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January 2010

TO:

EMSC Committee

 

FROM:

John B. King, Jr.

SUBJECT:

Charter Schools: Proposed Charter for Brooklyn Dreams Charter School

DATE:

January 8, 2010

STRATEGIC GOAL:

Goals 1 and 2

AUTHORIZATION(S):

 

SUMMARY

Issue for Decision

Should the Regents approve and issue the proposed charter for Brooklyn Dreams Charter School (New York City)?

Background Information

We have received a proposed charter from the Trustees of the State University of New York (SUNY) for the establishment of Brooklyn Dreams Charter School (“the School”).  The School will open in September 2010.  Initially, the School will serve 196 students in grades K-3 and grow to serve 574 students in grades K-7 in its fifth year of operation.  The School's mission is “to offer the families of Brooklyn a school with a culture that values integrity, academic excellence and accountability, where all students are given the opportunity for success in high school, college, and beyond by offering an academically rigorous and challenging K-8 educational program.” 

The School has contracted with National Heritage Academies, Inc. as its management partner.  The School will provide instruction from 7:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. for 180 days of instruction days per academic year. 

The New York City Department of Education held a public hearing in Community School District (CSD) 22 on July 16, 2009 regarding this proposed charter application.  Ten comments were made; five in support and five in opposition to the proposed application.

Additional information concerning this initial application may also be found on the Board of Regents website at http://www.regents.nysed.gov/.

Recommendation

              VOTED: That the Board of Regents returns the proposed charter of the Brooklyn Dreams Charter School to the Trustees of the State University of New York (SUNY) for reconsideration, and with the following comments and recommendations: (1) that the School provide evidence that the lead applicant has completed a state and federal criminal records check to the satisfaction of SUNY; (2) that the School provide evidence that the lead applicant is either a teacher, parent, school administrator or community resident; (3) that the School include instruction leading to the attainment of all 28 learning standards in the application; (4) that the School revise the application to clarify the targeted district of location; (5) that the School provide letters of support demonstrating community support for the application; (6) that the School comply with provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; and (7) that the School ensure that applications for admission will be accepted until and through April 1 of each year.

Timetable for Implementation

The Regents action for the Brooklyn Dreams Charter School is effective immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York State Education Department

Summary of Proposed Charter

Name of Proposed Charter School: Brooklyn Dreams Charter School (BDCS or “the School”)

Address:  259 Parkville Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

Applicant(s):  William Girasole and Richard Conti

Anticipated Opening Date: September 1, 2010

District of Location: New York City Community School District 21, Brooklyn

 

Charter Entity: Trustees of the State University of New York (SUNY)

Institutional Partner(s): 

Management Partner(s): National Heritage Academies, Inc.

Grades Served:                      2010-2011: K-3

2011-2012: K-4

2012-2013: K-5

2013-2014: K-6

2014-2015: K-7

 

Projected Enrollment:         2010-2011: 196

2011-2012: 248

2012-2013: 418

2013-2014: 496

2014-2015: 574

 

 

Proposed Charter Highlights

Applicant

              The applicants for the proposed School are William Girasole and Richard Conti.  William Girasole has worked in commercial and non-profit environments.  His experience includes: strategic planning, public relations, operating finance, sales and marketing.  He currently works as general manager with Aldo B. Girasole Real Estate.  His responsibilities include: operating controls to achieve consistent growth; management of residential and commercial properties; credit analysis; and provision of financial resources. 

Richard Conti has worked in the field of commercial banking for over forty years.  He is currently the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at the Xaverian High school, a private Catholic boys school.  As CFO, he is responsible for accounting functions such as budgeting and reporting.

Institutional Partner

N/A       

Management Partner

             

National Heritage Academies (NHA) is a national management company that provides educational programs to 27 other charter schools, including Brooklyn Excelsior Charter School; and formerly Rochester Leadership School in Rochester, New York, which the Trustees of the State University of New York closed because it “failed to meet, over the term of the charter, the educational achievement benchmarks.”  In its partnership, NHA would provide support services in the form of application development, start-up and contingency funding, grant proposals, land and facility acquisition and community development.  In addition, if approved, NHA would be contracted to manage, operate, and maintain all services related to labor, materials, equipment, and facilities.  This would include aiding in the process of selecting, hiring, and training qualified personnel.  NHA would implement and monitor the educational goals, instructional programs, curriculum, methods of pupil assessment, admission policy and criteria, and ensure compliance with performance targeted educational outcomes.  It would propose and implement changes to the education program approved by the Board of Trustees, as well as purchase with school funds any instructional materials, books, supplies and equipment.  NHA would also be responsible for notifying the Board of Trustees of any material health or safety issues, labor or employee or funding problems, or any other problems that could adversely affect the School.  Currently, NHA manages three charter schools in New York, approved by the Board of Regents (for performance data, see Attachment I), which are the following (name – date of charter – location):

 

  • Southside Academy Charter School – December 2001 – Syracuse, NY
  • Brooklyn Excelsior Charter School – March 2002 – Brooklyn, NY
  • Buffalo United Charter School – September 2002 – Buffalo, NY
  • Brooklyn Scholars Charter School – February 2009 – Brooklyn, NY

 

Curriculum/Assessment/Instruction

 

  • It is the intent of the School to model itself on the experience of other charter schools in New York City, which are managed by National Heritage Academies, Inc. (NHA) such as Brooklyn Excelsior Charter School and Brooklyn Scholars Charter School in Brooklyn, NY. 
  • The School asserts that it will implement a curriculum that is rigorous and prepares students for the future.
  • The NHA-developed curriculum will be utilized to provide instruction in all core subject areas. 
  • BDCS will implement a Character Focus curriculum based on Greek cardinal virtues of prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice.  Through this curriculum students will interact with the community through various service learning projects throughout the school year.
  • School will not provide instruction in each subject in the seven general curriculum areas and the proposed curriculum is not aligned to all 28 New York State (NYS) learning standards.
  • In grades K-2, students will receive 180 minutes of English language arts (ELA) instruction, 75 minutes of math instruction, and 30 minutes of instruction in science and social studies each day.  Weekly, students will receive 90 minutes of physical education (PE), and 45 minutes of instruction in art, music, and technology education, respectively.
  • In grade 3, students will receive 150 minutes of ELA instruction, 90 minutes of math instruction, and 45 minutes of instruction in science and social studies each day.  Weekly, students will receive 90 minutes of PE, and 45 minutes of instruction in art, music, and technology education, respectively.
  • In grade 4 and 5, students will receive 120 minutes of ELA instruction, 90 minutes of math instruction, and 60 minutes of instruction in science and social studies each day.  Weekly, students will receive 90 minutes of PE, and 45 minutes of instruction in art, music, and technology education, respectively.
  • In grade 6 and 7, students will receive 90 minutes of ELA instruction, 90 minutes of math instruction, and 45 minutes of instruction in science and social studies each day.  Students will receive 45 minutes of instruction per week in Spanish, career development and occupational studies/health, PE, technology education, art and music, respectively. 
  • The School proposes a 180 day school year from September to the end of June.
  • BDCS will provide instruction from 7:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. 

 

Governance

 

  • The number of Trustees shall not be fewer than seven and shall not exceed nine.
  • Trustees will be divided into three classes for the purposes of staggering the terms of office.  The terms of the first class of trustees will expire in one year.  The terms of the second class will expire in two years.  The terms of the third class will expire in three years. 
  • No more than 40 percent of trustees will be affiliated with the School as a compensated employee or contractor or will be affiliated with National Heritage Academies, Inc. or any other single entity; and such persons will not serve as chair or treasurer of the Board.
  • Regular meetings of the Board of Trustees shall be held 10 times throughout the year.
  • The officers of the board of trustees are president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer.

 

Students

 

  • The School will serve 196 students in grade K-3 in Year One and will grow to serve 574 students in grades K-7 in Year Five.   
  • BDCS anticipates a class size of 26 students.  Each class will have one teacher.  The student to teacher ratio will be 26:1. 
  • The School’s recruitment plan includes strategies to advertise widely to families from the community school district, including English Language Learners (ELL) and Students with Disabilities (SWD).
  • BDCS anticipates the ages of students enrolled in grades K-7 will range between four and 12.
  • The School expects the student body to reflect the population of the target community, which in 2009 was: 25 percent Black; 21 percent Hispanic; 23 percent Asian; and 32 percent White.

 

Budget/Facilities

 

  • The School is seeking to lease space in a private facility located at 259 Parkville Avenue in Brooklyn, New York.  The facility is located in Community School District (CSD) 22. 
  • NHA may make contributions to BDCS of $2,861,795 (Year One), $2,176,314 (Year Two), and $703,480 (Year Three).  The contributions are not guaranteed.  “NHA may, but need not, make contributions to the academy in the event academy expenses exceed revenues.” 
  • The School will “pay NHA all revenues as the gross management fee from which NHA would pay all operating costs of the school identified in a budget approved by the Board.”
  • BDCS anticipates revenues of $5,663,916 in Year One, growing to $9,461,520 in Year Five. 
  • The School projects expenses equal to revenues in each year of operation.
  • The School anticipates no philanthropic contributions over the term of the charter.
  • BDCS expects to carry forward a zero cash balance at the end of the start-up period.
  • The School anticipates a Year Five fund balance of zero dollars, and a reserve fund of zero dollars.  
  • The School has budgeted for an escrow account to be used in the event of dissolution.
  • The School will not seek a Charter Schools Program (CSP) Planning and Implementation grant.  The School does not anticipate receiving a New York City Start-up Grant.
  • The School ensures that it will perform all programmatic and fiscal audits annually as required by the New York State Charter Schools Act, in accordance with auditing standards and Government Auditing Standards issued by the Comptroller General of the United States.
  • The potential fiscal impact upon the District is represented below.  Please note that these projections are based upon several assumptions, which may or may not occur: that all existing charter schools will also exist in the next five years and serve the same grade levels as they do now; that the charter schools will be able to meet their projected maximum enrollment; that all students will come from NYC and no other districts; that all students will attend everyday for a 1.0 FTE; that the District’s budget will increase at the projected rate; that the per pupil payment will increase (and not decrease); and that the per pupil payment will increase at the projected rate.

 

Projected Fiscal Impact of

Brooklyn Dreams Charter School

(New York City – CSD 22 – Brooklyn)

2010-2011 through 2014-2015

School Year

Number of Students

Projected Payment*

Projected Impact

2010-2011

196

$2,438,828

.0143%

2011-2012

248

$3,224,728

.0184%

2012-2013

418

$5,679,812

.0315%

2013-2014

496

$7,042,967

.0379%

2014-2015

574

$8,517,304

.0445%

*Assumes a three percent annual increase in the District’s budget from the base of $18.035 billion in 2010-2011; and a three percent annual increase in the average expense per pupil per year from the 2010-2011 rate of $12,816.

Personnel

 

  • The School will be led by a principal. 
  • The work of the principal will be supported by three deans, one of whom will be hired in Year One.  Additional deans will be hired in Year Four and Year Five.
  • The School will employ the following staff in its first year of instruction: eight classroom teachers (20 in Year Five); one special education coordinator/teacher (three in Year Five); .5 FTE teacher for art, physical education, and music (one in Year Four and Five); .75 FTE library technology specialist (one in Year Four and Five) and 1.5 FTE Instructional Aides (3.5 in Year Five).
  • The special education teacher will be New York State certified in Special Education.
  • In addition, the School will employ an in-school suspension teacher and English as a Second Language teacher. 

 

Community Support

 

  • The School collected over 1,000 signatures from parents on the Parent Petition of Interest/Support, of which an indeterminate number have eligible school-age children.  The petitions were not worded to identity parents of students eligible to enroll in grades K and 1 during the 2010-2011 school year. 
  • The SUNY Board of Trustees has deemed waiting lists for schools managed by the institutional partner to constitute sufficient evidence of community support.  SUNY notes that Brooklyn Excelsior Charter School, also managed by NHA and serving grades K-8, has a waiting list of 1,420 students. 

 

Public Opinion

 

  • The applicant is seeking space in CSD 21.  No public hearing has been held in the targeted district of location identified by the authorizer. 
  • The New York City Department of Education sent a letter and posted the notice on its website, notifying the public and independent schools in CSD 22 of the proposed application for Brooklyn Dreams Charter School and inviting comments for the public hearing. 
  • The New York City Department of Education held a public hearing in CSD 22 on July 16, 2009 regarding this proposed charter application.  Ten public comments were made.  Five comments were in favor and five comments were in opposition to the opening of the proposed school.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attachment 1

Performance of NYS Charter Schools managed by National Heritage Academies, Inc.* on the ELA and Math State Assessments compared to the school district of location

Percent of Students Scoring At or Above Level 3 on State Exams

Charter School

2004-2005

2005-2006

2006-2007

2007-2008

 

Gr. 4

ELA

Gr. 4

MATH

3-8

ELA

3-8

MATH

3-8

ELA

3-8

MATH

3-8

ELA

3-8

MATH

Brooklyn Excelsior Charter School

30

54

61

72

54

82

72

90

NYC Community School District 16

46

56

38

42

37

51

47

63

                 

Buffalo United Charter School

69

77

40

55

44

84

66

89

Buffalo City School District

40

53

31

29

35

37

44

51

                 

Southside Charter School

41

64

26

43

40

64

53

77

Syracuse City School District

49

59

35

31

38

40

43

51

* Brooklyn Scholars Charter School was approved by the Board of Regents in February 2009, and opened in September 2009.  No New York State assessment data is available.