A total of 32 schools were seeking approval from the state, including four others in Camden and the New Jersey Virtual Charter School, an online high school that intends to draw students at risk of dropping out in Camden, Perth Amboy, Neptune, and Paterson. Each of those five was given an additional year for planning.
The four Camden schools that fell short of approval were stymied by their inability to secure buildings to house their operations.
The KATZ school will be housed in the Parkside Boys' and Girls' Club.
The entire second floor of the building was retrofitted to make room for several classrooms. The long-term plan is to fill in the pool and build more classrooms, according to the charter school's application.
One of the school's sponsors is Lewis Katz, a managing partner of the company that owns The Inquirer, who also is a key sponsor of the Boys' and Girls' Club.
"This is an important step to continue our commitment to the children of Camden. We sincerely believe that this model will confirm that bringing together a strong educational component in partnership with one of America's best after-school programs, the Boys' and Girls' Club of America, makes sense," said Marcella Dalsey, a founder of the KATZ school.
The City Invincible charter signed a lease with Cathedral Parish in Camden to use the space formerly occupied by the San Miguel School, which closed at the end of the 2010-11 school year.
The charter school plans to also lease the rectory next to the school and retrofit it to eventually add more classrooms.
The Virtual Charter School, along with the Newark-based New Jersey Virtual Academy, which intends to serve kindergarten through grade 12, hopes to become the state's first entirely online public school.
Major education groups, including the New Jersey Education Association, the Education Law Center, the New Jersey School Boards Association, and the Garden State Coalition of Schools, had urged the state to not approve the cyber schools, questioning whether the department has the right to approve what they said was not addressed in the 1995 state charter school law.
The four other charters proposed for Camden that were granted an additional planning year were the Charter School for Global Leadership, Camden Community Charter, Hope Community Charter, and Excellence Charter. Seven other charters also received planning years.
Ten schools were rejected for final approval because the state said they had not made "sufficient progress toward readiness."
Among them were the Willingboro Academy Charter and Spirit Prep, a Newark-based hybrid of classroom and online instruction.
Monday's winners included Newark Prep, another hybrid school.
Earlier this month, the state denied final approval to Regis Academy, a proposed charter that intended to serve Cherry Hill, Voorhees, Lawnside, and Somerdale. It had faced strong opposition from residents and officials in the Cherry Hill and Voorhees districts who questioned the need for it and feared it would siphon funds from the districts.
A letter from the state Education Department to Regis said the school's sponsors had made "material misrepresentations" to the state and not acted in good faith, including about the status of the property it intended to locate in.
In a response to the department, Regis sponsor Amir Khan, who is pastor of the embattled Solid Rock Worship Center, denied making misrepresentations and said that his charter was not treated fairly and should have been given a hearing.
"We applaud Gov. Christie, the Department of Education, and acting Commissioner Chris Cerf for recognizing the important role quality charter schools play in the public school system and working to meet the increasing demand from parents and children," said Carlos Perez, president of the New Jersey Charter Schools Association.
With about 20,000 children on charter school waiting lists, he added, "these schools will provide an opportunity for many of these children to receive a high-quality public school education."
In announcing the charter approvals, the Education Department also released its new "performance framework."
The document sets performance standards to assess charter schools, including goals for student performance on standardized tests and operating standards for the schools.
Contact Rita Giordano at 856-779-3841, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ritagiordano.