are incredibly
    dedicated (they’d have to be, for what they earn), and they watch over
    each other; if someone’s not pulling their weight, they’re told. The
    teachers are very much a community and nobody’s afraid to give or
    receive constructive criticism.

    PCS uses
    team-teaching, and also differentiates by subject starting in third
    grade, meaning that students have a science teacher, a history teacher,
    etc., not a single teacher who’s responsible for all subject matter. So
    there’s more subject expertise.

    World language is started in K, and instruction happens every day starting in 1st.

    school has time devoted to homework and is staffed by tutors or
    teachers – the kids sit at a horseshoe-shaped desk with the teacher in
    the middle to help. That’s a sharp contrast to the afterschool my kids
    experienced supervised by the Y at LB.

    I wish the
    class sizes were smaller too, but the smaller groups each class is
    divided into tend to work. And somehow, despite the sizes, there’s
    plenty of individual attention where needed. I’ll cite my own (special
    needs) kid as an example, and go where many parents won’t: he scored
    abysmally on standardized testing for some of his language skills. The
    school is all over helping him, and giving me suggestions at home.
    Further, if I email a teacher or administrator, I usually have a
    well-considered response within a day, if not an hour.

    thing of this is, PPS is not a *bad* school system. Nobody’s saying
    it’s PCS or the equivalent to Newark public schools. But PPS was a
    terrible experience for our oldest, and we would have moved had he not,
    literally, won the lottery. If my oldest didn’t exist, I’m sure we
    would’ve stayed happily at LB with our neurotypical middle child and
    never given a thought to PCS. I’ll also say that I actually do have
    another (also special needs – our boys were not lucky) child in the
    self-contained handicapped classroom in Riverside, and we’re thrilled
    with the care and education he’s getting. If he is unable to be
    mainstreamed in K, we will probably keep him in PPS special ed, because
    having started there, he’s known to the teachers, etc.

    if the conversation veers to money, I think it is only fair to bring up
    the ways PPS is pretty free and easy with what it spends.

    Hope that helps and sorry for length. Feel free to ask anything else….

    commenter asked about potential for rich kids to get spots better used
    by disabled or poor kids, hence the following answer]:

    was fundamentally why I supported the expansion, for the concern you
    voice about the roll of the dice. If I were being selfish, I’d want the
    school to never change, because it’s perfect for Tristan, and any
    change has its growing pains. But with
    the application list 4 times oversubscribed for available seats, it
    seems like the right thing to do to support other children having the
    same opportunity mine did. PCS is very committed to expanding its
    socioeconomic and racial diversity, and I hope they succeed; I
    deliberately took my kids with me to distribute flyers in a less
    advantaged area of town so they could appreciate their own relative

    Another thing about PCS – they’re willing
    to work with kids on the little things (say, if Tristan is overwhelmed
    and wants to hide under his chair for five minutes, as long as he’s not
    disruptive, they just let him, and when he’s ready he sits back in his
    chair and participates in class; our experience at LB was largely that
    the situation would escalate and result in a trip to the principal’s
    office as a discipline problem). Our experience with special ed at PPS
    with Aaron was terrific, but Tristan fell through the cracks. So that’s
    a reason I’m so passionate about defending PCS, because many kids there
    have fallen through the cracks in some way at PPS. My fondest wish
    would be that PPS and PCS learn best practices from each other, and in
    20 years everyone unanimously votes to consolidate the schools. A girl
    can dream

    An addendum to my answer on FB: PCS does lack certain things, such as Smartboards, fancy expensive gardens, and renovated locker rooms. To me, those are frills, not necessary to education and certainly not want I want my own tax dollars spent on.

  • Well, first – if going back 20 years something like 1/3 of K students were applying to a school that didn’t even exist yet, that shows something’s rotten in the state of Denmark. Those numbers haven’t much changed. How come you don’t go ask PPS what they’re doing – that isn’t a negative against but a positive for – encouraging less interest in PCS? That is – stop with the false scare tactics that Latinos and parents of working kids aren’t welcome, and start with how PPS will definitely serve those populations better. And ask them to bring fact, not anecdote.

  • Your support of PCS sounds purely anecdotal. What are your ideological defenses of expanding the PCS?

  • In an effort at perhaps humanizing the discussion – and reminding people that little boys and girls are the end objects of their ire – I’m reposting this exchange on social media, when a neighbor expressed anger over PCS’s expansion. I hope it goes some way to explaining another POV.

    I have a different POV. Due to genetic problems currently being
    pinned down by CHOP, my boys have problems. Our youngest, age 4, has the
    benefit of being our third parenting rodeo where we knew our rights
    about CSTs, etc. He is now in a self-contained handicapped classroom at
    Riverside, and right now my biggest hope for him is that he one day will
    be mainstreamed.

    Tristan is autistic, has severe ADHD, and
    multiple physical problems (his working diagnosis was FSHD, a form of
    muscular dystrophy, until genetic testing ruled that out…. now we’re
    waiting for yet another round). He was only diagnosed because we went
    through unbelievable effort and expense privately to have him diagnosed.
    Otherwise – if he had an autistic meltdown, and needed five minutes to
    hide – LB escalated the situation and sent him to Annie Kosek’s [LB principal] office.

    Cora, our middle (and genetically, important, neurotypical girl) would bloom wherever she was planted.

    So please, do not demonize Charter parents. [Neighbor] – you know first hand
    Tristan’s…. issues. So do many of the teachers posting on Planet
    Princeton. He was failed by many adults in his life – including his dual
    full-time working parents – until age 5 or so, when I was home full

    We’re not elitists. We’re not snobs. But like Tristan, many
    PCS students fell through the cracks at PPS. Where special education
    and IEPs should have been offered at PPS, Tristan, starting at age 5
    (5!) got to spend several afternoons a week in Annie Kosek’s office as a
    “discipline” problem. Incredibly, this need for multiple visits per
    week to the principal’s office vanished upon arriving at PCS, getting a
    proper IEP in place, and having teachers willing to give him a little

    As for allegations of financial improprieties – I don’t
    know where those are coming from, but anyone with real issues, please
    contact me. I can be found at of 732 762 5257.

    Just ask yourselves, who has the real interest here… the charter
    school, which won’t have to renew for four years and was just granted an
    expansion, or PPS… which is battling over around 1% of its budget?
    Who really had the needs of the kids in mind?

    I am just one
    parent (admittedly with a large social media presence on this issue),
    but demonizing PCS is just wrong. Having recognized the issues with
    Tristan, before Aaron even turned three we’d learned of our rights,
    arranged to have him assessed, and – foregone conclusion – he ended up
    in a preschool handicapped self-contained classroom. But for our first
    rodeo with Tristan? We didn’t. And I find it impossible to believe we
    were the only parents out there who didn’t manage to attain the best for
    their first kids at age 5.

    My fondest hope is that in 20 years
    PCS and PPS will have learned best practices from each other, and
    there’s no need for separation. In the meantime, I am literally
    teary-eyed writing this, because – just reflect a moment – a five year
    old autistic boy was made to spend several days a week during recess in
    the principal’s office as a discipline problem. Do you see why we value

  • This has nothing to do with charter. It has only to do with misrepresenting information, calling for “someone” to get fired, and declaring JW “a mess” and “in shambles.”

    The pages I referred to were from the report that was cited in the ad.

  • He placed a one-page ad. What are you referring to with multiple pages? I honestly don’t know.

    You said nothing explicit about charter, but your feelings were well-telegraphed.

  • That is not accurate. The data presented in the ad primarily refers to proficiency.
    The data presented in the table refers to proficiency. Further, Mr. Gleason draws readers attention to “pages 4, 6, 9, 20, and of course page 3, which highlights the fact that almost 40% of John Witherspoon students are failing statewide math.” Pages 3, 4, 6, and 9 refer to proficiency. The statements about “almost 40%” refer to proficiency.
    Page 20 refers to growth. The description of the data on that page (page 20) is accurate.
    Finally, I did not “hate on charter”. I said nothing about charter.

  • The Cranbury contract renews in 2020. Many would like PPS’s dialogue with Cranbury to begin now, to have Cranbury either: 1) pay the full cost per student or 2) send their 276+- HS students to the many fine schools closer to them. This is a great suggestion because: 1) we recently paid 81million to expand Princeton HS & JW, and administrators of PPS feel they have a space shortage 2) resident taxpayers here are sending a subsidy of 2.2 million to cover Cranbury. In short, the generosity of many Princeton taxpayers has been fully & unfairly tapped out.
    If you’re new to town, I understand why you are thinking change is dropped on folks by local officials like a big surprise. The troubles in our schools now could have been predicted and managed with more finesse. Certainly all hope that the Cranbury matter is handled respectfully, well, & with fairness to Princeton. We have been a very gracious & generous host to Cranbury for decades.

  • I admire you and your husband’s willingness to take these steps. I am a PPS supporter and registered my opposition of the PCS expansion. If I had to vote this minute, I think I would still be in opposition, but I have to say my hard line on it is softening. My hope is PCS will evolve to have demographics that match the town’s. When that happens, I can see myself being a dual supporter.

    But back to my reason for commenting. We may not have shown up, but we are listening.

  • When the mayor is married to a tenured professor and a cofounder of SOS-NJ, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for this.

  • And it’s also worth noting that an actual time bomb is the demographics explosion in Princeton. There’s nowhere to put the kids who are coming in. And while it won’t happen overnight, ratables will increase with new housing coming online. The 76 kids PCS takes in, I suspect, will be more than replaced in both numbers and dollars at PPS in short order.

  • Tony’s data is not on proficiency; it’s on growth (you may remember this as the issue that tripped up Betsy DeVos [not a fan] in front of Al Franken). It’s absolutely true that the MSGPs (Median Student Growth Percentiles) lag peers and state expectation, and puts student growth at the bottom quarter or quintile for LA and math. In a town where 80% of parents have a college degree and over 50% a graduate degree – highly atypical for the state at large – something must be going awry at JW if students there are simply meeting average statewide proficiency scores, and lagging in growth. Hate on charter if you will, but this really is a question that needs to be asked and answered regardless.

  • why isn’t the town and the pps board looking to the university for more money since it’s university graduate housing that has caused this crisis of additional students in town?

  • I do. He pointed out some problems at JW that parents form the school and the community should be aware of and force the Pps Board to address.

  • I doubt with the next governor, who will likely be a Dem, it is very unlikely that any charter expansion will be awarded in the coming years.

  • I am relatively certain that PCS will adjust if needed to increase representation if the current plan does not bear fruit within a few years. They are dedicated to this issue.

  • I agree and don’t understand why more parents and residents in town aren’t up in arms as to Cranbury.

  • Wendy: we would not be leaving cranbury kids in the dust at the 11th hour. Rather the contract needs to be canceled 2 years prior to its consclusion, which is now. Plenty of time for Cranbury to obtain alternate high school arrangements, probably closer to their town. I don’t understand why canceling the contract shouldn’t at least be considered by PPS given the current and projected overcrowding at the high school. Or why parents like you in Princeton are more concerned with Cranbury kids than with our own.
    As for your attempt to chide me into revealing my identity. I prefer to use a “Handle,” as is my right, given the attacks that have been overwhelming by many in the community as is evidenced by the many comments on this and other boards. My comments are honest, forthright and from my heart regardless.

  • This is a sentiment you should express to the virulently anti-PCS crowd, who thinks nothing of calling PCS parents four letter words, harassing them on their personal FB walls, etc. Anyway, you’ve expressed an apparent need to have the last word, so go on, I won’t reply to whatever you say next.

  • I am genuinely really sorry that you don’t understand that defending your children’s school and behaving with civility are not mutually exclusive.

  • Because I wouldn’t stand by silent and let the reputation of my children’s school be bulldozed? If that’s your definition of creating acrimony, so be it.

  • ….and, some charter parents came, but nobody else. That really saddens me. It’s much easier to be hostile when you see someone you disagree with as a character, not a person, and that’s not how rifts mend. The offer still stands if anyone would like to get together 1:1 in the future.

  • Here is where you are wrong:
    (1) You state, “John Witherspoon School is a mess. The data supports a grade of a BIG fat F and someone should be fired.“. You use as your rationale that, “almost 40% of the students don’t meet State expectations.” on the 2014-2015 NJ Academic Achievement test for Math. However, according to the PARCC State Summary Report (, 41% of 6th graders, 37% of 7th graders, and 24% of 8th graders statewide met/exceeded expectations. JW’s 63% across these grades does not constitute a “mess”. It is above state levels using the very same data.
    (2) You state, “The data is clear: Princeton is not even able to achieve anything close to average as far as minority students are concerned”. Not true. Using the same table you reference, the JW Hispanic test score average (Mean Scale Score) is 732. NJ Hispanic average is 731. The JW Students with Disabilities
    average score is 726. 718 for the state. The JW Economically Disadvantaged
    Students’ average score is 729. 729 for the state. Asian average is 779 vs. 768
    for the state. Each of these JW averages are at or above state averages for the same populations.
    (3) You state, “Princeton leaves blank its data for African American and English Learners.” Not true. Princeton did not “do” this. Page 4 of the same report states, “Data is presented for subgroups when the count is high enough under ESEA Waiver suppression rules.” The data are omitted to protect the identity of the students when sample size is exceptionally small.

  • Unlike you, I don’t google people to find ways of discrediting them. Again, you’ve proven my point for me. Your behavior is mean-spirited and you can’t even conceive that other people don’t have similar mean motivations. I made my initial comment because you were calling on people to put the “acrimony” behind them. That isn’t going to happen until you acknowledge the large part you played in creating that acrimony.

  • I’d wager you googled me and didn’t find anything germaine to discredit me in these discussions, not out of mere curiosity. But anyway, I’m done with this subthread. Take the faux victim schtick elsewhere.

  • It is simple math, but I’m not sure you understand it. If a disadvantaged child comes in, that means a non-disadvantaged child doesn’t. Thus within a few years, instead of a new lottery every year, the percentage changes dramatically. You seem like you’re suggesting a sibling preference for disadvantaged students but not for everyone, which is counter to the law. You have the advantage, or you don’t.

  • Wendy – it would be the Board’s decision, if my understanding is correct, not put to a public vote. It would also, as you point out, not be done overnight. Neither was the PCS expansion, which at barely 1% of PPS’s budget, is a mere nick to PPS compared to a) the notice Cranbury would require, and b) the losses Cranbury costs PPS. Are you aware that the losses to educate Cranbury students every year, at about $1.7mm, exceed the PCS expansion cost? Why are you not up in arms about that?

  • Yes, I’ve googled you. But the important distinction is that, unlike you, I didn’t do it to find information to use in nasty comments. It’s amazing that even as you try to defend yourself, you’re doing the exact thing I called you on: making gratuitous, snarky comments with the sole purpose of inflicting hurt. You’ve proven my point for me. And I really don’t care if you use my name. Your focus on the non-issue of my “anonymity” is just a smoke screen to distract from the subject at hand.

  • As long as sibling preference is allowed for the current and predominantly non-minority population , this will not help expand your diversity issue. It’s simple math. Drop the sibling preference for non-minority students until your diversity goals are met. If diversity is a priority. Put your money whet your mouth is. And again, stop hiding behind “handles” rather than your real name.

  • You’re right! Drop sibling preference. It is going to be lop sided in the favor of all the non-minority kids already attending

  • First of all “Charter Mom” Please come forward and reveal who you are. Easy to speak when you’re anonymous.
    Ok… let’s say PPS did consider cancelling that contract…the difference is, it would be done with input and transparency…unlike what PCS did. And again, playing devils advocate here…would you have us just cancel our agreement with them in the 11th hour and leave those children without a school? Maybe you would. And if PPS was a public company you would have to have a VOTE from the Board of Directors before firing everyone as you said. In our case we have the BOE. Perhaps you’re not familiar with this concept.

  • “a system of school choice that harms one group of children to help another is inherently unjust.” I stand by my comments. It’s selfish. You have, however, helped shine a light…actually a spotlight …on PCS. Thank you for that! One that our community will now pay close attention to. I know there are many of us that will be very interested in what PCS is spending “our” tax dollars on.

  • Well-said, Steve. There are a lot of self-professed internet heroes hiding behind their screen names on here. I believe in the early ’90s the equation was worked out that anonymity + audience = expletive. PPS Parent exemplifies this. (I don’t agree with Martha Friend on this topic at all, but I respect her putting herself out there. PPS Parent, not so much).

    And BTW, PCS is not a private school It is a public school open to all who live in Princeton, apply, and get a place in the lottery, with a preference for siblings. You know – just like PPS’s own dual-language immersion program. I look forward to you reporting back on your undertakings to correct PPS’s injustices in these matters.

  • Good Lord. Since you’ve said more than once that you don’t care about anonymity, I still won’t use your real name out of common decency, but if you have a shred of courage, you should simply disclose at this point. (Or not – it takes two seconds to find clicking on your username, because hawking books was apparently VERY important to you).

    Mean-spirited? Have you READ what the anti-PCS crowd posts? Have you listened to what it says? It all boils down to that if one doesn’t follow Julia Sass Rubin lockstep, you’re a traitor to children and taxpayers. That is not a basis for civil discourse, when you start by insulting the other side. Especially when the other side happens to have special needs children currently in the schools, and perhaps a bit more insight both into the situation on the ground in both systems, as well as numerical expertise, vs. raw feeling.

    There are many reasons to use the internet, and in this case, looking you up was because it is simply foolish not to know who you are having an argument/discussion with, if that information is available to you. (Come now – are you truthfully saying that you haven’t googled me? I highly doubt it). That is not stalking. That is coming prepared. What IS ad hominem is calling someone a stalker for having the temerity to find out who’s doling out iffy information, and what their angle might be on it.

  • If you are posting that there isn’t an “in crowd,” either you’re one of them and dissembling, or you have zero idea what you’re talking about and should simply stop commenting.

  • Exactly. The 2% cap is in place explicitly to *prevent* having to have a vote. If the proposed increase were more than 2%, the budget would be legally compelled to be put to a vote.

    So, taxpayers of Princeton – knowing that the Board jumped the cap and went to Trenton for a waiver – why aren’t you demanding a vote on the school budget, as opposed to relying on the 2% cap, which apparently isn’t a real cap in practice anyway? It’s only logically consistent.

  • At this point the genie is out of the bottle since PCS has already been in place for 20 years and now that the NJ BOE decision has come down maybe we ought to look to the future and maybe it won’t be as bad as we thing. I respect your right to your views but maybe we can tone down the vitriol between PPS and PCS. I’ve lived through the end of the cold war, fall of the Berlin wall and reunification of Germany, breakup of the Soviet Empire, formation of the Euro and in America 3 recessions. Those were much greater impacting events that the Charter Expansion fight. Things change and things get better. We sometimes forget that in the heat of the moment. This too shall come to pass.

  • I think you’re missing my point. With the creation of PCS a level of control was ceded. That is the time bomb I’m referring to.

    How can PRS plan for the future knowing that PCS might randomly drop a surprise expansion that PRS hasn’t been appraised of, and has had no way to factor into their budgets and plans.

    PCS has shown they don’t care how their plans impact the rest of our community. This is where the view of PCS being an arrogant, elitist group is, unfortunately, correct.

  • I don’t need to ruminate. You sound educated and intelligent so let’s wait a year from now and revisit. Only time will tell the outcome. We have enough hyperbole in this country. How about let’s let things play out and then see what happens? Maybe PCS and PPS will come together after this NJ DOE decision to figure out a way to work together going forward? Many other possibilities can also occur. But what if no “HUGE” time bomb goes off? Then what? As an intelligent person, which you seem to me, are you saying no other possibility can occur except your “HUGE” time bomb? How can you have so much certainty about a “HUGE” time bomb?

  • PCS has no external input or local oversight. They control dispersal of public funds and the direction of our local public education. In fact, their ability to dictate in these areas supercedes PRS. If you do not see that for the *HUGE* time bomb potential it is then I suggest you ruminate on it a bit longer.

  • If you believe it doesn’t matter how this turn out then why bother with “HUGE” time bomb statements? I don’t get the over zealous outcry of this issue if it doesn’t matter.

  • It doesn’t matter how this turns out.

    This episode has shown PCS has the power over PRS funds with zero input outside of their immediate circle.

  • It’s rather unfortunate in this heated debate that you can mass generalize all PCS parents as “selfish, hypocritical and elitist”. Therefore you are calling me selfish without knowing who I am. Our family tides to the church, give to charity and send our kids on mission trips through church. How are this selfish, hypocritical and elitist values? I know that there are many other similar caring and hardworking families at PCS who share those same values. Would you call me those terms to my face if we happened to meet at a PFC soccer game? Princeton Bluefish swim meet? In a business meeting? It’s easy to be anonymous and say such hurtful things but is that what a PPS parent stands for and that’s what PPS stands for? I certainly who never use that type of language to a PPS parent which by the way I am as I happen to have children at PHS as well. Feelings have been hurt on both sides but this town needs to heal over this issue.

  • 1 – There was no feedback at the state level. There was a decision passed down from a pro-charter appointee. The letters etc. sent in by our town were all after the fact of PCS stating what they were doing.

    2 – there isn’t an “in crowd” at the local level. There is just the community.

  • No, the crux of it is that you search the internet to find personal information so you can make ad hominem attacks against people who disagree with you. That’s mean-spirited. And let me say it again and maybe you’ll understand me this time: I don’t care about anonymity so I have no reason to be careful.

  • Were you, or were you not, at P.U.? That’s the crux of it. And I don’t have time to go back and resurrect every thread on PP’s FB page over the past several months, but I highly doubt anybody was talking about square footage of office space. Anyway, I will leave you to stew, with the parting advice to be more careful about your anonymity next time if it means so much to you.

  • Thank you Valerie for being so gracious. I’m hoping too that we can add more diversity quickly, and I can assure you that lots of folks at PCS – parents, teachers, and administration – are all working hard to spread the word.

  • Disqus is a discussion forum used by lots of websites–not just Planet Princeton. The post about my book is from a website called Words without Borders. I don’t care about anonymity. But I was amazed that when I bowed out of a FB discussion after you and Vivek Pai called me a hypocrite for disagreeing with you, that you then did some online research, decided I was a Rutgers professor (which I am not), and started mocking me (or I should say, the professor you thought I was) and the size of my office and making other ridiculous comments. It was so childish.

    The change I desire is for the PCS to become part of PPS; I did all I could to stop the approval for the expansion. A final word: I do not “rant” on FB and it is wrong of you to characterize my civil and measured comments in that way.

  • Well, then somebody’s impersonating you, because I have the screenshot (which took two seconds by clicking on your user name) of you touting your book and signing your real name at the end. (former lecturer, I stand slightly corrected) Shall I send it to you? Not being a real stalker I don’t have your email address, but if you’d like to check this out yourself, be my guest.

  • Still at with the stalking, huh? Where do you find the time? The funny thing is that you’re not very good at it. I’m not a university professor and I’ve never, ever lectured anyone about paying taxes. I’ve also never claimed to be a victim. I did want to point out, however, that your contributions to the debate about the PCS expansion have been consistently mean-spirited.

  • Well, since you bring it up, you probably shouldn’t have signed your name to the end of your posts to tout your book in prior Planet Princeton posts, if you value anonymity so much. So I do know who you are. And nobody harassed you – a valid point was brought up about hypocrisy in your FB rants. And I’ll stop here because – I think unlike yourself – I respect Krystal’s policy that this is not the place for personal attacks.

    But again I ask – why not be the change you desire? Go to PU and ask them to pay their fair share for PPS schools, instead of attacking PCS, the 10% of the town’s kids who attend, and the many more who would like to attend, given the waiting lists.

  • You know I meant internet stalking and you know exactly what that means. You researched me online in order to get information to harass me in the FB comments section–and you did it to other people too. You have no idea who I am and you have no basis for saying I contributed to the discussion in a “know-it-all fashion,” which, by the way, I did not do. Why I care is that you googled me in order to use the information you found to make nasty comments about me in a FB comments section. And I do think that is shameful behavior.

  • Oh, you helpfully signed your name to one of your prior posts on PP, so I know exactly who you are (but won’t reveal unless you care to do so). Yes, the topic there was that you were a university professor lecturing everybody to pay their taxes to the nth degree for PPS, while you’re being paid by a university that makes an insufficient PILOT payment and pays nothing to PPS. Charity begins at home. You should really take this up with your employer and see if you can be the change you desire. And nobody looked up, let alone gave out, your address or anything like that, so just please, stop with the faux victimization.

  • Oh, so you mean I GOOGLED you to see what your credentials were for contributing to discussion in a know-it-all fashion. See, as a Womanspace volunteer, stalking to me means something quite different. So please stop with the drama. Nobody stalked you. Somebody Googled you. Why should you care if the outcome of the Google search wasn’t relevant?

  • No. I am not. I wouldn’t post a comment the sole purpose of which were to be sarcastic toward an individual. Sorry. smh

  • Scimommy – the black hole scientists are searching for, in our galaxy, is right here exerting it’s force on our schools. It absorbs space & dollars, so there will be no refunds.

  • The recent 81 million dollar taxpayer funded refurbishment of PHS & JW was enough to build 3 brand new high schools. School officials can’t seem to find enough space or cash AGAIN and town Council is prepping us for their next municipal tax increase. Every rise in taxes raises rents.
    Princeton was once a caring, connected community. Leaders seeking national recognition & blue ribbons don’t seem to care enough about the great people living here or the costs that their personal agendas. It will be heartbreaking to see more small businesses & cool folks go, when the next wave of “improvements” & undeserved increases & favors are approved by those without real connections to the people in our great town.
    My Princeton neighbors are facing hard choices because of property taxes. I

  • What happens in a few years if/when it becomes clear that this expansion did not significantly increase diversity and low income representation at PCS, which are supposedly the primary goals of the expansion? I don’t suppose we could have our money back.

  • You stalked me. I participated in a discussion on FB and when things didn’t go your way, you resorted to ad hominem insults. In response, I said I wouldn’t participate in the discussion any more if you could not be civil. You then stalked me to find information about who I was, where I lived, and where I worked, and then posted that information in the FB discussion, commenting on it with your tag team partner, Vivek Pai, in a snarky, insulting manner.

    This was not an isolated case. In the comments section of Planet Princeton posts on FB about PCS, you consistently turn to personal attacks when a discussion does not go your way. And it’s clear in many cases that you have stalked people to get the information that you use for the attacks.

  • so the name of the game is to increase applications and hope the double weight works well right off the bat…bit risky…but fingers crossed!

  • I trust you’re being sarcastic. Liz Winslow, winning friends and influencing people…lol.

  • There was public input at the state level through the Department of Education. Not every public school should be controlled by the in-crowd at the local level. For unknown reasons, that in-crowd has not wanted to address the needs of many local school children.

  • PPS Parent – I see your special needs child and raise you one. One of mine is at Riverside, and one is at PCS. Both have IEPs. Please do not presume to be an expert on what is best for my child. That said, if you’d like to hear about the wonderful services my multiply disabled child gets at PCS, I’d be happy to meet you at Bon Appetit tomorrow 3/3 at 9am to discuss.

  • How have I stalked people? I certainly didn’t show up to anyone’s private Facebook page and start insulting their surnames, which was what a Save Our Schools admin did to me. If your definition of “stalking” means researching and assessing the credibility of an alleged expert vs. simply taking her word as gospel, guilty as charged. But I think you mean something far more sinister, and THAT insinuation truly is shameful – on your part.

  • My husband, Ethan Schartman made a post to Keep PPS Strong completely in the spirit of
    healing and discourse that the admins deleted. The offer still stands to meet with anyone with concerns or questions at 9am on March 3 at Bon Appetit.
    It read:

    Hi all – my name is Ethan Schartman. I live on Dodds
    Lane and have a disabled four year old in a self-contained handicapped
    Pre-K classroom in Riverside, where we could not be happier with the
    education and help he’s receiving. We also have two older children at
    PCS; the oldest has autism, severe ADHD, and a host
    of physical problems that make him a frequent flyer to CHOP. I say all
    this for introduction as my wife has become a bit infamous for her
    defense of PCS in the past few months.

    We understand that many people are against expansion, and why – and if
    the cookie had crumbled slightly differently, we might not have seen the
    value of PCS either. Liz and I are politically progressive, and now
    that the down and dirty fighting part is over, there’s no interest in
    keeping that up. So we’d like to invite you to meet with one, the
    other, or both of us to discuss the math that was our main objection to
    PPS’s argument. We’re not trying to “convert” anybody, simply to
    explain, absent all the mudslinging of late, the actual issues various
    academics have found with PPS’s expert’s math, and why I/she/we don’t
    think it will impact PPS.

    We have flexible schedules (and we
    understand that given her social media presence, some of you may not
    necessarily want to meet with Liz, but maybe me instead), but we will be
    at Bon Appetit at 9am this coming Friday March 3 to discuss the math
    and the policy points. Ground rules on both sides: no mudslinging, no
    disparaging, no saying one’s better than the other – just how this
    might, MIGHT, end up being a symbiotic relationship for all of
    Princeton’s kids.

    We hope to see you there. If you wish to
    engage with one or the other of us separately or at a different time,
    please just let us know.

  • Based on my experience, I think the sibling preference should work to increase the numbers quickly, in a few years. Usually siblings of a lottery winner that are school aged get into PCS the next year and their non/school aged siblings get in pretty quickly also as they have first priority for kindergarten. My one child got into PCS in kindergarten and then my other older child jumped to the front of the list and got in the next year. If the low income numbers don’t start to increase from this process in a few years, I’m pretty certain Pcs will consider all other options.

  • yes! so why not give that first kid even higher odds of getting in in the first place? at least for a couple of years till the numbers get where you want them. All the better to facilitate a quick start. PCS does have sibling pref, PPS for bilingual is for a pilot program that hopes to expand, not for general enrollment, per the other response. I was not for PCS expansion, but what’s done is done and I am now rooting for PCS to get those diversity numbers in place as soon as possible, so at least that issue can be put to bed.

  • Two parallel school systems in the same community. The net result is higher costs for the taxpayers. And so it goes.

  • The sibling preference should increase diversity in the school more quickly. If one lower income child gets on through the lottery, his or her siblings will then have a much better chance of being admitted, in fact it’s almost assured within a year or two.

    Why a sibling preference in the bilingual program? Because it encourages families to apply so siblings can attend the same schools, which is much easier for families and increase participation in the program. See my comments above as the preference will more quickly increase diversity at PCS. I also agree with Liz. Why is this permitted at PPS but not PCS?

  • Maybe now the Pps board will have to think about canceling the contract with cranbury, which is paying 17k a student in tuition while we are paying 24k with the debt service included because of the overcrowding we already paid for at the high school some years ago. We need the room for Princeton students (cranbury sends over 200 students to Princeton). I know they pay 4.5 million in tuition but how much does it cost to teach these kids and why aren’t those resources being spent on the kids in town and go minimize any construction and adfitional money that that Is and will be needed to address overcrowding now and in the future.

    I operate a small business. If the income I was making from a particular employee didn’t cover their costs and was causing me to not have the capacity to take on more profitable clients, I would fire the employee or make changes so the employee wasn’t causing me to lose money.

  • The citizens of Princeton do not vote on the school budget. The pps board is permitted by law to increase the budget by 2% every year and request tax waivers without a vote – prior to the expansion application it made an application for 1.7 million in waivers and plans on using 800k or 900k this year.

  • You didn’t reply to the accusation of stalking people, which you did do. Your behavior has been shameful.

  • You didn’t respond to the accusation of stocking people, which indeed you did quite frequently. Your behavior has been shameful.

  • My sense is that you are an entitled parent who has the typical attitude of a “private school parent” who thinks they know more about education than the experts we employ and expects to have a say at every turn of your child’s education. As the parent of a special needs child, I can guarantee you that PCS is NOT a true public school and will never be one. Children with special needs and special language needs will never be served by your limited resources, so to say that you are open to everyone is inaccurate. I’ve heard this over and over again from parents who have chosen to pull their kids out PCS. I think your mission is disgraceful and if you really are open minded, you will look at this from the perspective of the BoE to understand how harmful this expansion is to the 90% of children that don’t attend PCS.

  • Thank you Martha. I’m so frustrated over the impact this decision will have on PHS, and you are keeping it real. PCS parents should be ashamed of themselves. Private Schools funded by the community are just plain unfair. Charter schools weren’t intended to be in communities like ours. Selfish, hypocritical and elitist…not the values PPS stands for.

  • Liz, you’re advocating for a niche as well – a niche educational experience. Everyone is going to – and should – advocate for what they believe is right.

    Next, never say never. Just when many people thought PCS’s application would never get approved, it was. This million dollars might be the straw to break the camel’s back. Hopefully not. But you can’t predict the future.

    To your second point, “those people” – citizens – get a say every year when the PPS school budget is put to a vote. When is the PCS budget put to a vote?

    Money can always be spent more wisely and efficiently. Is your idea of wise an efficient spending letting facilities become so decrepit that they cannot be used? Athletics and arts programs are IMPORTANT and deserve prudent investment. Can investment in these facilities be done better? Absolutely. But don’t insinuate that PCS does a better job of educating its kids just because they are not encumbered by maintaining facilities that enable PPS to educate the whole child.

  • Indeed. Hard to do so if the other side can’t recognize at all that they’re not God’s gift to education. PCS doesn’t (although it sure gets better results). Why can’t PPS?

  • You’re right – we can do this back and forth all night. The difference is that you’re advocating for a niche (not to say it’s not a valuable niche, but a niche) experience, whereas PCS is advocating for an entire educational experience. Nothing will be cut. Nothing ever is. Ever. As always, we’ll get a 2% increase, and when the banked cap-jump runs out, PPS will scurry to Trenton for another waiver.

    What I want to know is this: where are all the working people, the senior citizens, the middle class people struggling to stay in town, who are DARN TIRED of being treated as cash cows every year to pay for things like $40k gardens and locker room makeovers? When do THOSE people get a say? Because I’ll tell you what – PCS has none of those bells and whistles, and maybe that’s how it educates 10% of the kids on 5% of the budget.

    It’s laughable that the anti-Charter crowd shrieks “taxation without representation.” Look what that representation has gotten us: turf fields and 17th% growth scores in language arts at the middle school. Does ANYONE want to take this anymore who can’t just opt out for private, or isn’t a true drinker of the public Kool-Aid?

  • You seem to be trying to compare two lottery based educational programs, one that is barely out of its pilot phase and hopes to grow within an open enrollment school and eventually become open to all interested students, and one that will always be lottery based – selective and exclusive. Reversing your mincing of my words above, now a program like the dual language immersion program at CP will not get to expand and become an open-enrollment program for potentially hundreds of students at all four elementary schools, at the expense of 76 more lottery slots created at PCS. We can do this back and forth all night. The dual-language program is just one example of a program that may not expand or others that may be cut all together as a result of this money being taken from PPS by PCS. Ultimately, we cannot predict the future and it remains to be seen what cuts must be made at PPS. However, what is certain is that PCS has won to PPS’s detriment. So, again, congratulations. A+.

  • School officials have a lot to do with this. The superintendent in place now may be a great person, but he/his staff display major inexperience. Former school officials supported cronyism & waste, & we taxpayers have inherited their massive bills. My family is trying to stay focused on what we love here, during these financially trying & scary days… our kids, every Princeton family, our teachers, our town, our home. We want reform at the highest levels. You know what I mean?

  • Do you ever tell your kid they need to do a better job? If not, I guess your kid is perfect. If so, where’s your beef? Maybe this will even inspire JW students to transcend their measurably crummy environment. Who knows?

  • I saw your ad Tony, and well done (and like myself and other PCS parents, congratulations on having the courage to use your own name… these sunshine patriots waiting to see how it plays out could take a lesson from that)

  • It’s public school money indeed… benefitting 10% of the students with 5% of the money.

  • Cool. At what point do you say “no more” and turn your tax spigot off? Especially in the face of MSGPs of 17th and 26th percentile at JW? You should be at Valley Road with a pitchfork demanding answers, not demonizing PCS.

  • Hear, hear! It is trouble how PPS has no trouble blaming everyone else for its problems but itself. Anyone who was bored enough to attend or watch last night’s BoE meeting would have seen me saying but for X, we might have been Charter opponents as well. But X happened. Why not look at X, instead of demonizing a good chunk of the town?

  • That’s the exact same argument made about the 4x oversubscription for Charter. Even in the same words: “The CHARTER program at PCS is very popular and will
    hopefully be expanded to accommodate all of the students who want to
    participate, and hopefully be expanded to all of the elementary
    schools…oh wait! There goes the $1.1 million budget for that.” Except the Charter expansion will cover 76 students, not just a class or two.

  • Our household chooses the traditional PPS offerings, but has no problem accepting this court decision in favor of PCS. We feel it’s time for the PPS to stop bingeing on taxpayer dollars & spewing blame on others. We want PPS to toss its expandable waist sweat pants in favor of fiscal fitness, by losing its bloated contracts & fear mongering behaviors.
    An application for the PCS lottery arrived today, wrapped in TOWN TOPICS… very timely, which was kind of impressive. It shows real intent to do better in the future. The questions that linger here are: What conditions allow a student not legally domiciled in our town to be educated with resident taxpayer funding? How soon can Princeton taxpayers stop subsidizing Cranbury kids? Where else are school officials abusing our trust & support?

  • I put my name and address on a prior posting. I’d be happy to revisit this issue with you on the on the anniversary of this approval by NJ DOE and we can assess whether the “HUGE” time bomb went off. I’m getting close to 50 yrs old and and seen a lot of things come and go. One of the things I’ve learned is that we are not as smart as we think and we can’t predict the future. If I’m wrong I’d be glad to admit it to you.

  • PCS can propose and implement expansions without public input, without public oversight, and without accounting for community feelings or desires. PCS works for and is accountable only to a select group in our town. Any of their expansions re-route public funds intended for all children and direct them to supporting a limited group. That’s a *HUGE* time bomb that can disrupt PRS budgets. We can’t put this behind us until this risk is adequately address and rectified.

  • I do hope that as a community we can put this behind us. How can we teach our kids as adults any conflict resolution when they read such statements “impossible”? We teach our kids to shake hands when games are over because good sportsmanship is part of life. 20 years from now most of us will be retired and looking forward to grandchildren and this moment will either be forgotten or upon reflection just another passing chapter in life. I know on my deathbed this issue will not be on the top of my list of things to reflect upon. I have kids in both PCS and PHS so I’m not jaded one way or the other. I’m sorry you feel insulted but I do hope that given time wounds can be healed.

  • The truth can be a bitter pill tell me one fact that is not correct ? Identifying the problem is half way to solving it …I want accountability and excellent schools …we have neither now

  • Did you ever think the kids at JW read the paper? And read you advertisement? And read the disparaging comments you made about their school? Ever think those same kids are going to end up in high school with the PCS kids? I think your ads are incredibly insulting and divisive and it’s a shame you took them out. Seves no constructive purpose at all.

  • It’s a public service. And a right. Profitability is not it’s motive.

    This is like saying ‘voting should be run like a business.’ Or ‘Our military should turn a profit.’ Or ‘we should only have clean water and highways if they can pay for themselves.’

  • It’s public money benefiting a very small number of people, with no oversight from the majority of those funding the school. Furthermore, the evidence is clear – the small number of people using the tax dollars drastically underrepresent the diversity of the community.

  • There’s a lot to unpack here. Where to begin?
    1) I’m sure I’ll have complaints at PHS, along with every other parent. Nothing’s perfect. Nor was anything taken from PHS.
    2) Whisper campaigns have existed. Come on… the whole Stouffer’s meal for free/reduced lunch kids, no afterschool for working parents, etc. etc…. that stuff’s real. Just this past Friday I had a mom ask me if I’d been on John Street distributing anti-PPS propaganda with my kids. I’d been on John Street with my kids, but distributing dual-language flyers on PCS information sessions. This is how these rumors, and whisper campaigns, begin.
    2a) I haven’t made a career out of insulting JSR or Mr. CochranE. However, JSR’s math is simply terrible, and doesn’t stand up to even a cursory examination by even a non-academic such as myself, let alone by actual academics. Her decision to start calling PCS parents four-letter words and then seeing them unleash more of the same on their personal FB pages? That wasn’t my doing.
    3) If you encourage PPS to fight it any way possible, you are voting for your tax dollars to enrich lawyers in a judgment that will only be reached after buildings are built and students are moved, years hence – per Mr. Cochrane’s OWN REQUEST for a 450 day discovery period. I don’t think that’s a good use of taxpayer funds. I think it’s far better to hold productive discussions.

  • Have a look at page 7 in Town Topics today. The facts are that Princeton Schools ,specifically …John Witherspoon is failing our children and doing a worse job on minority children than I thought even possible. I’m giving the PPS administration a BIG fat F . Look at the facts and tell me were I am wrong

  • PCS needs to get its general demographics in order. This is not a reasonable comparison, but its ok…

  • The dual language immersion program at CP is very popular and will hopefully be expanded to accommodate all of the students who want to participate, and hopefully be expanded to all of the elementary schools…oh wait! There goes the $1.1 million budget for that.

  • I’m sure he’ll do that just as soon as CP eliminates its application process, lottery, and sibling preference for the dual-language immersion program. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

  • 1) Yes, they are all our children that will end up in PHS, the very school PCS just took important funding from. Congratulations. I’m sure you will end up complaining about a lack of resources at the high school when your kids get there.
    2) Accomplish together? Really? You’ve spent the last few months accusing PPS administrators and parents of being involved in ‘whisper campaigns’, you have disparaged PPS teachers and parents, you have personally insulted, and quite frankly, stalked people who disagree with you….you have made a career out of insulting Julia Rubin, Mr. Cochran, and for some inexplicable reason some of the most pedagogically sound and beloved programs at the elementary schools, and now you want to work together?
    3) IMO, this decision is terrible for the town, state and country. I encourage PPS to fight it any way possible.

  • Time for Mr. Josephson to show some commitment to the cause and eliminate the sibling preference in addition to double weighting for minority applicants. If this is happening, time to be fair. Sibling preference is a luxury of private schools, not public schools.

  • Thanks Ms. Winslow for your contributions on this issue over the past three months. When I see your name on one of these comments, I sit up and take notice. You are factual, analytical, honest, reasonable and conciliatory – all values we should be teaching our children. A fine example indeed.

  • @BlueBlazer, that just is not true, and you know it. It’s public monies, and the school’s parents elect the trustees. Not quite the same as the town electing the BoE, I’ll grant you, but it is neither private nor run by appointees.

    PCS desires public input GREATLY. Year after year they’ve asked for, and at most turns been rebuffed, for curriculum guidance from PHS; for inclusion in middle school dances that Cranbury is invited to; etc. It’s really disingenuous, if you know the situation, to claim that PCS is the one driving the wedge.

    Can we all just take a moment to breathe, accept things as they are (which I guarantee you PCS would have done had this not gone through), and figure out as a community where most kids end up at PHS, where to go next for the benefit of those kids?

  • Let this be a wake up call for the bloated public school administration that your days are numbered. Tax payers will demand the same efficiencies and rigor as is present in businesses. Bloated pensions and cushy jobs that take public funds for granted are about to end. Bring on the vouchers. It’s about time there was competition in the public schools.

  • It’s impossible to put this behind us. It’s laughable and insulting to suggest this.

    PCS is essentially a privately run school that has say over how taxes are spent. It’s ability to dictate how public funds are allocated has been and continues to be a time bomb for PPS.

    Given how PCS handled this expansion request they obviously do not look for or desire public input for their plans. They will state and execute what they want regardless of how it impacts the majority of the community.

  • J.S.,

    PCS’s teachers make a pittance in either salary or benefits compared to PPS’s, and teach about 10% of the kids with about 5% of the budget. This is just pure math. Even if PCS vanished tomorrow, PPS would still need to pay teachers cash and benefits… and what would those cost?

    If PCS is not an open enrollment school, then in fairness, do you have a problem with the dual-language immersion program at CP? Both rely on applications; both have lotteries; and both have sibling preference. Is what’s good for the goose not good for the gander?

    I am a taxpayer with kids in both PPS and PCS, and believe me – as a frugal-minded accountant by training – I scour the financial reports of both. They’re both accountable. I think it is only by luck of sheer numbers that PPS is not subject to the scrutiny PCS is, or much foolishness would be found within its budget. But that’s just my opinion.

    At this moment I’m reminded of a recent conversation I had about another issue “X could have gone that way, but it went this way instead – so do we want to re-litigate X, or do we want to move forward?” I understand bruised feelings, but I don’t feel it’s in anybody’s best interests to relitigate. I’ve heard interesting ideas from PCS and PPS parents both about how the schools might work together in the future. How about putting on our best faces for our kids?

    Please remember: we are talking about barely 1% of the budget in this expansion. Please keep it all in context.

  • I would have hoped that this would be a time to say “pencils down” and see what we could accomplish together. Were the decision the other way around, it’s what I would have done, as disappointed as I might have been. Are they all our children, or not?

  • Krystal – your coverage of this issue has been exemplary! Thank you for your first class reporting.

  • Liz,

    The bottom line here is fewer resources for the many at the expense of the few. At a time when PPS is struggling to fund increasing health care costs for faculty and staff and fund capital improvements, I struggle to see a scenario where this can all just be shoved into the past and everyone move forward as if nothing has happened. PCS has made it clear with this action that they have no desire to work with the public school system, only to leech resources from them to benefit a select group of students. PCS is not an open enrollment school and is not accountable to the taxpayers, and it never will be. If PCS’s goal was to alienate itself even further from the greater Princeton community, then congratulations, the PCS community has succeeded! A+.

  • Thank you PCS for your short sighted selfishness. You have just robbed all of our 3,600 children of a better future education to the tune of $1.2 million each year, every year. A sign of the Christie and Trump times we live in.

  • Martha,

    1) I agree, counter to Betsy DeVos, that they should be held to the same standards of accountability.
    2) Unless taxes are raised – which only the public school board has the ability to do, not charter schools – this is a fraught issue.
    3) While this undoubtedly happens in some schools, it is NOT an issue in PCS (you know my kid, Martha… come on, they would’ve expelled him if they could’ve within a month of enrollment)
    4) I’m not sure what to make of this one, other than PCS has had a hard time sufficiently advertising (although as part of a door to door campaign last week they’ve tried like heck, and if PPS would release its preschool rolls, maybe it would do better.)

    Funny – at last night’s BoE meeting, Sara and Meredith from LB/RS were there giving a presentation on executive function. I commented that our youngest, age 4, is in a self-contained handicapped pre-K classroom at Riverside after Sara and Meredith had been part of the team who evaluated him, and we couldn’t be happier with the services he’s receiving.

    But he’s our third parenthood rodeo. For Tristan, when we worked full time and sent him to day care, we had no idea we could take him to a CST at age 3 – and I don’t believe we were advised of that at any point through 2nd grade, when Mrs. Saltiel stunned me by saying he’d need a full time para to continue. I suggested covering not just preschools, but day cares and mailing addresses, with info about the CST. Had things with Tristan taken such a slight fork in the road at age three, you might have found me a staunch opponent of PCS now. As it is, PCS gave Tristan opportunities to shine and special education services he never had at LB. I say this not to lay blame, but in the hope all of the educators can work together. If in 20 years there were no demand for PCS, I’d be delighted – seriously. As it is, it’s a sign that PPS needs to expand its outreach.

  • Mr. Josephson said, “The Commissioner should be commended for … judiciously considering both public sentiment and the actual merits of the request.”

    That doesn’t seem to be a very constructive statement coming from someone who says he wishes to work together collaboratively and in good faith.

    More likely, the Charter School received this decision because it’s what’s going on in this country & world right now, with increasingly autocratic and anti-democratic governments.

    Say what you will, but this is the needs of the few outweighing the needs of the many. Mr. Spock taught us that was not the right way to go.

    Ultimately, it makes no sense for our collective community to be adding additional capacity in grades where it is not needed (K-2), while taking resources from other schools and grades that do. But apparently that is what a bureaucrat in the Christie administration is telling us we should do – and I guess we’ll be seeing the local budgetary impacts before too long.

    The timing of this whole thing is very unfortunate and divisive considering what’s been going on at larger levels. So Martha is right in that if we take our eyes off the bigger picture and don’t try to come back together as one community, then we may end up losing a lot more than the blessings we’ve been fortunate to have in in this town until now.

  • I hope the success of the application encourages many of its supporters to start thinking carefully about the consequence to ALL Princeton children by this expansion, and future expansions. It seems important to think about the NAACP’s latest policy statement concerning charter schools: “We are calling for a moratorium on the expansion of the charter schools at least until such time as:
    (1) Charter schools are subject to the same transparency and accountability standards as public schools
    (2) Public funds are not diverted to charter schools at the expense of the public school system
    (3) Charter schools cease expelling students that public schools have a duty to educate and
    (4) Charter schools cease to perpetuate de facto segregation of the highest performing children from those whose aspirations may be high but whose talents are not yet as obvious.

    NJ Department of Ed has made their decision but it doesn’t mean it was the right one. I’m done speaking about this as there are larger national issues that need our attention. We have to think outside our own lives and make sure all are taken care of in this town, state and country.

  • This is very, very unfortunate, but not a surprise.

    Most understand charters and vouchers pull money from public schools with the deceptive catchphrase “choice.” Expect to see more of this in the next several years as public education continues to get chipped away.

    A few more local parents will be happy and that’s about the best I can find in this decision.

  • I hope the success of the application encourages many of its opponents to reevaluate its merits. And I hope that all of us – myself included – can put the acrimony behind us and start working together on how to best leverage all of the town’s schools for the benefit of its kids.

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