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Meeting of the Board of Regents | June 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008 - 11:00pm

sed seal                                                                                                 







Johanna Duncan-Poitier


Charter Schools: Proposed Third Renewal Charter for The Ark Community Charter School



June 16, 2008


Goals 1 and 2






Issue for Decision


Should the Regents approve the staff’s recommendation concerning the proposed third renewal to the charter for The Ark Community Charter School (Troy)? 


Reason(s) for Consideration


              Required by State statute, Education Law §2852.


Proposed Handling


This question will come before the EMSC Committee in June 2008 for action.  It will then come before the full Board for final action in June 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 request on April 9, 2008 from the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York (“SUNY”) to approve and issue a third renewal charter for The Ark Community Charter School (“the School”).  The School was initially granted a five-year charter by the Board of Regents in March 2001, and was subsequently renewed in  February, 2006 (for a term up through and including July 31, 2006) and again in May 2006 (for a term up through and including June 30, 2008).  SUNY’s is currently requesting a renewal for one year, and one month, to run from June 30, 2008 through and including July 31, 2008.  The School currently serves 180 students in grades K-6. 


On May 13, 2008, the Troy City School District (“the District”) held the required public hearing on this proposed third renewal charter. One person at this hearing spoke against the renewal, and urged the closure of the School based upon poor academic results.  SUNY, which approved the school’s third renewal application on March 11, 2008, did not consider this comment prior to voting to renewal the school’s charter.


During the review process, New York State Education Department (“SED”) staff sent a letter to SUNY, on May 19, 2008, requesting additional information related to the School’s educational programs and fiscal oversight.   A general concern raised by staff was the inability to ascertain what aspects of the School’s educational program had changed, if any, since the school’s first renewal.  In addition, information was specifically requested related to changes in curriculum and alignment with all 28 New York State Learning Standards; the provision of programs and services to serve students with limited English proficiency; and the authority of the Board of Trustees to lend money.  No reply from SUNY was received.  


Staff recommend that the Board of Regents return the proposed third renewal charter to SUNY.




VOTED:  That the Board of Regents return the proposed third renewal charter of The Ark Community Charter School to the Trustees of the State University of New York for reconsideration, and with the following comments and recommendations: That the proposed third renewal charter be resubmitted to the Regents for consideration after considering all comments raised at the public hearing, and that (a) information regarding all provisions of the school’s proposed third renewal charter (including its educational program) that have been changed, if any, since its second renewal charter be provided, (b) a curriculum to address and be aligned with all 28 New York State Learning Standards and include core curricula at each grade level be provided, and that (c) a plan for serving English language learners be provided.  In addition, it is also recommended that the proposed bylaw provision purportedly authorizing the school to make loans be removed.   




Timetable for Implementation


The Regents action for The Ark Community Charter School is effective immediately.

New York State Education Department


Summary of Charter School Renewal Information


Summary of Applicant Information





Address:   762 River Street, Troy, NY 12180


Board of Trustees President:  Steven Axelrod, Chairperson


Requested Renewal Period:  June 30, 2008- July 31, 2009


District of Location: Troy                                         


Charter Entity:  SUNY Trustees


Institutional Partner(s): None


Management Partner(s):  None


Grades Served per Year:    K – 6                                              


Projected Enrollment per Year:  180



Renewal Application Highlights


Evidence of Educational Soundness/ Attainment of Educational Objectives

  • The Ark Community Charter School (“the School”) has shown an increase in the percent of students scoring at Levels 3 and 4 on the State English Language Arts (“ELA”) Assessments. In 2005-2006, 30 percent of students scored proficient in ELA. In 2006-07, 39 percent of students scored proficient in ELA.  
  • The School implemented an Action Plan for ELA which includes regular assessments leading to immediate intervention.  The School provides Academic Intervention Services (“AIS”) for students scoring at Levels 1 and 2 on State ELA Assessments.
  • The School has shown an increase in the percent of students scoring at Levels 3 and 4 on the State Math Assessments. In 2005-2006, 40 percent of the students scored proficient on the Math. In 2006-07, 70 percent of the students scored proficient in Math.
  • The School met seven of eight math goals in 2006-2007.
  • The School is deemed to have been in good standing under the state’s NCLB accountability system.
  • Although more than 10 percent of the School’s students are English Language Learners (“ELLs”) and SUNY is requiring the School to have a certified instructor of English to Speakers of Other Languages and a fully operational program for  ELLs, the revision does not identify a program to support English Language Learners.
  • The School provided a curriculum which addresses grade 5 ELA and grade 4 Math.  It did not provide a curriculum which addresses all subject areas at all grade levels.
  • The School’s schedule does not provide for instruction that addresses all 28 learning standards


Evidence of Fiscal Soundness/Projected Fiscal Impact

  • The School has a positive fund balance and positive cash flow.
  • Each year, independent auditors have issued a “clean opinion” on the School. 
  • The School’s proposed bylaws permit it to lend money.


Projected* Fiscal Impact of the Ark Community Charter School



School Year

Number of Students

Projected Impact

(Percent of Total District Budget)






*Projections are based on average changes in AOE and District General Fund Budget changes.  They are subject to fluctuation in actual enrollments, FTE enrollments, AOE, and district budgets.  Further assumes all students will come from the district of location.  



Fiscal Impact Of All Charter Schools In Troy





The Ark Community Charter School



Total Projected Impact



Evidence of Parent and Student Satisfaction and Community Support

  • A parent representative with full voting rights served on the Board of Trustees for the past two years, keeping other board members aware of parent concerns as decisions were made.
  • The School is fully enrolled and has a waiting list.
  • There was one comment at the May 13, 2008 public hearing. It was negative and requested closure based on academic performance of students.