NEWARK - Officials heard from hundreds of angry Newark parents at a town hall meeting Tuesday night over the "One Newark" plan to reorganize the state-controlled district.
Several students stepped up to the microphone during the meeting and told lawmakers they don't know where they will be going to school when class starts Thursday. One said she was rejected from nearly all her enrollment choices.
Many students say they don't feel safe crossing Newark to get to school.
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Parents and students are confused about navigating charter schools, and in many cases they were told they could not enroll at certain public schools.
"I registered on the first day of their enrollment," one parent said. "I did everything right. I went through every procedure which they told me to do."
The One Newark plan is reorganizing Newark schools through closing and consolidation, while also relying on more charters. It also led to long lines and waits for enrollment.
"Our systems were overwhelmed and as a result you saw way too much confusion and lack of clarity. We definitely acknowledge that and deeply apologize," says Superintendent Cami Anderson.
Anderson says extra staff and time were added to help students enroll. She has also said only one in four seats in Newark schools was considered "desirable" so many parents applied for the same schools.
A local Newark parents group has threatened to boycott the first day of school.
Anderson says her goal is to improve all the schools, and that many problems with enrollment were there before the One Newark plan.