New Jersey Charter School Accountability

All New Jersey charter schools are accountable for providing a high-quality public education and adhere to three accountability processes and reports, which include: (1) Performance Framework; (2)Annual Report; and, (3) Renewal Process. If a public charter school fails to meet the accountability measures, they must go through the Closure Process, which is a measure that exists only for public charter schools.

 

PERFORMANCE FRAMEWORK
Every charter school will be monitored under the Performance Framework. The NJDOE developed the Performance Framework to ensure charter schools in NJ is providing high-quality education to every child. The Performance Framework establishes the academic, organizational and fiscal standards for all charter schools. The Performance Framework sets clear expectations for schools regarding:

  • The success of the academic program;
  • Financial viability; and
  • Equitable and organizationally sound

Academic Program Component
The academic component, which carries the most weight includes the following and are evaluated relative to statewide results, primary sending district results and results of similar schools.

  • Student growth
  • Student achievement
  • Comparative performance (District comparison and peer school rankings)
  • Post-secondary readiness
  • High school graduation rate
  • Leading indicators of school success (attendance)
  • All state and federal accountability requirements
  • Mission specific academic goals

Organizational Component
The organizational component aligns with the statutory requirements in N.J.S.A. 18A:36A-1 and all applicable statutes in title 18A. The organizational components include:

  • Compliance with regulatory requirements that ensure equitable access to all students
  • Educational program & capacity- curriculum alignment, data use and education requirements.
  • School culture and climate- alignment to mission and family/community involvement.
  • Board governance
  • Access and equity
  • Compliance- all reporting requirements are met

Financial Component
Charter schools have the autonomy to manage their finances within the parameters of state and federal law. Charter schools must demonstrate financial stability and viability. The financial component of the Performance Framework includes being compliant with:

  • Generally accepted accounting principles set forth in N.J.A.C. 6A:23A
  • Indicators of near- and long-term viability
  • Sustainability indicators

 

THE ANNUAL REPORT
The annual report is a requirement for all New Jersey charter schools and is aligned to the Performance Framework. The report includes an overview of the organizational performance; school culture & climate; board governance; and access & equity,

The Annual Report is submitted to the commissioner, the district board of education, and  the executive county superintendent. It is also available to parents of students enrolled in the charter school.

Organizational Performance
The organizational performance aligns to the Organizational Performance Framework and includes the following:

  • Mission
  • Curriculum- aligned to the NJ Student Learning Standards
  • Instruction- description of the high quality instruction at the school
  • Assessment- show year over year trends of students meeting or exceeding grade level expectations
  • Organizational capacity- school leadership/administration

School Culture & Climate

  • School culture and climate- learning environment, professional environment and discipline environment
  • Family and community engagement– family involvement and satisfaction, and community involvement

Board Governance

  • Board capacity- number of board members required by the by-laws, date of the latest board evaluation and the date of the latest school leader evaluation
  • Board compliance– Information for each board member including the term expiration date, role on the board, date of criminal background check and date of the NJSBA training

Access and Equity

  • Access and equity- requires information regarding the school’s application process and timeframe
  • Student enrollment and attrition– includes the number of students enrolled and withdrawals

Compliance

  • Educator evaluation system
  • School leader evaluation system

 

RENEWAL
A charter school is initially approved for a four year term and must undergo renewal every five years thereafter. The renewal is aligned to the Performance Framework and considers the academic program, the school’s financial viability and the school’s organizational soundness. The renewal process reviews these factors through a written renewal application and on-site visit. Factors considered include:

  • Mission and key design elements
  • School climate and culture
  • Board governance
  • Access and equity
  • Fiscal performance
  • Five year planning- maximum enrollment and facility

 

CLOSURE
Charter schools that fail to meet the standards set forth in the Performance Framework may be closed. The DOE ensures a smooth transition once a decision to close a charter school is made.

Dissolution Plan

  • Completeness of student records provided to the county office and transferred to new schools
  • Personnel information is retained and provided to the DOE
  • Liquidation or transfer of property acquired through federal/state grants to the district of residence
  • Financial and contractual obligations will be limited to only those that are reasonable and necessary for the ongoing of day to day operations.
  • Final audit conducted by an independent auditor
  • Independent trustee is appointed to ensure compliance with closure protocols