Monday is the deadline for parents to apply to have their child attend one of the state’s public school “choice” districts for the 2014-15 school year.
If more applications are received than seats area available in each school, a lottery will be held in December and a waiting list will be developed. Families will be notified by Dec. 20 of their status. If accepted, enrollment must be confirmed by Jan. 6.
There is no fee for students to attend a choice district. Choice districts do get additional state aid.
The state Department of Education this year limited the growth in existing choice districts to 5 percent, but last year did allow districts to pick up extra seats from other districts that did not fill all of their allotted slots. Districts can accept late applications, if they still have open seats.
By law, preference must be given to students who have attended their hometown public school for at least one full academic year.
New choice districts approved for this year in Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and southern Ocean counties are:
- Atlantic City: 25 seats for high school freshmen interested in fine or performing arts or the Navy JROTC program.
- Middle Township: 29 seats in grades 6 through 12.
- Pinelands Regional: 20 seats for grade 9 and 10 seats for grade 10.
- Upper Township: 5 seats each in grades 6, 7 and 8.
- Vineland: 53 seats in new STEM program for grades 6 to 12 with focus on grades 7 to 9.
- Wildwood Crest: Six seats in grades 5 and 6.
The following districts already accept choice students. Openings may be limited to specific grades.
- Atlantic County: Estell Manor, Folsom, Hammonton, Mainland Regional High School, Port Republic.
- Cape May County: Cape May, Lower Township, Lower Cape May Regional, Ocean City, West Cape May, Woodbine.
- Burlington County: Washington Township
- Cumberland County: Cumberland Regional High School, Downe Township, Lawrence Township, Maurice River Township.
- Southern Ocean County: Beach Haven, Long Beach Island, Stafford Township, Tuckerton.
- Eastern Salem County: Pittsgrove Township
Application and deadline information are on the N.J. Department of Education web site at www.state.nj.us/education. Click on the “school choice” link on the right of the home page. Participating districts have application information.
Contact Diane D'Amico: