PATERSON — The city’s newest charter school started registering its first students on Monday, part of an ongoing expansion that officials say will ease overcrowding in schools run by the Paterson Board of Education.
Paterson currently has six charter schools with about 6,235 students, according to the trade association that represents charters in the city. Officials said those schools have a combined waiting list of about 3,000 students.
The newest, Brilla Public Charter School, will open next September in Paterson’s downtown area with kindergarten, first grade and fifth grade classes, with 75 students in each grade. Brilla plans to expand with additional grades in subsequent years.
“We’re very excited to start Brilla this fall,” said Bob Guarasci, school board president at Brilla. “It will provide yet another option for Paterson parents — and at the same time help address facilities issues within the Paterson school district.”
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Guarasci was among the founders of the Community Charter School of Paterson more than a decade ago and is head of the “roundtable association” of charters in the city.
Brilla on Monday filled all 75 slots for its kindergarten classes, but it still has about 65 openings for the first and fifth grades. Brilla officials attributed the openings to the newness of their school, predicting the slots will be filled once word gets around about the available seats.
Mayor Andre Sayegh last month attended a ribbon-cutting for Brilla at its Degrasse Street facility. Brilla was the first new charter approved for Paterson in four years.
“I support any efforts to alleviate overcrowding in our schools and any endeavor to provide a first-rate education for our youth,” the mayor said when asked about the growth of charters in the city.
Joe Malinconico is editor of Paterson Press.
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Paterson NJ Brilla Public Charter School picks its first students