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Meeting of the Board of Regents | January 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010 - 11:55pm

TO:

EMSC Committee

FROM:

John B. King, Jr.

SUBJECT:

Charter Schools: Proposed Charter for the Brighter Choice

Charter Middle School for Boys

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 of the Brighter Choice Charter Middle School for Boys (Albany)?

Background Information

We received a proposed charter from the Trustees of the State University of New York (SUNY) for the establishment of the Brighter Choice Charter Middle School for Boys (“the School”).  The School will be located in Albany and intends to use 2009-2010 as a planning year, opening for instruction in September 2010.  In the 2010-2011 school year, the School will enroll 54 male students in grade 5 and enroll 220 male students in grades 5-8 beginning with the 2013-2014 school year and continuing at the same grades and enrollment for the 2014-2015 school year.  The School will provide the only year-round middle school option in the State as well as the only public boy’s middle school option in the City of Albany.  The School's mission is “to prepare boys for high school and college success while attending to the unique developmental needs of middle school students.”   There will be a substantially equal educational opportunity for Girls in the proposed district of location.

Two public hearings were held. The first hearing was held on June 9, 2009.  There were twenty-three speakers present at the June meeting, thirteen of which submitted written comments expressing their support of the School and eight of which submitted written comments expressing their concern about the burden charter schools put on the City of Albany and Albany City School District.  The second hearing was held on September 17, 2009.  There were ten speakers, nine of which submitted written comments expressing their concern about the burden charter schools put on the City of Albany and Albany City School District.   Additionally, the Albany City School District submitted a letter in opposition to the approval of an additional charter school.  The letter asserts the Brighter Choice Charter Middle School for Boys would not provide a significant educational benefit to the students expected to attend, and the School would put an undue burden on the District.

Staff recommends that the Board of Regents approve the proposed charter.

                             

Recommendation

VOTED:  That the Board of Regents approves and issues the charter of the proposed charter of the Brighter Choice Charter Middle School for Boys as proposed by the Trustees of the State University of New York, and issues a provisional charter for a term of five years, up through and including January 11, 2015.

Timetable for Implementation

The Regents action for The Brighter Choice Charter Middle School for Boys is effective immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York State Education Department

Summary of Proposed Charter

Name of Proposed Charter School:  Brighter Choice Charter Middle School for    Boys

Address:  116 N. Lake Avenue, Albany, NY

Applicant(s):  Vanessa Threatte and Thomas W. Carroll

Anticipated Opening Date:  September 7, 2010

District of Location:  Albany

 

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

Institutional Partner(s):  N/A

Management Partner(s):   N/A

Grades Served:                      2009-2010: Planning

2010-2011:  5

2011-2012:  5-6

2012-2013:  5-7

2013-2014:  5-8

2014-2015:  5-8

 

Projected Enrollment:         2009-2010: Planning

2010-2011:  54

2011-2012:  112

2012-2013:  168

2013-2014:  220

2014-2015:  220

 

Proposed Charter Highlights

Applicant

              The lead applicant, Vanessa Threatte, is an Albany resident who is the current middle level grades principal of the Brighter Choice Charter School for Boys and the Brighter Choice Charter School for Girls. She has served the schools for the last five years in growing capacity from assistant teacher, lead teacher, administrative intern, to assistant principal of Brighter Choice Charter School for Girls.  

              The co-applicant, Thomas W. Carroll, is currently the President of the Foundation for Education Reform and Accountability, a statewide education policy organization.  He is also chairman of the Brighter Choice Foundation; an Albany based philanthropic organization supporting most of the charter schools in Albany, primarily through securing state-of-the-art facilities and leasing them to charter schools, at-cost.  He is chairman of the boards of the Brighter Choice Charter School for Boys and the Brighter Choice Charter School for Girls, both of which are among the highest scoring public elementary schools in Albany. Previously, Mr. Carroll was president of the Empire Foundation for Policy Research.  He also held various executive and legislative branch positions in the New York government.

Institutional Partner

              The School does not have an institutional partner.

Management Partner

              N/A

Curriculum/Assessment/Instruction

  • The School will be providing instruction to boys and provided research which documents the educational benefit of a single-sex school including information which is specific to an all boys program.
  • The School will be instituting a year-round school year of approximately 213 days and included research which documents the educational benefit of year-round schooling.
  • There will be a comparable opportunity for girls at Brighter Choice Charter Middle School for Girls in Albany.
  • The School provided a curriculum framework which addresses all learning standards and is aligned.
  • Differentiated instruction will be used to meet the wide range of learning needs of the School’s entire student body.
  • The School has made a commitment to technology use and integration into the school’s academic program and culture.
  • Each student will be provided an adult advisor and small-group seminar to support the positive social and emotional development of boys.
  • Individualized counseling and guidance will be offered throughout the high school placement process.
  • The School will annually administer all applicable New York State assessments, as well as the Terra Nova, which will be administered annually to all students.
  • The School will not have more than 19 students in any academic class.

 

 

Governance

  • The School’s By-Laws provide for a board of trustees consisting of five to fifteen members. The application includes seven proposed members of the School’s board of trustees. 
  • Trustees are committed to children and a high-quality results-oriented academic program.  
  • Trustees represent individuals with skills and expertise in education, real estate, law, fundraising, business, government, accounting, military, management, administration, or community and youth development; and non-profit governance. 
  • The Board of trustees will have three year terms, but the founding members will have terms ending after one, two or three years to create staggered changes in membership and the parent member will have a one year term. 
  • The officers of the board of trustees will consist of a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, and a Treasurer.

 

Students

  • The School will provide the first public school choice option solely for middle school boys in the Capital Region.  
  • The School will open for instruction serving a maximum of 54 male students in grade 5.  By the fifth year if its initial charter, it expects to serve 220 male students.
  • The School’s promotional materials will be printed in English and Spanish.
  • Promotional materials will include provisions for non-discrimination and the School’s interest in serving students with disabilities and who are English language learners.
  • The School’s advertising will include fliers and public notices in newspapers, supermarkets, houses of worships, community centers, and organizations serving the disabled, and direct mail advertising to Albany residents.
  • The School will accept timely applications until close of business on April 1. 
  • The School’s special education program meets the necessary requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Act.

 

Budget/Facilities

  • During its first year, The School plans to enter into a lease agreement with the Brighter Choice Foundation, as the owner of the facility housing the Brighter Choice Charter School for Boys, located at 116 N. Lake Avenue, Albany, NY.
  • By year two, the School will relocate to a newly constructed facility owned by the Brighter Choice Foundation.
  • The School will lease the new facility from the Brighter Choice Foundation at cost.  
  • The start-up budget is balanced with a modest surplus if $2,372. 
  • The 5-yr. plan is balanced with adequate surpluses each year and includes a $75,000 escrow account for possible dissolution.
  • The School’s Year One projected revenue will be $867,624 and will grow to $3,377,952 in Year Five. 
  • The Year One budget anticipates total expenses of $826,865 and by Year Five of $3,239,165.
  • The School anticipates an ending fund balance of $15,759 at the end of Year One and $88,787 at the end of Year Five.
  • The School indicated that it will establish a dissolution fund of $75,000. The School will set aside $25,000 each year for the first three years of operation to meet this requirement.
  • 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 provided in their current charters; that the charter schools will be able to meet their projected maximum enrollment; that all students will come from Albany 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

Brighter Choice Charter Middle School for Boys

2010-11 through 2014-15

School Year

Number of Students

Projected Payment*

Projected Impact

2010-2011

54

728,999

0.30

2011-2012

112

1,425,545

0.63

2012-2013

168

2,144,627

0.96

2013-2014

220

2,858,283

1.28

2014-2015

220

3,377,952

1.30

* Assumes a 3 percent annual increase in the District’s budget from the base of $ 206,741,488 in 2008-2009; and a 4.5 percent annual increase in the average expense per pupil per year from the 2009-20010 rate of $11,712.

 

 

 

 

 

Projected* Fiscal Impact of All Charter Schools in Albany

2010-11 to 2014-15

School

10-11

11-12

12-13

13-14

14-15

Achievement Academy CS

1.67

1.70

1.72

1.75

1.77

Albany Community CS

1.89

1.91

1.94

1.97

2.00

Albany Leadership CHS for Girls

0.70

1.27

1.87

2.19

2.22

Albany Preparatory CS

1.40

1.70

1.72

1.75

1.77

Brighter Choice CS for Boys

1.67

1.70

1.72

1.75

1.77

Brighter Choice CS for Girls

1.67

1.70

1.72

1.75

1.77

Brighter Choice CMS for Boys

0.30

0.63

0.96

1.28

1.30

Brighter Choice CMS for Girls

0.30

0.63

0.96

1.28

1.30

Green Tech High CS

1.53

1.56

1.58

1.60

1.63

Henry Johnson CS

1.53

1.56

1.58

1.60

1.63

KIPP Tech Valley CS

1.67

1.70

1.72

1.75

1.77

New Covenant CS

3.49

3.54

3.59

3.64

3.70

Total Projected Impact

17.83

19.60

21.10

22.31

22.63

* Assumes a 3 percent annual increase in the District’s budget from the base of $ 206,741,488 in 2008-2009; and a 4.5 percent annual increase in the average expense per pupil per year from the 2009-20010 rate of $11,712. 

 Personnel

  • The School will be led by a principal who will oversee the director of finance and operations, director of curriculum and instruction, director of school culture, administrative staff, consultants, administrative assistant, and all teachers.
  • The School expects to hire certified teachers, but reserves the right to hire up to five teachers or 30% of the teaching staff without certification.  If the School employees non-certified teachers, they will meet the criteria for hire under §2854 (3)(a-1) and qualify as subject-based competent pursuant to No Child Left Behind. 
  • All the School’s special education staff and special education contract providers will be appropriately certified.
  • The School will provide professional development to teachers to expand their knowledge in areas critical to meeting student academic needs and school goals.

 

Community Support

  • The School provided 137 signatures of parents of students who are eligible to enter the School’s first lottery.  
  • The School provided 224 signatures of community residents in support of the School.

 

Public Opinion

 

  • The Albany City School District sent a letter in opposition to the proposed School. The letter stated …..”The approval and opening of these schools would compound the serious challenges facing both public and charter schools in raising achievement for all students in the city.  It would exacerbate the growing problems of excess capacity in the city’s two separate public-school systems, and the correlating financial burden Albany’s unique charter school situation is putting on the city and its taxpayers.”
  • Two public hearing were held; one on June 9, 2009 and one on September 17, 2009. 
  • Hearing comments, from the June 9th hearing, included thirteen comments in favor of the School and eight of which expressed concern about the School.
  • Hearing comments, from the September 17th hearing, included one comment in support of the School and nine comments against chartering an additional charter school in Albany.