Galloway Community Charter School has been put on probation by the state Department of Education, which cited poor state test performance.

The state has also denied the charter applications of two proposed schools in Cumberland County. A third, the Rivergate Academy Charter School in the Fairfield Township/Bridgeton area, was approved to phase two of charter review, with final approvals to be announced in September.

The probationary status for the Galloway school comes as the school prepares for its five-year charter renewal in 2013-14.  

According to a letter to school officials dated June 12, the school must submit a remedial plan within 15 days, citing specific steps that it will undertake to resolve problems. The school’s charter can be revoked if the remedial plan is deemed insufficient.

The letter based the performance evaluation on test results in grades six though eight from 2008-09 to 2011-12. It compared those results to the Pleasantville School District, showing the charter school in 2011-12 performed 7 percent better in language arts, but 2 percent worse in math.

The letter notes that after 13 years of operation, only 46 percent of students were proficient in language arts, and 52 percent were proficient in math in 2011-12, and that the language arts passing rate has dropped over the past four years.

The letter adds that while there has been some growth in the past year, the school must demonstrate that it is providing a high-quality public education.

“Should there not be improvement in the near term, there exists a substantial probability that we may exercise our authority to revoke the school’s charter,” the letter says. It is signed by Evo Popoff, the state Chief Innovation Officer.

School founder and lead administrator Deborah Nataloni could not be reached for comment Tuesday. The school, located on Route 9 in Galloway Township, has about 200 students in grades K-8.

The Galloway school was one of three charter schools put on probation Friday. Eleven more charter schools received warning letters that their performance could lead to them being put on probation. The notices were sent following a comprehensive review of every charter school over the last several months, state Department of Education officials said.

On Friday the state also denied the applications of 21 of the 34 charter school proposals received in April. Among those denied was the Excel Charter School of Western Cumberland County based in Bridgeton and Upper Deerfield Townships, and the Glasstown Excel Charter School covering Millville and Vineland.

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