More charter schools in New Jersey?

Charter school groups in New Jersey are seeking to expand. But they face opposition.

Last year, there were 435 open kindergarten seats at KIPP charter schools. But thousands of kids chose one of the schools as their first choice, leaving a long waiting list and a lot of disappointment. KIPP CEO and Founder Ryan Hill filed a proposal with the state to expand from 8 to 15 locations in Newark over the next five years.

Another large charter operator -- Uncommon schools -- wants to build a new facility on a vacant lot. And other smaller organizations also plan to grow. But the charter expansion is being met with resistance.
Michael Iavino is the treasurer-secretary of the Newark teachers union and longtime teacher himself. He says as more students leave the public district system for charters so do state education funds. He says that is hard on those left behind.

The teachers union wants to halt all new charter openings. Last month the city's education chief echoed that in an editorial. A bill pending in the state legislature would freeze charter enrollment for 3 years.

Tensions could come to a head here at city hall next week. On Monday the teachers union and its supporters plan to hold a vigil outside to protest the expansion of charters in Newark, while inside Uncommon Schools, a charter operator, will be making its case for a new facility.