State grants School Choice enrollment waiver for Ocean City

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State grants School Choice enrollment waiver for Ocean City State grants School Choice enrollment waiver for Ocean City

OCEAN CITY — The Ocean City school district received good news late Thursday, Dec. 12 regarding the popular School Choice Program. The New Jersey Department of Education has granted a waiver for the district, allowing it to accept siblings of current School Choice students, expanding the program to include 194 seats for the 2014-2015 school year.

“We got it. We go the waiver,” Superintendent Kathleen Taylor said Thursday evening. “We’re very excited.”

With the goal of increasing and improving educational opportunities for children, the School Choice program allows students the option of attending a public school outside their district of residence at no cost to their parents.

Earlier this fall, in an attempt to manage the growth of the program, New Jersey State Department of Education officials announced a 5 percent annual cap on the increase in students accepted by receiving districts. The cap would have severely restricted Ocean City’s capacity for growth.

Ocean City was one of 56 school districts selected to participate in the Choice program for the 2011-12 school year, offering 14 seats. The number of School Choice seats expanded to 58 in 2012-2013. For the 2013-14 school year, the local program expanded to include 167 seats.

Taylor said she met with state Sen. Jeff Van Drew concerning the matter on a few occasions. The last meeting was Monday evening.
“We said, ‘Please, help us,’” she said.

Applications for the program were due by Dec. 2. The district was overwhelmed with applicants. With more applications than seats available, the district needed to perform a lottery to select which students would get a seat in 2014.

Taylor said having to wait to hear on the waiver created a challenge.

“We had to let parents know,” she said. “We are very appreciative that the state granted the waiver.”

Parents interested in applying for the Choice program can find more information on the NJDOE’s Choice website at http://nj.gov/education/choice/studapp/



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