School-choice program expands

TRENTON – The state Department of Education announced today another round of school choice options.

The Christie administration said  that more than 3,000 families will be able to select the public school option that best fits their children’s needs in the 2012-2013 school year.

This fall, 3,126 new seats are being offered by 71 school districts approved to participate in the Interdistrict Choice program, which allows students the option of attending a public school outside their district of residence without cost to their parents.

The Education Department said that there are 1,878 students in the program in the 2011-2012 school year.

“All children, regardless of where they are born, should have the same hope and opportunity that comes with attending a school that works best for them,” Acting Education Commissioner Chris Cerf said in a release.

“The Interdistrict Public School Choice program empowers parents to make the best educational choices for their children, so they have the best chance for a successful future.”

Under this program, transportation of up to 20 miles, or funds to pay for transportation, will be provided by the district of residence to a student going to a choice school. If the school is outside of the 20-mile radius, transportation will be the responsibility of the student, parents or guardians.

Parents who would like their child to take part in the program may obtain an Intent to Participate form from the NJDOE website.

Applications may be obtained by contacting the choice school districts directly and are due by Dec. 1.

The Education Department pointed out that district participation in the program is optional. This year, Elsinboro Township District in Salem County and Franklin Township District in Hunterdon joined the program. School-choice program expands