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New Jersey Misses Out On Another Federal School Grant

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBS 2) -- After blasting the Christie administration for missing out on a $400 million "Race To The Top" federal education grant, New Jersey Democrats are now accusing the Governor of being too lax in trying to get money for charter school start-ups.

Vashti Johnson and Al Garas are waiting to find out if New Jersey will approve their application to open up a new charter school catering to autistic children in Jersey City.

Both, however, are upset the state has been denied a $14 million federal grant to help schools just starting up.

"Look at the numbers of children that will be suffering as a result of not having that start-up capital," Johnson told CBS 2's Christine Sloan.

Democrats are blaming Christie's administration for missing out on the money by saying it didn't have a good plan to measure current charter schools in the application.

"Because they're responsible for putting the application in and if the application is denied, something went wrong with the process," Assemblyman and Education Committee member Ralph Caputo said.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education blamed the loss on past administrations.

"The Department of Education has taken action to improve its charter school operation and fundamentally change a culture and organization that during prior administrations was regarded as hostile towards charter school expansion," the spokesman said in a statement.

Seven charter schools have been approved to open next year, including The Dream Preparatory Academy in Jersey City.

Each school would have gotten a $150,000 under the grant. Those who run the successful Elysian Charter School in Hoboken said the money is important. Kathy Mone went through the process with a Jersey City start-up.

"In the first year, we needed the start-up grant money for the security deposit on the building," Mone said.

Sloan reported the state will apply for the federal grant money again.

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