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Meeting of the Board of Regents | January 2008

Tuesday, January 1, 2008 - 11:20pm


sed seal                                                                                                             







Johanna Duncan-Poitier



Charter Schools: Proposed Charter for the Collegiate

Charter School



January 4, 2008


Goals 1 and 2






Issue for Decision


Should the Regents approve and issue the proposed charter of the Collegiate Charter School (New York City) as submitted by the Trustees of the State University of New York?

Reason(s) for Consideration


              Required by the State statute Education Law §2852.


Proposed Handling


This question will come before the Regents EMSC Committee for action and then before the full Board for final action in January 2008.


Procedural History


              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. 


Background Information


We received a proposed charter from the Trustees of the State University of New York (SUNY) for the establishment of the following charter school.  It will be presented to you at your January 2008 meeting. The proposed charter is to establish the:


  •  Collegiate Charter School (New York City)


The Collegiate Charter School (CCS or “the School”), with Uncommon Schools, Inc. as its management partner, would be located in New York City, the borough of Brooklyn, within Community School District 16. Initially, the School will serve 81 fifth graders and expand to 366 students in grades 5-9 in Year Five. The School’s mission “is to prepare each student for college.”  Boston Collegiate Charter School and North Star Academy Charter School in Newark, New Jersey serve as models for the proposed charter.  Uncommon Schools, Inc., currently operates four charter schools in the borough of Brooklyn (see Attachment I).




              VOTED:  That the Board of Regents approve and issue the charter of the Collegiate Charter School as proposed by the Trustees of the State University of New York and issue a provisional charter to it for a term of five years, ending on March 14, 2013.


Reasons for Recommendation


              (1) The charter school described in the proposed charter meets the requirements set out in Article 56 of the Education Law, and all other applicable laws, rules, and regulations; (2) the applicants can demonstrate the ability to operate the school in an educationally and fiscally sound manner; and (3) approving and issuing the proposed charter is 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; and (4) approving and issuing the proposed charter will have a significant educational benefit to the students expected to attend the proposed charter school. 


Timetable for Implementation


The Regents action for the Collegiate Charter School effective March 15, 2008.







New York State Education Department


Summary of Proposed Charter


Name of Proposed Charter School: Collegiate Charter School (CCS or “the School”)


Address: TBD


Applicant(s):  Brett Peiser


Anticipated Opening Date: August 18, 2008


District of Location: New York City Community School District 16, Brooklyn


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


Institutional Partner(s):  N/A


Management Partner(s): Uncommon Schools, Inc.


Grades Served:                       2008-2009: 5

2009-2010: 5-6

2010-2011: 5-7

                                                        2011-2012: 5-8

                                                        2012-2013: 5-9                        


Projected Enrollment:         2008-2009: 81

2009-2010: 158

2010-2011: 231

2011-2012: 300

2012-2013: 366


Proposed Charter Highlights




                Brett Peiser, the lead applicant, is the Founder and Managing Director of Collegiate Charter Schools, a network of middle and high schools in Brooklyn, New York and part of Uncommon Schools, a non-profit charter management organization.  In addition, Mr. Peiser founded and was the former Principal and Executive Director of Boston Collegiate Charter School.  He spent several year teaching History at Midwood High School in Brooklyn, NY where he also founded an afterschool community basketball program.  He co-authored “Competition in Education”, a study of the impact of inter-district school choice in Massachusetts and has directed a public-private partnership helping community colleges with their remedial students.  He has a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Public Policy degree.



Institutional Partner




Management Partner


Uncommon Schools, Inc. (USI) is a non-profit charter organization that starts and manages urban charter schools working to close the achievement gap in the Northeast.  In 2003, USI formalized its mission as a charter management organization with the goal of starting schools in the Northeast that create transformative college prep opportunities for low-income children.  USI builds schools by developing and managing regional networks.  Based in New York, the organization provides a number of management services.  USI will provide Collegiate Charter School with management over the program design and development; teacher recruitment; training for teachers, school leaders, and other staff; facility acquisition and financing; financial management; fund development; technology; legal counsel; and marketing and advocacy.   Currently, USI manages four Charter Schools (for performance data, see Attachment I) which are the following (name, date of approval, location):


  1. Excellence Charter School of Bedford Stuyvesant – June 2003 – Brooklyn, NY
  2. Kings Collegiate Charter School (formerly known as Bedford Stuyvesant Collegiate Charter School) – March 2005 – Brooklyn, NY
  3. Leadership Preparatory Charter School – December 2005 – Brooklyn, NY
  4. Williamsburg Collegiate Charter School (formerly known as City Charter School) – January 2005 – Brooklyn, NY




  • The School’s mission is “to prepare each student for college.”
  • The School shares, with USI, “the goal of preparing low-income, New York City students for success in college and beyond.”
  • The curriculum is fully aligned with the New York State performance and learning standards.
  • It is the intent of the School to replicate and model itself on the experience of other urban charter schools, particularly, Boston Collegiate Charter School in Massachusetts and North Star Academy Charter School in New Jersey.
  • The School will have the eight core subjects; and will supplement its curriculum with educational programs such as Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) and Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS). 
  • The School conservatively expects 10% of its students to require limited Special Education (<20% outside of classroom) and 1% to require more robust part-time services (20-60% outside of classroom).
  • Several intervention and support strategies are employed including mandatory: a one-hour Homework  Center during after school for students that miss homework; tutoring outside of regular class time; double periods in English and Math; four-hour Saturday School for any student that is failing any class at any point during the year or in danger of failing a required state exam. 
  • CCS will administer pre-year assessments to identify student levels and needs.  In addition, the School intends to have bi-weekly reports to evaluate student progress toward the School’s academic and behavioral standards. 
  • The School will educate students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment, with their non-disabled peers to the extent appropriate and allowed by each student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) prepared by the Committee on Special Education (CSE) of the student’s school district of residence and all applicable federal laws, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
  • Among the students enrolled in District 16, 2.4% are classified as English Language Learners.
  • The School intends to have a structured immersion strategy to help achieve proficiency for English Language Learners (ELL) with increased time speaking English during the extended day and extended school year. 
  • CCS may alter the daily schedule on an individual basis to meet the specific needs of each student.
  • In addition to the mandated state exams under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), CCS intends to administer norm-referenced assessments (NRA) in Reading and Math such as Terra Nova.
  • The School proposes a 190-day school year from mid-August to the end of June.
  • Each school day, students will receive the benefit of 90 additional minutes of instructional time in comparison to students attending other New York City public schools.  Over the course of the school year, CCS students will have had 135 additional school hours, which is nearly 20 additional school days.




  • The School shall be governed by a Board of Trustees that shall have final authority for policy and operational decisions of the School pursuant to Education Law §2853(1)(f).
  • The number of Trustees shall not be fewer than seven (7) and shall not exceed thirteen (13).
  • Trustees will be elected to serve terms of three years with three staggered classes to assist with continuity.
  • No more than 40% of trustees will be affiliated with the School as a compensated employee or contractor.  No more than two trustees will be affiliated with Uncommon Schools, Inc.; and such persons will not serve as chair or treasurer of the Board.
  • The officers of the Board of Trustees are Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer.





  • CCS proposes to serve 81 fifth grade students in the first year; the School intends to grow to serve grades 5-9, adding a grade a year until the School reaches 366 in Year Five of the proposed charter.
  • The School’s recruitment plan will include strategies to advertise widely to families from the Community School District, including English Language Learners (ELL) and students with disabilities or special education needs.
  • CSS recruitment plan will outreach to community and nearby districts with information sessions held at night and on weekends at the school and community organizations (Boys & Girls Club and YMCAs) and public libraries.
  • CCS will advertise in community newspapers and make enrollment information available via the school’s website; additionally the School will distribute flyers, brochures and applications to elementary schools, community and social service organizations, children service organizations and churches.
  • The School will be open to any child who is eligible under §2854(2) and all other applicable laws and meet the needs of at-risk students. 
  • The School intends to have two programs (middle grades 5-8 and a secondary grade nine) by the start of its fifth year. 
  • The School states that students entering the grade five at minimum would be age ten, and since it cannot predict the number of entering students that may have been held over for each, the range would be ages 10-15.  Similarly, the grade nine ranges would be ages 14-19.  The School states it would not bar students, who may be in great need of remediation, on the basis of age. 
  • CCS expects to serve a diverse group of students with various home languages based on District 16’s report that 4.2% of their students are recent immigrants. 
  • The School expects the student body to reflect the population of the target area.  In 2005-2006 82.3% of the area public school children participated in the federal free/reduced lunch program.
  • CCS admission policy will be based on random lottery, and in accordance with the requirements of the New York Charter Schools Act of 1998 and other applicable law.




  • The School plans to lease space from an existing New York City Department of Education (DOE) school facility with rent costs of $1 annually.
  • In the case the School is unable to secure a facility from DOE, the Board states it will exhaust all means to locate an appropriate facility in the community and secure private contributions to cover funding this contingency.
  • The School expects to carry forward a cash balance of $5,075 from the start-up budget.
  • The first year budget anticipates total revenue to equal $1,632,600 and year five to equal $5,129,824.
  • The School anticipates a surplus of $74,223 at the end of year one and a surplus of $140,149 in Year Five.
  • USI states it will advance new school funds to cover any and all shortfalls that the School may have.
  • The School assumes State Stimulus Grant (SSG) and the Charter Schools Program (CSP) Planning and Implementation grant in the amount of $350,000 spread over the planning year and Years One and Two.
  • 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 the

Collegiate Charter School

(New York City – CSD 16 – Brooklyn)

2008-09 through 2012-13

School Year

Number of Students

Projected Payment*

Projected Impact





















*Assumes a 3 percent annual increase in the District’s budget from the base of $20.12 billion in 2007-2008; and a 4.5 percent annual increase in the average expense per pupil per year from the 2007-2008 rate of $11,023.




  • In addition to administrative staff (one principal and one director of operations), the School will employ the following staff: six classroom teachers (26 in Year Five), one special education coordinator/teacher (three in Year Five), two specialty teachers (six in Year Five).
  • In addition, the School will employ a social worker/counselor (part-time in Year One and full-time thereafter), and a dean of students and a dean of curriculum beginning in Year Two.
  • The School plans to seek highly qualified content specialists and intends to use the limited waiver regarding teacher certification, following the provisions in Education Law §2854(3)(a-1).
  • An early student dismissal day each week is planned to allow over two hours a week of focused professional development.


Community Support


  • The SUNY Board of Trustees has deemed waiting lists for schools managed by the institutional partner to constitute sufficient evidence of community support.  Wait lists at schools managed by Uncommon Schools, Inc. were reported as follows: Excellence Charter School of Bedford Stuyvesant (370); Leadership Preparatory School (266); Kings Collegiate (107); and Williamsburg Collegiate Charter School (374).
  • The School has received support from the following community leaders and institutions: Marty Markowitz – Brooklyn Borough President; Edolphus Towns – U.S. Representative, 10th District, New York; the Robin Hood Foundation; and the Carter G. Woodson Cultural Literacy Project.


Public Opinion


  • The New York City Department of Education sent a letter and posted the notice on its website, notifying the public and independent schools in the School’s proposed CSD of the application for Collegiate Charter School and inviting comments for the public hearing. 
  • A public hearing was held at PS 289 in Brooklyn on October 17, 2007.
  • No comments were received.


Attachment I






Attachment I

Performance on ELA and Math State Assessments by all Charter Schools

in New York State Managed by Uncommon Schools, Inc.



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

and District of Location








Gr. 4


Gr. 4










Excellence of Bedford Stuyvesant







Kings Collegiate







Leadership Preparatory