THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234

TO:

The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents

FROM:

James A. Kadamus

COMMITTEE:

TITLE OF ITEM:

Draft Five-Year Report to the Governor and the Legislature on the Charter School Approach

DATE OF SUBMISSION:

September 3, 2003

PROPOSED HANDLING:

Discussion

RATIONALE FOR ITEM:

Compliance with State Legislation

STRATEGIC GOAL:

Goals 1 and 2

AUTHORIZATION(S):

SUMMARY:

Under §2857(4) of the Education Law, the Board of Regents is required to submit no later than December 31, 2003 a five-year report to the Governor, the Temporary President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the Assembly on the Educational Effectiveness of the Charter School Approach. The attached report provides a brief description of the components of the five-year report as well as trends indicated by the data. Attachment B presents recommendations for modification of the charter school legislation that the Board of Regents has included in previous annual reports to the Governor and Legislature.

 

 

Attachments

 

 

 

 

 

Draft Report to the Governor, the Temporary President of the Senate,

the Speaker of the Assembly and the Board of Regents on the

Educational Effectiveness of the Charter School Approach in New York State

Components of the Report

The Board of Regents is required by §2857(4) of the Education Law to "review the educational effectiveness of the charter school approach authorized by this article and the effect of charter schools on the public and nonpublic school systems." The report is organized into several sections. First is the Executive Summary, followed by Charter School Data for each of the charter schools. These data include each school’s mission statement; attendance and dropout statistics; the distribution of charter schools and enrollment of students by grade, gender, and ethnicity; the number of reported English language learners; student academic performance on all State, national, and local standardized assessments; fiscal impact upon the sending districts; and a comparison of assets and liabilities, total net assets or fund balance, and changes in unrestricted net assets or fund balance, as described in the yearly audits. Attachment A provides a sample data section for a charter school. A Discussion and Conclusions section will provide analyses of the data. A Recommendations section will include a rationale for expanding, terminating or modifying the charter school approach. Specific recommendations will be included. The appendices will include data summaries for all charter schools, projections of financial stability, a list of all approved charter schools, and the New York Charter Schools Act of 1998. The attachments will also include all annual reports for all charter schools for the school years 1999-2000 through 2003-04 (audit data and some New York State assessment data are not yet available for the 2003-04 annual reports).

Distribution and Enrollment

To date, 60 charter schools have been created: 16 by the Board of Regents, 9 by the Chancellor of the New York City Public Schools, 34 by the Trustees of the State University of New York, and 1 by the Buffalo Board of Education. Of those, 55 exist today. In the 2003-04 school year, 50 are slated to be open for instruction. Three have surrendered their charters, and two have had their charters revoked. Most charter schools are located in urban areas and generally serve a mostly minority student population.

Student Academic Performance

Student academic performance results in the first and second years of operation tend to be mixed. First-year test results on the State assessments tend to be very low. Since the grade 4 English Language Arts exam is given only three months after students have enrolled in a charter school, the initial results are more indicative of the students’ learning in their districts as opposed to any effects yet seen from their charter school experiences. These results are then used as a baseline against which all future test results will be measured. For charter schools that have been in operation two or more years and have administered the State exams each year, dramatic increases in student achievement can be seen over time, equaling or surpassing that seen in the districts of location.

Fiscal Impact

Fiscal impact is calculated using the number of students reported on each charter school’s BEDS form multiplied by the average expense per pupil (AEP) for that district. That figure is then compared with the annual operating budget of the resident district, and a percent is derived. This figure may be different from what the districts actually end up paying to a charter school, since such payments are actually based upon a full-time equivalent (FTE) figure that must be derived per Commissioner’s Regulation 119.1. Those FTEs are not reported herein since final reconciliation of payments occurs in July of each year and the data are not readily available. However, the figures reported herein are a reasonable estimate of the potential fiscal impact upon any district.

Patterns and Trends

Location

Charter schools tend to be located in predominantly urban areas. The two exceptions are the Child Development Center of the Hamptons Charter School in Wainscott, and the Riverhead Charter School located in Riverhead. Both are communities on Long Island.

Student Ethnicity

The charter schools tend to attract a predominantly minority student population. For example, the Troy City School District1 reported that for the 2001-02 school year, 64.7 percent of its student population was White, 25.8 percent was Black, and 7.1 percent was Hispanic. In contrast, for the same year, the Ark Charter School reported that its student body was 9.3 percent White, 51.1 percent Black, and 39.6 percent Hispanic. For the same school year, the Albany City School District reported that 27.1 percent of its student body was White, 62.1 percent was Black, and 7.8 percent was Hispanic, while the New Covenant Charter School reported that 1.0 percent of its student body was White, 94.9 percent was Black, and 3.1 percent was Hispanic. The Riverhead Central School District reported that 63.3 percent of its student body was White, 27.7 percent was Black, and 7.4 percent was Hispanic. In contrast, the Riverhead Charter School reported that 20.8 percent of its student body was White, 66.7 percent was Black, and 10.2 percent was Hispanic.

While the student population of charter schools in New York State has remained fairly evenly balanced between boys and girls, the ethnic distribution is about two-thirds Black and about one-sixth Hispanic and White. The dominance of Black students in the charter school population has remained steady at two-thirds over the past three years, with the remaining third about equally divided between Hispanic and White students. The ethnic distribution of students in charter schools contrasts with the student population in public schools statewide. Statewide, White students represent a majority (55 percent for the most recent year information is available), with Black and Hispanic students representing 20 and 18 percent, respectively. Thus, the Hispanic population in charter schools is similar to the general population, while Blacks are overrepresented in charter schools and Whites are underrepresented.

Special Education and Free/Reduced Lunch

Charter School Student Enrollment by

Students with Disabilities and Free/Reduced Lunch

School Year

1999-00

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

Enrollment

1,698

5,699

8,093

10,577

Students with Disabilities

**

318

751

896

Percent Students with Disabilities

**

6.1*

9.4*

8.5

Students Receiving Free/Reduced Lunch

1,363

3,774

5,942

7,829

Percent Students Receiving Free/Reduced Lunch

80.2

72.9*

74.7*

74.0

* Enrollment adjusted for calculation because of incomplete data submissions.

** Charter schools operating in 1999-00 did not submit information on students with disabilities.

When compared with their districts of location, the data show that charter schools tend to attract more students who receive free or reduced lunch. For example, for the 2001-02 school year, the Troy City School District reported that 56.9 percent of the students were eligible for free or reduced lunch, while the Ark Charter School reported that 95.9 percent if its students were eligible. For the same year, the Albany City School District reported that 67.2 percent of its students were eligible for free or reduced lunch, while the New Covenant Charter School reported that 76.2 percent of its students were eligible. The Riverhead Central School District reported that 41.9 percent of its student population was eligible for free or reduced lunch during the 2001-02 school year, while the Riverhead Charter School reported that 67.1 percent of its student population was eligible. In the large cities, the distribution of students by free or reduced lunch is relatively comparable.

Regarding students with disabilities, statewide data for Fall 2000 show that over 11 percent of students received special education, a percentage that has been increasing over the past two decades. In charter schools, students with disabilities have represented a lower percentage, ranging from approximately six to nine percent over the last three years.

 

 

Student Academic Performance

Charter Schools and Districts of Location Meeting or Exceeding State Performance Index

 

 

 

Year

 

Performance Index

(PI)

ELA 4

ELA 8

Charter Schools

Districts of Location

Charter Schools

Districts of Location

Number

Number at or above PI

Number

Number at or above PI

Number

Number at or above PI

Number

Number at or above PI

1999-00

140

1

0

1

0

0

NA

0

NA

2000-01

140

7

1

6

0

4

1

3

0

2001-02

145

16

2

11

3

5

1

4

0

2002-03

150

22

8

14

5

9

2

8

1

As the table above reveals, in the first three years that charter schools were in operation, no more than two charter schools achieved the State’s performance index. In the fourth year of charter schools, eight schools met or exceeded the performance index. That represents not only an increase in charter schools demonstrating academic success, but the increase occurred even though the performance index had been raised above the level required previously.

The academic performance of charter schools can also be compared to that of districts in respect to progress toward the State performance index. While it is true that the majority of charter schools and the districts of their location have not yet demonstrated student achievement at the level of the State performance index, in the 2002-2003 school year charter schools have made notable gains toward that index. Of 15 charter schools for which grade 4 ELA data are available for both the 2001-02 and 2002-03 school years, 14 showed gains in their performance indexes, with the average gain over 30 points. For the 11 districts in which those charter schools are located, nine showed gains in their performance index, with average gains of eight points. In contrast, for the seven charter schools that reported achievement data in 2000-01 and 2001-02, their average gain on the State performance index was less than two points, with the districts showing an average gain of seven points for the same period. Thus, the pattern of gains in the districts housing charter schools has remained steady over the past two years, while the results for the charter schools have improved dramatically in 2002-03.

Results on the grade 8 ELA assessment show that, of the four charter schools reporting data for 2001-02 and 2002-03, all made gains on the State performance index, with the average gain being 15 points. For the three districts of location, all showed declines in performance, with the average loss being five points. The same four charter schools had reported data for 2000-01, with only one of the four registering a gain against the State performance index (average gain 0.25 points) in 2001-02. For the three districts, all made gains from 2000-01 to 2001-02, averaging eight points. The 2002-03 school year was a year in which the districts where charter schools are located showed performance declines in contrast to previous gains. It also seems worthy of note that the charter school gains on the grade 8 ELA assessment for 2002-03 run counter to a general pattern of decline in the districts.

Fiscal Impact

Overall impact upon a district’s budget depends upon the number of resident students attending a charter school, the total amount paid to the charter school, and the size of the district’s own budget. Although New York City hosts most of the charter schools, the overall impact upon its budget has been negligible. The Albany City School District seems to have consistently had one of the higher levels of impact. In 1999-2000 (the first year in which charter schools operated in New York State), the overall fiscal impact in Albany was 2.76 percent. In 2000-01, the Roosevelt Union Free School District showed the highest level of impact (3.05 percent), but the Albany City School District also had an impact of 2.53 percent. In the 2001-02 school year, the impact in Albany was 4.40 percent (once again the highest in the State), and was 5.00 percent in 2002-03 (the highest was 5.30 percent in the Lackawanna City School District).

Most districts2 report little financial and/or programmatic impact from having students attend charter schools. Most of the concerns are raised in districts with the largest number of students per capita attending charter schools (e.g., Albany City School District, Buffalo City School District). Both the Albany and Buffalo school districts have consistently reported that teaching staff had to be terminated, and Buffalo has further reported that administrators and teacher aides have also been terminated. It should be noted, however, that an ongoing fiscal crisis within the Buffalo City School District not related to the establishment of charter schools has contributed heavily to the need to terminate staff and otherwise re-organize.

Other consistent issues that have arisen are the increased amount of time that administrators must spend on charter school-related matters, and the need to add clerical staff to handle charter school tasks. Since students from all over the district (as opposed to all of them coming from one school building) enroll in charter schools, the districts often find that they are unable to reasonably consolidate classes and/or programs, in order to compensate for the lost revenue. One district (Syracuse) did report that some overcrowding had been alleviated by children leaving the district to attend a charter school. In no instance did a district report that enrollment in any remedial programs or special education programs decreased as a result of children attending a charter school.

 

 

 

 

Attachment A

Ark Community Charter School

2247 13th Street

Troy, New York 12180-3017

Mission Statement

"We believe that all children have the right to quality education that addresses their academic and social needs. The Ark Community Charter School (ACCS) will challenge all students to increase their understanding, to develop their skills, critical judgment and intellectual curiosity, and to acquire knowledge. We seek to provide quality education and increase student learning and achievement for the children who traditionally have been labeled "at risk" because of limited English proficiency, poverty, race, geographic location, or economic disadvantage. It is our goal to nurture early success and leadership skills which will encourage the students to love learning, lead meaningful lives, earn a good living, and "do for others," in the hope of creating a better world for all.

We believe that treating children as if they were all the same is not the same as treating them equally, because all have different needs. We believe that it is necessary to acknowledge the differences in children's backgrounds, since some come to school privileged and others are disadvantaged. The Ark Community Charter School seeks to counteract this "dysconscious racism" by providing a curriculum that is child-centered and multicultural, where every class is different and every interaction is uniquely tailored to the children's needs.

We believe that there are multiple learning styles and many ways in which the children can demonstrate intelligence. We believe that children thrive in situations where their strengths are celebrated and their needs are appropriately addressed. We believe that when teachers expect excellence from all their students, the students respond with excellence. To this end we will provide multiage classes where children have an opportunity to stay with the same teacher for two years to help them build a longer-lasting relationship with their teachers while learning from a wider range of peers.

We believe that all children need opportunities to develop habits that lead to ethical behavior, responsible action and a strong sense of justice. To this end our curriculum will provide opportunities for the children to discuss and critically evaluate relevant ethical issues.

We believe that educated teachers are a critical component in the learning process. They need to acquire a careful balance between theory and practice. To this end the Ark Community Charter School is committed to providing their teachers with educational opportunities and time for reflection and collaboration in order to create an innovative curriculum and environment.

We believe that parents are partners in the education of their children. Parents and guardians are their children's first teachers and continue to be a vital influence in their education. Since we believe that the parents and guardians have valuable information to offer about their children, we will actively involve them as educational colleagues. We will be open and receptive to the wisdom of the local community and the community-at-large."

 

Revision of 1/11/01:

Amended Mission Statement (bold words have been newly added)

"The Ark Community Charter School's continuing mission is to create within the city of Troy a community that fosters the academic, social and spiritual growth of our members in an environment that is both supportive and challenging. In this community everyone is celebrated, respected and heard; all are intellectually engaged, socially concerned, ethically responsible, and culturally open-minded.

With the addition of the two new phrases, we hope that our mission statement now makes it evident that student learning and achievement in the Troy community is of paramount importance to the Ark Community Charter School. By fostering the academic growth of our students we will strive to enhance their learning and academic achievement. They will be continually challenged to learn more about themselves and the world around them, to become thinking beings who will greatly benefit their local communities and society at large. "

 

Ark Community Charter School

Attendance and Dropout Statistics

Other Data

 

School Year: 2001-02

Maximum enrollment: 96 students K-5

Percentage of Attendance: NA

Dropouts: None

Number of special education students: 12

Number LEP students: 11

Number students receiving free/reduced lunch: 92

Poverty Data: 51-60% pupils on public welfare

Number of students suspended: not reported

School

Assets

2001-02

Liabilities

2001-02

Total Net Assets or Fund Balance

2001-02

Change in Unrestricted Net Assets or Fund Balance

2001-02

Ark Community CS

$675,884

$109,292

$566,592

$421,442

School Year: 2002-03

Maximum enrollment: 96 students K-5

Percentage of Attendance: 93.1%

Number of special education students: 13

Number LEP students: 13

Number students receiving free/reduced lunch: 89

Poverty Data: 51-60% pupils on public welfare

Number of students suspended: 5

School

Assets

2002-03

Liabilities

2002-03

Total Net Assets or Fund Balance

2002-03

Change in Unrestricted Net Assets or Fund Balance

2002-03

Ark Community CS

*

*

*

*

*Information not yet available.

 

School Year: 2003-04

Maximum enrollment: 96 students K-5

Other information not yet available.

Ark Community Charter School

Student Enrollment Data

2001-02 Enrollment Disaggregated

Grade

American Ind./Alaskan Native

Black

Asian/Pacific Islander

Hispanic

White

Totals

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

Kdg.

 

 

6

5

 

 

1

2

 

2

7

9

1st

 

 

5

4

 

 

4

3

 

 

9

7

2nd

 

 

4

3

 

 

3

4

2

 

9

7

3rd

 

 

3

3

 

 

4

4

1

1

8

8

4th

 

 

5

3

 

 

6

1

1

 

12

4

5th

 

 

2

6

 

 

4

2

2

 

8

8

6th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ungraded Elem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ungraded Secondary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Totals

 

 

25

24

 

 

22

16

6

3

53

43

2002-03 Enrollment Disaggregated

Grade

American Ind./Alaskan Native

Black

Asian/Pacific Islander

Hispanic

White

Totals

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

Kdg.

 

 

6

4

 

 

3

3

 

 

9

7

1st

 

 

4

3

 

 

1

5

1

2

11

5

2nd

 

 

5

5

 

 

3

3

 

 

8

8

3rd

 

 

6

2

 

 

3

4

1

 

10

6

4th

 

 

4

4

 

 

2

4

1

1

7

9

5th

 

 

5

6

 

 

1

3

1

 

7

9

6th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ungraded Elem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ungraded Secondary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Totals

 

 

30

24

 

 

13

22

4

3

47

49

Ark Community Charter School

Student Enrollment Data

2003-04 Enrollment Disaggregated

Grade

American Ind./Alaskan Native

Black

Asian/Pacific Islander

Hispanic

White

Totals

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

Kdg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1st

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2nd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3rd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ungraded Elem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ungraded Secondary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Totals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ark Community Charter School

Student Performance on Standardized Assessments

New York State Assessments

 

Percent of Students Performing at Level:

2001-02

1

2

3

4

Grade 4 ELA

Troy City Schools

18.2

4.4

72.7

32.0

9.1

53.0

0.0

10.7

Grade 4 Math

Troy City Schools

0.0

4.7

64.3

32.2

28.6

51.6

7.1

11.6

2002-03

 

 

 

 

Grade 4 ELA

Troy City Schools

7.1

6.7

78.6

40.1

7.1

38.2

7.1

15.0

Grade 4 Math

Troy City Schools

*

*

*

*

Grade 5 Social Studies

Troy City Schools

40.0

27.0

33.0

0.0

*Data not yet available.

Stanford Achievement Test-9 Reading Battery

2002-03

Grade

Date of Test (DOT)

# Enrolled in Grade on DOT

# Exempted in Grade by IEP

# Absent in Grade on DOT

# Exempted in Grade by ELL Status

# Students Assessed in Grade

Score:

NCE

Qualitative Level & Percent Attaining

2

5/03

16

0

0

0

16

33

NA

3

5/03

15

0

0

0

15

30

NA

5

5/03

16

1

0

0

15

43

NA

Comparison of SAT-9 Grade 3 Reading Battery and New York State Grade 4 ELA

2004 Cohort Group (N=9)

SAT-9 Reading Battery – Spring 2003 (grade 3)

Scaled Score: 570

NYS ELA – Spring 2003 (grade 4)

Scaled Score: 620

Stanford Achievement Test-9 Math Battery

2002-03

Grade

Date of Test (DOT)

# Enrolled in Grade on DOT

# Exempted in Grade by IEP

# Absent in Grade on DOT

# Exempted in Grade by ELL Status

# Students Assessed in Grade

Score:

NCE

Qualitative Level & Percent Attaining

2

5/03

16

0

0

0

16

26

NA

3

5/03

16

0

1

0

15

24

NA

5

5/03

16

1

0

0

15

39

NA

Ark Community Charter School

Fiscal Impact Data

2001-02

Name

Sending District

Number of Students

2001-02

AEP

Per Student 2001-02

Total AEP 2001-02

District’s 2001-02 Approved General Fund Budget

Percent of Impact on District

Budget

Ark Community Charter School

Lansingburgh

6

$7,055

$42,330

$24,542,924

0.17

Troy

90

$8,640

$777,600

$64,415,500

1.21

 

2002-03

Name

Sending District

Number of Students

2002-03

AEP

Per Student 2002-03

Total AEP 2002-03

District’s 2002-03 Approved General Fund Budget

Percent of Impact on District

Budget

Ark Community Charter School

Lansingburgh

9

$7,197

$64,773

$25,403,338

0.26

Troy

86

$8,769

$754,134

$62,652,468

1.20

Watervliet

1

$6,349

$6,349

$15,401,926

0.04

 

Attachment B

Recommendations

The Board of Regents included the following recommendations for modification to the charter school legislation in previous annual reports submitted to the Governor and Legislature:

Application Process

  1. There is no provision in Article 56 that would expedite the processing of unapprovable applications for charter schools without requiring action by the charter entity.

2. The legislation should clarify under which circumstances preferences may be given to "at-risk" students.

  1. The time period by which a charter entity must take action on an application as stated in §2852(1) of Education Law is too short. Applications received before October 1 must be acted upon by December 31st of that year. This does not allow sufficient time for staff of a charter entity to work with applicants to modify and improve their applications.

  2. The time period of 60 days for the Board of Regents to review and approve proposed charters submitted by another charter entity, pursuant to §2852(5-a) of Education Law, is also too short. This does not allow sufficient time for Department staff to interact with the other charter entity and its applicants to agree upon and make changes to the proposed charters prior to Regents approval.

  3. The statute should be amended to provide clear guidance on the issues of programmatic and fiscal impact of the charter school upon the affected school districts. A definition or formula should be provided to assist a charter entity in determining when such an impact would be too great to allow.

  4. The Commissioner of Education should have the discretionary ability to consent to a proposed minor amendment to a charter by any charter entity with the approval of the Board of Regents. This would help to avoid delays resulting from the need for Regents approval at their monthly meetings of minor changes in a charter and would also permit changes in emergency circumstances.

Conversion Process

  1. The conversion process should be more clearly delineated in legislation, which should require that the Board of Education enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the school before its conversion. The MOU should define any support and services that will be provided by the Board to the charter school and specify such agreements as have been reached regarding facilities, disposition of supplies and equipment, and personnel issues such as pension benefits.

  2. The legislation should further outline provisions for the vote by parents for the conversion of an existing public school to a charter school.

  3. The statute should clarify for conversion charter schools the processes that are necessary during the time when it is in transition from its previous existence as a district school to its new legal status as a charter school.

Admissions Process

  1. The statute should be amended to permit, in the case of New York City, the geographic region used for determining preference for admission to be the community school district.

    Charter School Operation

    1. The statute should be amended to require charter schools to be subject to the same building code compliance requirements as other public schools.

  2. The statute should clarify the extent to which the school district of location, in the case of the conversion of an existing public school to charter school status, can provide services to charter school students and claim State aid for those services as if the students were enrolled in a district-operated program.

  3. The statute should be amended to clarify the authority of a BOCES to provide services to charter schools.

  4. The date for the receipt of the financial statements and audit should be changed from August 1 to October 1 of each year, to coincide with the due date for other public schools.

Funding

  1. The formula that provides per-pupil funding for charter schools should be revised to account for the differing cost factors in providing an elementary versus a secondary education experience to students.