Meeting of the Board of Regents | March 2009
THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
Charter Schools: Proposed Revisions to the Initial Charter for Community Roots Charter School
March 5, 2009
Goals 1 and 2
Issue for Decision
Should the Regents approve the staff’s recommendation concerning the proposed revisions to the initial charter for Community Roots Charter School (New York City)?
Reason(s) for Consideration
Required by State statute, Education Law §2852.
This question will come before the EMSC Committee in March 2009 for action. It will then come before the full Board for final action in March 2009.
The New York Charter Schools Act of 1998 requires the Board of Regents to review, in accordance with the standards set forth in Education Law §2852(2), proposed charters, renewal charters and revisions to charters and renewal charters that have been approved and submitted by other charter entities. The Board of Regents may either approve and issue a charter, renewal charter and/or revision as proposed by the charter entity, or return the same to the charter entity for reconsideration with written comments and recommendations.
The Board must act on a proposed revision submitted by the Chancellor of the city school district of the City of New York or other school district within 90 days of its submission or the proposed revision will be deemed to have been approved and issued by operation of law at the expiration of that period.
If the Board chooses to return the proposed revision to the Chancellor or school district, as the chartering entity, with comments and recommendations, the Chancellor or the school district must reconsider the proposed revision, taking into consideration the comments and recommendations of the Board. The Chancellor or the school district may resubmit the proposed revision to the Board without modification, resubmit the proposed revision with modifications agreed to by the applicant in writing, or abandon the proposed revision.
If the Chancellor or the school district resubmits a proposed revision to the Board, the Board may, within 90 days of resubmission, either approve or again return the proposed revision to the Chancellor or to the school district for modification. There is no limit to the number of times the Board can return a resubmitted proposed revision to the Chancellor or to a school district.
We received a request from the Chancellor of the city school district of the City of New York to revise the charter for Community Roots Charter School (CRCS or “the School”). The School seeks to amend its Code of Conduct by separating rules of conduct from disciplinary procedures. Two documents entitled “Code of Conduct” and “Disciplinary Procedures” will be created, and further changes will be made to the list of policies and procedures in each. CRCS also seeks to amend its bylaws, make a location change and revise its complaint procedure. These changes will allow the School to provide a program that is more closely in line with its philosophy and overall objectives. Specific revisions are described below.
Revisions to the School’s policies and procedures listed in the Code of Conduct are:
- Add a “Classroom Rules” section.
- Include in the list of prohibited actions; cheating, lying, copying the work of another student, possession of a toy which resembles a weapon and leaving unaccompanied from the floor on which an assigned class is located.
Revisions to the School’s policies and procedures listed in the Disciplinary Procedures are:
- Add a “Classroom Discipline” section that describes actions teachers must take with students who violate classroom rules that do not warrant suspension.
- Re-define “in-school suspension” as removal from the classroom for a full day or longer.
- Replace a list of behaviors that warrant in-school suspension with a broad statement that includes any violation of the Code of Conduct that warrants removal from the classroom and for which educating the student as an in-house suspension will not interfere with the educational process of the School.
- Eliminate the requirement of notice by mail when notifying parents or guardians of in-school suspensions except in the event that the School is unable to reach parents or guardians by telephone within 24 hours of the suspension.
- Stipulate that the CRCS Executive Committee may appoint, in place of the Committee itself, a hearing officer to conduct a fair hearing in student expulsions and suspensions of five days or more.
- Add that if CRCS and the student’s parents agree to commence an out-of-school suspension before the fair hearing, such hearing must take place prior to a sixth day of suspension unless the student’s parents or guardians reasonably request in writing that the hearing be postponed, and provided that the requested delay shall not exceed five additional school days and the student shall remain out of school for the period of the delay.
- Eliminate the provision, concerning a student with a disability (SWD) who has accrued an annual total of eight days of suspension, that the School will refer such a student to the Committee on Special Education (CSE) for reconsideration of the the student’s educational placement.
Revisions to the School’s by-laws are:
- Change the number of regular Board meetings from ten to six.
- Include a provision that the Secretary and Chair of the Education Committee are members of the Executive Committee.
- Add an Audit Committee to oversee the School’s independent auditors and to review conflicts of interest.
- Include a provision that the Executive Committee is responsible for overseeing matters pertaining to employee compensation and school discipline.
- Add a nominating committee whose function will be to propose nominations to Board seats.
- Include a provision that the Chairman has the option to appoint, with the Board’s approval, a Leadership Council to promote the objectives of the School and advise the Board concerning the progress and applicable policies of the School.
- Include a provision that Board members are precluded from voting on matters pertaining to the compensation they receive for any non-Board related services.
- Revise the conflict of interest provisions to be more closely aligned with the new Internal Revenue Service reporting requirements.
- Include a provision that a Trustee is deemed to have resigned if he/she has not attended four consecutive meetings without explanation.
The revision to the School’s location is:
- Change the principal office of the corporation from the New York City Center for Charter School Excellence to the address of its physical location at 51 Saint Edwards Street, Brooklyn, NY 11205.
The revision to the School’s complaint process:
- Eliminate the requirement to appeal to the School’s full Board of Directors when not satisfied with the decision of the Executive Committee (except in appeals related to student expulsion and long-term suspensions), thereby taking the appeal directly to the New York City Department of Education as a second step.
The School is located in Community School District (CSD) 13, Brooklyn. The New York City Department of Education held a public hearing in CSD 13 on September 4, 2008, regarding the proposed revision. No public comments were made or received.
The Board of Regents approved a revision to the School’s charter in June 2008 allowing the School to revise its Code of Conduct concerning certain prohibited conduct and a more detailed description of due process for in-school and out-of-school suspensions.
VOTED: That the Board of Regents approves the revisions to the initial charter of the Community Roots Charter School as proposed by the Chancellor of the city school district of the City of New York, and the provisional charter is amended accordingly.
Reasons for Recommendation
The proposed revisions to the School’s initial charter, along with the other terms of the initial charter: (1) meet the requirements set out in Article 56 of the Education Law, and all other applicable laws, rules and regulations; (2) will permit the charter school to operate in an educationally and fiscally sound manner; and; (3) are likely to improve student learning and achievement and materially further the purposes set out in subdivision two of section twenty-eight hundred fifty of Article 56 of the Education Law.
Timetable for Implementation
The Regents action for Community Roots Charter School will be effective immediately.