Old Bridge school superintendent ‘ecstatic’ over charter school rejection

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By KATHY CHANG
Staff Writer

OLD BRIDGE — The proposal for the Albert Einstein EnergySmart Charter School in Old Bridge has been denied by the New Jersey Department of Education (DOE).

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Students, school officials and the community came together against the proposed charter school proposal at a meeting on Jan. 31.

Schools Superintendent David Cittadino had also presented a petition signed by 3,953 residents to the Office of Acting New Jersey Commissioner of Education Kimberley Harrington protesting the proposed charter school in the township.

“I am ecstatic that the efforts of this remarkable community and the voices of thousands did not go unnoticed,” Cittadino said after the decision was handed down on March 1. “I must also state my appreciation not only for the citizens who championed the cause, but also for the Commissioner of Education, who took a very critical lens to a flawed application.”

Cittadino said as for the future, he applauds educators who take the noblest work into the communities where children are being underserved by failing educational processes.

“In Old Bridge, we are a thriving school district, and we will continue to strive to be better every day for every child,” he said.

The Albert Einstein EnergySmart Charter School had been proposed at the Sayre Woods Bible Church on Route 9 south as a kindergarten to second grade STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics) school for year one with 160 students.

By the 2020-21 school year, the proposal called for the expansion of grade levels to fifth grade with a student enrollment of 360 students.

Phase one of the proposal was submitted to the DOE in October 2016, and phase two was submitted in December.

Oguz Yildiz, lead person at a similar model school, Thomas Edison EnergySmart Charter School located in the Somerset section of Franklin Township, had said Old Bridge Township was a prime location for their vision to instill in every student the desire to continually expand their intellect and use the content knowledge and skills they have acquired to participate and responsibly shape the direction of a complex and ever-increasing climate and energy-security-focused world.

Contact Kathy Chang at kchang@newspapermediagroup.com.

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