New Jersey

Why you can’t trust anything they tell you about charter schools:

This week, the citizens and school boards of Cherry Hill and Voorhees won a major battle against a proposed charter school that neither community wanted nor needed. Blue Jersey has previously detailed the story of Regis Academy’s founder, Pastor Amor Khan, an anti-marriage equity crusader and political ally of Chris Christie.

Khan admitted – and his initial application clearly showed – that he needed the charter funds that would come from local taxpayers to pay off the mortgage on the property he was attempting to buy. The property would have housed both the charter and his ministry’s other operations, a clear conflict of interest the local school boards and parent activists pointed out repeatedly.

But because charter schools in New Jersey need not be approved by their local school boards, the local sending districts – which eventually grew to include over 30 districts all over South Jersey – had to set aside millions of dollars on the possibility Regis would open its doors this fall.
When the deal for the original property fell through, Khan had to scramble to find a new site – a surprise to the local school boards and residents. At this point, even the NJDOE had to admit that there were too many “misrepresentations” in the Regis application; this week, they denied final approval to the charter. Of course, the budget is set in the sending districts; what happens to the money now is anyone’s guess.

Had Regis been the only charter with problems, charter supporters could brush off this unfortunate outcome as an isolated incident. But charters are becoming an embarrassment all over the state:

– This morning, Jessica Calefati reports in the Star-Ledger on a charter school – Adelaide Sanford – that is allegedly paying rent on properties it doesn’t use. The issue seems to be similar to the one with Regis: the school and the landlord are one in the same, allowing tax dollars set aside for charters to be used to pay rent on properties being used for other purposes.

Go read the whole damned thing even if you don’t live in New Jersey, because I guarantee the same mess will be repeated in a place near you.

Koch fundraiser in Hamptons for Romney

At $50K a head:

The line of Range Rovers, BMWs, Porsche roadsters and one gleaming cherry red Ferrari began queuing outside of Revlon Chairman Ronald Perelman’s estate off Montauk Highway long before Romney arrived, as campaign aides and staffers in white polo shirts emblazoned with the logo of Perelman’s property — the Creeks — checked off names under tight security.

They came with high hopes for the presumed Republican nominee, who is locked in a tight race with President Obama. And some were eager to give the candidate some advice about the next four months.

A money manager in a green Jeep said it was time for Romney to “up his game and be more reactive.” So far, said the donor (who would not give his name because he said it would hurt his business), Romney has had a “very timid offense.”

A New York City donor a few cars back, who also would not give her name, said Romney needed to do a better job connecting. “I don’t think the common person is getting it,” she said from the passenger seat of a Range Rover stamped with East Hampton beach permits. “Nobody understands why Obama is hurting them.

“We’ve got the message,” she added. “But my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies — everybody who’s got the right to vote — they don’t understand what’s going on. I just think if you’re lower income — one, you’re not as educated, two, they don’t understand how it works, they don’t understand how the systems work, they don’t understand the impact.”

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