School Choice comes to Lenape Valley

| 15 Feb 2012 | 11:28

    STANHOPE — Lenape Valley is the only regional high school in the area to take part in the Interdistrict School Choice Program. Signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie in September 2010, the program allows a student to go to a public school outside of their district of residence at no cost to the family. There is also no cost to Lenape, since the sending school district pays Lenape for the student it sends. Currently, Lenape receives $7,986 per student. “It's pure revenue,” said Superintendent Paul Palek, Jr. The decision to participate in the program is made by each district’s board of education. Lenape submitted their application in 2010 and went through a rigorous application and interview process. There are 11 students attending Lenape this 2010-11 academic year who live in other districts. Palek expects to see that number almost double next year. He's been meeting with dozens of families from surrounding areas in Hopatcong, Lafayette, Green, Kittatinny and High Point. “We are a high performing district,” said Palek. “We’ve become one of the premier schools.” Lenape has been experiencing a decline in enrollment figures and can afford to have more students in the classrooms. Lenape has allotted a total of 40 seats in grades 9-12 for the School Choice Program. The only other School Choice districts in Sussex County are Lafayette, Ogdensburg, and Vernon. Any school-age student who is a resident of New Jersey is eligible to take advantage of this program. The sending district is responsible for transportation and/or the cost. The mileage is taken into account along with various eligibility requirements. More information can be found on the state’s website at