Three applications from Cumberland County are among 38 proposals for new public charter schools submitted to the state Department of Education by the March 31 deadline in the first round of 2013 applications.

If approved, they could open in September 2014,

There were no applications this year from Atlantic or Cape May counties. There was one application from Lakewood in Ocean County.

The three Cumberland County proposals are all for elementary schools, according to information posted on the state Department of Education website.

The Excel Charter School of Western Cumberland County would target Bridgeton and Upper Deerfield Township. It would open with 140 students in grades kindergarten through two, then expand until it had 320 students through grade five. Valarie M. Smith is listed as the lead contact person.

The Glasstown Excel Charter School would target Millville and Vineland. It would also open with 140 students in grades kindergarten through two, then until it had 320 students through grade five. The lead contact person is Peter Gramanio.

The Rivergate Academy Charter School would target Bridgeton and Fairfield Township. It would open with 132 students in grades kindergarten through two, then grow to a maximum 330 students through grade 5. The lead contact person is Colleen Wright.

There is also a Vineland connection to a Gloucester County application. Gerald J. Luongo, a former Vineland High School teacher and principal until his retirement in 1993 is the contact person for a proposed high school for 285 students in Gloucester County. Luongo, who was also a state Assemblyman and mayor of Washington Township, served 13 months in prison after pleading guilty in 2002 to mail and tax fraud. He was charged with misappropriating $36,000 from campaign and legislative funds for his own use. His education licenses were revoked by the state Board of Examiners in 2007.

Cumberland County currently has two operating charter schools, one each in Millville and Vineland. A third charter school, the Compass Academy Charter School in Vineland has been tentatively approved to open in September, but must still get final charter approval in June.

Public charter schools are free for parents, and are funded through the state and local school districts.

The Millville School District budgeted about $1.7 million for 2012-13 to cover funds it must send to the charter schools. The Vineland School District has boosted its anticipated charter school payments to almost $3 million for 2013-14 in anticipation of the second charter school opening.

There are currently three charter schools in Atlantic County, but one, Oceanside Charter School in Atlantic City, will close June 30, leaving just the Galloway Community Charter School and the Charter Tech High School in Somers Point. The Atlantic City Community Charter School was given an extension by the state to open in September, but has made no public announcement about opening.

The state Department of Education will issue approvals or denials for the new applications by Sept. 30. Those approved can open in September 2014 if they meet the school preparedness review in June. The next round of applications is due Oct. 15.

Contact Diane D'Amico:


Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.