The New Jersey Department of Education announced that more than 6,000 families will be able to select the public school option that best fits their children's needs in the 2013-2014 school year.
This fall, with the addition of 40 newly participating districts, 2,787 additional seats are projected to be available through the Interdistrict Choice program. In total, the program, which allows students the option of attending a public school outside their district of residence at no cost to their parents, will offer 6,144 seats across 107 school districts. There are currently 3,357 students in the program in the 2012-2013 school year. The Interdistrict School Choice Program was first signed into law by Governor Christie on September 10, 2010.
Any student in the state is eligible to enroll in the Interdistrict Choice program, regardless of whether or not their home district is participating. Transportation of up to 20 miles, or funds to pay for transportation, will be provided by the district of residence to a student going to a choice school. If the school is outside of the 20-mile radius, transportation will be the responsibility of the student, parents or guardians.
District participation in the program is optional. The decision to apply to participate is made by the local Board of Education. The district then sends an application to the Department of Education for processing and review. A list of schools and districts participating in the program can be found here.
The choice school sets the number of openings per grade level. If there are more students requesting admission to the school than there are available openings, a lottery is held. Any school-age student who is a resident of New Jersey is eligible to take advantage of this program. Details on the program can be found here.
Parents interested in applying for the Choice program can find more information on the NJDOE's Choice website.
Application forms must be returned to their home district by the November 2, 2012 deadline. Applications may also be obtained by contacting the choice school districts directly.