New charter school will have 30 teachers


Hudson Arts & Science Charter School, slated to open this September at the site of the former Mater Dei Academy (St. Stephen’s School) on Midland Ave. in Kearny, is projecting it will be operating at a per-pupil cost of $9,493.

That estimate is less than either of the current per-pupil costs listed in their respective websites, for the Kearny Public School district ($12,791) or Jersey City ($17,500), the two districts from which HASCS will be drawing the lion’s share of students.

HASCS spokeswoman Shannon O’Reilly, who shared the school’s calculations, said the school anticipates 30 classroom teachers, five instructional aides, four Title I support teachers, three administrators and 13 non-instructional positions, such as medical, office, custodial, guidance and special services, all to handle a projected enrollment of 360 students in grades k through 5.

Its website pledges to limit the size of each class to no more than 20 students.

The Kearny-based school will be part of newly constituted nonprofit iLearn Schools network, springing from the North Jersey Arts & Science Charter Schools, comprising separate charter school districts (Bergen, Passaic, Paterson and now Hudson) operating under iLearn Schools, each with its own board of trustees but benefiting from shared academic and technology services, including STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math) program.

An admissions lottery was held last month for “out-of-district” students – those living outside Kearny and Jersey City – who “may not comprise more than 10% of the total enrollment of the school,” O’Reilly said.

“Residents from Kearny and Jersey City who had submitted applications up until the January deadline were offered a two-week long open enrollment period through Feb. 12,” she said.

A second lottery, for which a March 25 submission deadline has been set, will be held in April “to fill any remaining spots for both in-district and out-of-district students,” said O’Reilly. “A waiting list of additional students will be maintained … [to fill any vacancies that may occur].”

As in other public schools, HASCS will be tuition-free; it will be “funded by taxpayer dollars. Funding for each student follows the child, and is allocated to the public school that the student attends,” she said.

Asked whether the building had to be retrofitted to accommodate the charter school, O’Reilly said that, “structurally, it does not require an extensive overhaul. Repairs and upgrades are being done … to ensure that the building is prepared for the educational technology resources that are embedded within the curricula.

“All completed inspection reports and the certificate of occupancy must be forwarded to the N.J. Dept. of Education prior to June 30.”

The Hudson charter school’s director will be Marjorie Marenco, who has taught language arts and supervised the English Department during her service with Bergen Arts & Science Charter School for the past seven years. She has also worked as curriculum supervisor at both Bergen ASCS high school and middle school and as an adjunct faculty member at Drew University.

Hudson ASCS’s board of trustees consists of these voting members: board president Ozgur Dogru, vice president Julian Cabrera, Ozlem Yasar Avcioglu, Maribeth Magallanes, Balvanth Reddy Kanapuram and two parents to be selected later; and these non-voting members: board secretary Recep Ornek and treasurer Christopher Lessard.

“The tenets of the Hudson ASCS mission statement focus on high academic achievement, to be supported by digital literacy and a variety of co-curricular activities, provided in a healthy environment that encourages mutual respect and social responsibility, supported by the efforts of students, teachers, families and the school community and community at large,” O’Reilly said.

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