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Local Charter School to Close Its Doors at Year’s End

Flickr user: knittymarie

At the end of this school year, the Oceanside Charter School in Atlantic City will be closing its doors after 14 years of operation.

The reason given to Oceanside by the State Department of Education was for poor student performance.

Oceanside is one of only three charter schools whose charter wasn’t renewed. The other schools were the Institute for Excellence in Winslow Township and Liberty Academy in Jersey City.

Jeanine Middleton, a founder and chief school administrator at Oceanside said she knew the review process would be more rigorous and based off of the testing scores, would make it more difficult for her school to have its charter renewed. “I don’t necessarily agree with it, but I have to accept it,” she said. “There is really nothing to do. I am not going to plead or appeal.”

The school is located on Bacharach Blvd and has always had students from the poorest sections of the city attend.

A planned vote in August by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority to grant the school $1.7 million for an expansion project which would allow students to move out of their classrooms in trailers was halted after questions were raised about the school’s test scores. The school does perform better than public schools in the area but it does not perform better than the entire AC school district. “We will serve children until the last day of school,” said Middleton. She is proud of what she has accomplished at the school and does not hold any animosity towards the Department of Education or Gov. Christie. “I feel we did make a difference,” she said. “I built something I am proud of.” Her own children have attended Oceanside.

The school has 380 students from Pre-k to 8th grade who will now have to be relocated for next school year. A majority of the students come directly from Atlantic City with others coming from outside towns.

There is cause for concern because Atlantic City schools are becoming overcrowded. There are plans in the works to reopen some previously closed schools to alleviate the overcrowding but not plans have been set in stone or announced. Oceanside will be the fifth charter school in Atlantic County to close since the start of Charters in the state.

Galloway Community Charter School in Galloway Township will be the only charter elementary school in Atlantic county once Oceanside closes.

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