To the Editor:
We oppose the expansion of the Princeton Charter School as both unfair and a waste of taxpayer dollars.
While the effects of putting a charter school in a small suburban school district were unknown when the school opened 20 years ago, the negative impacts are apparent now. The existence of the charter school segregates our students and leaves the public school with less money to provide the valuable public service of educating every student that resides within its borders regardless of their income or any learning issues.
As taxpayers, we should expect that our property tax dollars are used in the education of our community’s children where they are most needed. The school board elected by the entire Princeton community and the superintendent they hire are the ones to determine where our resources are best used. If a Princeton resident is unhappy with the board’s decisions, he can vote in new members at the next election. Better yet, they could run to be a school board member themselves.
If the state grants the Princeton Charter School this expansion, our citizens lose their voice in how that money is spent. Instead, over a million dollars will be taken from our accountable officials and given to the Princeton Charter School whose board is elected only by the families that attend the school. Property taxpayers have no recourse if they disagree with how the money is spent. The concern is real. The Princeton Charter School plans to use the money for elementary grade expansion. Meanwhile our high school is bursting at the seams.
Princeton relies almost entirely on its local residents rather than the state to fund its schools. Yet, if they allow the expansion, the state is deciding how our locally raised money is used and removing all community oversight! We all want quality education for our children. But this expansion benefits a small group of families already very generously served by the existing charter school at the very real expense of our public schools and our taxpayers.
Julie Tromberg Ramirez
Stone Cliff Road