Charter school conversion bill clears committee

TRENTON – The Senate Budget Committee today released a bill that will permit non-public schools to convert to charter schools.  The vote was 9-3.

S1858 will move directly to the Senate floor for a vote this afternoon.

The bill, sponsored by Ray Lesniak, (D-20), Union, would have the state Education commissioner expedite the review and approval process for such applications.

Under the bill, any religious school that converts to a charter must prohibit religious instruction and displays of religious symbols, and cannot promote religious views.

The Assembly version passed that chamber earlier this year.

Sen. Michael Doherty, who backs the Opportunity Scholarship Act, said he would vote no on this bill because he believes that it would discriminate against certain schools, in particular regarding parochial schools.

Sen. Paul Sarlo said that while he was not a fan of charter schools he felt this bill would help schools in need and would vote yes.

Charter school conversion bill clears committee