The superintendents of the three school districts sued by a proposed charter school said in a joint statement today they will not let the lawsuit silence them as they and the boards of education continue to speak out on the issue.
Judith Wilson of Princeton Regional Schools, Victoria Kniewel of West Windsor-Plainsboro South, and Gary McCartney of South Brunswick issued their statement this morning after the districts were sued Wednesday by the founders of the Princeton International Academy Charter School, which said it hopes to open in September of 2012.
The charter school in its suit claimed the districts have spent tens of thousands of tax dollars fighting the school and spreading false and inflammatory information about it.
The superintendents did not comment immediately Wednesday, but today issued a statement maintaining that the districts, as sound stewards of public funds, represent all children and taxpayers in reviewing all charter school proposals.
‘It is ironic that a private group of unelected and unaccountable individuals has initiated legal proceedings challenging the right of the Boards to make decisions which the Boards firmly believe are in the best interests of the Districts and the taxpayers,” they said.
The complete statement follows.
“The Princeton Regional School District, West Windsor-Plainsboro School District and South Brunswick School District have acted on behalf of ALL children and ALL taxpayers in reviewing and monitoring ALL charter school applications brought before us over the last several years and will continue to do so in years ahead. It is clearly the Boards’ duty to not only be sound stewards of public funds but certainly to also ascertain and insure that children are traveling on safe bus routes, attending schools housed in suitable facilities with appropriate health and safety standards in place and being provided the promised curriculum.
“Certainly in Mercer and Middlesex counties, as throughout the state and nation, there have been successful charters and failed charters. Some of the failures would not have impacted children and taxpayers to the degree they have if all parties involved had held high standards in the preliminary stages prior to opening.
“As pertains to this particular petition, the Boards are composed of 9 or 10 members, each of whom was elected by the voters. It is ironic that a private group of unelected and unaccountable individuals has initiated legal proceedings challenging the right of the Boards to make decisions which the Boards firmly believe are in the best interests of the Districts and the taxpayers.
“Ultimately, it is up to the Zoning Board and the Commissioner to make a decision on final approval of this charter school, but the Boards have a right to be heard. The Boards will not let this lawsuit or anything else silence that right. The Boards are fully behind and endorse all actions taken by their attorneys in representing the Districts before both the Commissioner and the Zoning Board, and in pending amicus litigation. We are confident that the Boards’ legal authority to take these actions is well supported in law and that the current PIACS petition will ultimately be dismissed.”