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Meeting of the Board of Regents | January 2008

Tuesday, January 1, 2008 - 11:20pm

sed seal                                                                                                 







Johanna Duncan-Poitier


New Covenant Charter School Proposed Revision



January 7, 2008


Goals 1 and 2





Issue for Decision


Should the Regents approve the staff’s recommendations concerning the proposed charter revision submitted by the Trustees of the State University of New York for the New Covenant Charter School (Albany)? 


Reason(s) for Consideration


              Required by State statute, Education Law §2852.


Proposed Handling


This question will come before the EMSC Committee in January 2008 for action.  It will then come 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 request from the Trustees of the State University of New York for the New Covenant Charter School (the “School”) to amend its charter.  The School seeks to decrease its student enrollment from 800 to 600 students for the 2007-08 school year and from 850 to 625 students for the 2008-09 school year, and to increase its dissolution reserve fund minimum to $75,000.


The Albany City School District (“the District”) held a public hearing on November 20, 2007 regarding this proposed revision for the School. In addition to providing a transcript, Dr. Eva Joseph submitted comments on behalf of the District in a subsequent letter dated December 17, 2007. This letter is available for your inspection in the Regents Office. The District makes the following points and allegations in opposition:


  • Two of the three charter schools have sought a revision to reduce their projected student enrollments for the second time in a year.  “The reality is that these redundant exercises of first reducing programs and facilities space to accommodate an over saturation of charter schools and, then, having to re-create programs and space severely inhibit and negatively impact the stability and effectiveness of Albany School District’s improvement efforts.”


  • “The requests to reduce the enrollments…suggest that there is a lack of adequate space in the charter school buildings to accommodate existing charter enrollments.  However, evidence exists based on total enrollments for eight charter schools established in Albany that there is ample available space for the currently-approved charter enrollments both now and in the future.”


  • “New Covenant Charter School has yet to meet any past of present approved charter enrollments.  In fact, this charter school’s failure to meet its charter enrollment has existed since the school began.  Further, New Covenant Charter School’s continued inability to establish full enrollment over the past eight years (including the complete elimination of its grades 7 and 8 due to poor performance) has had a serious impact on Albany School District’s capacity to prepare a sound budget, plan programs, and effectively deliver services to children.”


Staff considered all public comments and District concerns. Staff recommend the Board of Regents approve this proposed revision.




VOTED: That the Board of Regents approves the revision to the first renewal charter of the New Covenant Charter School as proposed by the Trustees of the State University of New York, and the provisional charter is amended accordingly.


Timetable for Implementation


The Regents action for the New Covenant Charter School is effective immediately.