Charter schools application, funding, and facilities: How leadership influences the process in New Jersey

Stephanie Koprowski McGowan, Fordham University


Since the inception of charter school policy in New Jersey in 1995, charters had been issued to various groups representing local community organizations, charter management organizations, and combinations of the two. This qualitative comparative case study was an investigation of three existing charter schools from three different counties in New Jersey. Each school selected had a designated school leader who was also a Founding member. All three charter schools faced significant challenges during the application process and emphasized the lack of assistance in preparing a charter application. One charter was not renewed and the charter was given to a nonprofit charter management organization, representing the first re-launched charter school in New Jersey. All three charter schools operated on a per-pupil funding formula, predetermined by the New Jersey Department of Education and varying by municipality. The per-pupil funding for the participating charter schools in this study ranged from 50-65% of the host school district funding in which they were located. Charter schools were required to cover the costs of securing facilities, maintenance, and property taxes from the operational budget derived from the per-pupil formula. Evidence of political influence was also present. The charter school leaders who participated in this study did not perceive themselves as transformational leaders. Examples of transactional leadership were used when describing the traits believed to be essential for charter school leaders. Only one of three schools reviewed had a designated school leader who had formal leadership training, resulting in a principal's level endorsement.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Education Policy

Recommended Citation

McGowan, Stephanie Koprowski, "Charter schools application, funding, and facilities: How leadership influences the process in New Jersey" (2013). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3552515.