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Meeting of the Board of Regents | July 2008

Tuesday, July 1, 2008 - 11:20pm


sed seal                                                                                                             







Johanna Duncan-Poitier


Charter Schools: Proposed Charter for the Leadership Preparatory Brownsville Charter School



July 25, 2008


Goals 1 and 2





Issue for Decision


Should the Regents approve and issue the proposed charter of the Leadership Preparatory Brownsville Charter School (New York City)?

Reason(s) for Consideration


              Required by the State statute Education Law §2852.


Proposed Handling


This question will come before the EMSC Committee in July 2008 for action.  It will then come before the full Board for final action in July 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:


  •  Leadership Preparatory Brownsville Charter School


The Leadership Preparatory Brownsville Charter School (LPBCS or “the School”), with Uncommon Schools, Inc. as its management partner, would be located in Community School District 23, in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. LPBCS will use 2009-2010 as a planning year, and will open in August of 2010.  Initially, the School will serve 116 kindergarten and first graders and grow to serve 272 students in grades K-4 by the fifth year of the initial charter. The School’s mission is “to ensure academic success for children in grades K through 8; to prepare students to excel in demanding high schools and colleges and to contribute to their communities as leaders.  Through educational success, the students earn opportunities in life for themselves and their communities.”  It is the intent of the School to model itself on the experience of other urban charter schools in Brooklyn, Excellence Charter School of Bedford Stuyvesant and Leadership Preparatory Charter School.  Uncommon Schools, Inc. currently operates five charter schools in the borough of Brooklyn (see Attachment I).




VOTED: That the Board of Regents returns the proposed charter of the Leadership Preparatory Brownsville Charter School to the Trustees of the State University of New York for reconsideration, and with the following comments and recommendations: the School must provide an assurance that  its curriculum will address and be aligned with all 28  New York State Learning Standards prior to opening for instruction; provide evidence of adequate community support for and interest in the charter school from parents of students eligible for enrollment in the first year of instruction that would be sufficient to reach its anticipated enrollment; and with respect to the mandatory Saturday instruction, provide a religious exemption for students.


Timetable for Implementation


The Regents action for the Leadership Preparatory Brownsville Charter School is effective immediately.







New York State Education Department


Summary of Proposed Charter


Name of Proposed Charter School: Leadership Preparatory Brownsville Charter School (LPBCS or “the School”)


Address: TBD


Applicant(s):  John B. King, Jr. and Olatokumbo Shobowale


Anticipated Opening Date: August 26, 2010


District of Location: New York City Community School District 23, 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:                      2009-2010: Planning Year

2010-2011: K-1

2011-2012: K-2

2012-2013: K-3

2013-2014: K-4


Projected Enrollment:        

2009-2010: Planning Year

2010-2011: 116

2011-2012: 171

2012-2013: 223

2013-2014: 272


Proposed Charter Highlights




                Olatokumbo Shobowale is the Executive Vice President for the NYC Economic Development Corporation.  He oversees business development strategic planning, telecommunications and economic research.  As Vice President, he coordinated an interagency effort to create a comprehensive industrial policy for the City, which resulted in the creation of the Mayor's Office of Industrial and Manufacturing Business.  Mr. Shobowale earned a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from Stanford University, a Master of Arts from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs and a Master of Business Administration from MIT Sloan School of Management.


John B. King, Jr. is employed by Uncommon Schools, Inc. as Managing Director of Excellence and Preparatory Networks.  Mr. King is the Co-Founder and former Co-Director for Curriculum and Instruction of Roxbury Preparatory Charter School.  Prior to co-founding Roxbury Prep, Mr. King taught high school history at City on the Hill Charter School in Boston and Saint John’s School in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Mr. King earned a B.A. in Government from Harvard University, an M.A. in Teaching of Social Studies from Columbia University Teachers College, and a J.D. from Yale Law School.  Mr. King is currently pursuing a doctorate in Education Administration at Columbia University Teachers College.  In addition, Mr. King serves on the faculty and board of directors of New Leaders for New Schools, a national non-profit organization that trains results-oriented urban principals.


Institutional Partner




Management Partner


Uncommon Schools, Inc. (USI) is a not-for-profit organization that 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 preparatory opportunities for low-income children.  Based in New York City, USI develops and manages regional networks of charter schools.  USI will provide Leadership Preparatory Brownsville 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; marketing and advocacy.   Currently, USI manages five Charter Schools in Brooklyn (for performance data, see Attachment I), which are the following (name – date – location):


In Effect by Operation of Law:

  • Excellence Charter School of Bedford Stuyvesant (formerly known as Bedford Stuyvesant Preparatory Charter School for Excellence) – May 2003 – Brooklyn, NY
  • Kings Collegiate Charter School (formerly known as Bedford Stuyvesant Collegiate Charter School)  – April 2006 – Brooklyn, NY
  • Leadership Preparatory Charter School – November 2005 – Brooklyn, NY


Approved by the Board of Regents:

  • Collegiate Charter School – January 2008 – Brooklyn, NY
  • Williamsburg Collegiate Charter School (formerly known as City Collegiate Charter School) – April 2005 – Brooklyn, NY


              The management partner is currently seeking to manage the following proposed charter schools:


  • Excellence Charter School for Girls – Brooklyn, NY (Proposed opening date: August 27, 2009)
  • Leadership Preparatory East New York Charter School – Brooklyn, NY (Proposed opening date: August 27, 2009)
  • Leadership Preparatory Flatbush Charter School – Brooklyn, NY (Proposed opening date: August 26, 2010)




  • The School intends to prepare low-income, New York City students for success in college and beyond.
  • The School will be modeled after Leadership Preparatory Charter School in New York City and will reflect the strong elements of Roxbury Preparatory Charter School in Massachusetts.  The School will also draw from the successful practices and experiences of Excellence Charter School of Bedford Stuyvesant, Boston Leadership Preparatory Charter School, and North Star Academy Charter School located in New Jersey.
  • The proposed curriculum submitted is incomplete.  The application does not address all of the required curriculum areas, including Health, Physical Education, Family and Consumer Sciences, Technology, the Arts, Career Development and Occupational Studies, and Languages Other Than English.
  • The School reports that in 2007 in the Brownsville community, 50 percent third graders and 36 percent eighth graders demonstrated mastery in the NYS ELA exam; and 66 percent third graders and 33 percent eighth graders demonstrated mastery in the NYS Math exam.
  • The School will employ several mandatory intervention and support strategies for students who are identified in need of additional help or at-risk of failure.  Examples include small group and one-on-one tutoring outside of regular class time; double periods in English and Math, and; in Year Three, four-hour Saturday School for struggling students.
  • LPBCS will administer assessments to identify student levels and needs.  In addition, there will be bi-weekly evaluations and reports concerning student progress toward the School’s academic and behavioral standards. 
  • The School will educate students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment, with the general education population 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).
  • The School will employ a structured immersion strategy to help English Language Learners (ELL) students achieve proficiency in the English language.  The extended instructional day will offer additional opportunities for ELL students to acquire proficiency.   
  • In addition to the mandated state exams under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), LPBCS intends to administer norm-referenced assessments in reading and math such as Terra Nova.
  • LPBCS will assess student progress towards achieving pre-determined goals through several School-developed interim assessments tri-annually: Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) for grades K-2; Early Reading Screening Instrument for kindergarten; Reading A-Z/The Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) for grades K-2, and; bi-monthly compositions. 
  • The School asserts it will use assessment data to inform teaching and learning.  The plan includes tracking the mastery of individual students; tracking the progress of classes; assessing teacher effectiveness by instructional topic; and conducting overall evaluations of the School curriculum.
  • The school year will have 187 days from August to the end of June.
  • The school day will begin at 7:30 am and end at 4:00 pm, Monday – Thursday.  On Friday, the school day will end at 1:25 pm.  This schedule will allow students 120 minutes more per week of instructional time than the New York City public schools schedule.
  • Over the course of the school year, LPBCS students will have had 297.5 additional school hours as compared to students attending New York City public schools.  This equates to nearly 50 additional school days.
  • Students in need of extra help will receive 60 minutes, two times per week, of instructional time in an after-school program.  In the third year of operation, the School will increase the time to an additional 90 minutes on Saturdays.




  • The number of Trustees shall not be fewer than nine (9) and shall not exceed fifteen (15).
  • Trustees will be elected to serve a one-year term for a maximum of three years.  Parent Trustees are appointed for only one-year terms.
  • No more than 40 percent 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.
  • Regular meetings of the Board of Trustees shall be held bi-monthly throughout the year except for one month during the summer, and other times as the Board determines.
  • The initial committees of the Board of Trustees shall be Governance, Finance and Program.
  • Seventy-one percent of the Board of Trustees for the proposed charter school also serves on the Leadership Preparatory Charter School Board.
  • The officers of the Board of Trustees are Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer.




  • LPBCS will serve 116 students in grade K-1 in the first year of instruction and will grow to 272 students in grades K-4 in its fifth year of instruction.   
  • LPBCS will enroll 58 students per grade in its first year instruction.  Kindergarten and first grade will be divided into two classes each.
  • LPBCS will provide one lead teacher and one assistant teacher per class in grades K-2, and one lead teacher and one half assistant teacher per class in grades 3-4.
  • The School expects the student body to reflect the population of the target area, which in 2005-2006 were: 81 percent African-American; 17 percent Hispanic; 1 percent White; and 1 percent Asian or Other; 88 percent of the area public school children participated in the federal free/reduced lunch program.
  • The School will be located in a community where over 40 percent of the population lives below poverty level.
  • LPBCS will reach out to the community and nearby districts with information sessions held at night and on weekends at the School and other locations within the community.
  • LPBCS will advertise through flyers, brochures and applications.  These efforts will be aimed at pre-kindergarten programs, elementary schools, community and social service organizations, and local businesses.
  • 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).
  • Initially, the School will enroll new students in kindergarten and first grade only. In subsequent years, it will enroll new students for kindergarten only and if the attrition rate is greater than 5 percent, the school will fill vacancies in grades 1-4 in accordance with its admissions policy. 




  • The School is currently seeking a facility to house the proposed charter school.  The management partner has established a track record of securing space within NYCDOE facilities.
  • The School is pursuing alternatives to conventional lease/purchase arrangements that include securing unused parochial school space, underutilized NYCDOE space, and partnerships with other school-facilities organizations. 
  • The School has developed comprehensive contingency plans in the event fund-raising targets are not met.  Targets have been set based on conservative estimates of previous campaigns operated by the management partner.
  • The School’s Year Two (its opening year) revenue is $2,099,550 and will grow to $3,864,306 in Year Five.  The planning year revenue is $200,200. 
  • The School anticipates $115,000 in philanthropic contributions in Year One.
  • The School expects to carry forward a cash balance of $2,700 from the start-up budget.
  • The Year One budget anticipates total expenses of $197,500, with $2,058,500 during Year Two (its opening year) and by Year Five to equal $3,784,054.
  • The School anticipates an ending fund balance of $2,700 at the end of Year One and $249,387 at the end of Year Five.
  • The School intends to use $25,000 per year towards its dissolution fund, starting in Year Two through Year Four.
  • The School will seek State Stimulus Grant (SSG) and the Charter Schools Program (CSP) Planning and Implementation grant.  The School conservatively assumes no funding from these sources.
  • 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 the

Leadership Preparatory Brownsville Charter School

(New York City – CSD 23 – Brooklyn)

2009-10 through 2013-14

School Year

Number of Students

Projected Payment*

Projected Impact










$               2,247,818







$               3,904,509


*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.




  • During its planning year, the School will employ two administrators – one principal and one director of operations. 
  • The School will employ the following staff in its first year of instruction: nine classroom teachers (20.5 in Year Five); one special education coordinator/teacher (1.5 in Year Five); one Fine Arts teacher (1.7 in Year Five), and one part-time Reading Intervention teacher (full-time in Year Five).
  • In addition, in its first year of instruction, the School will employ a social worker/counselor (part-time initially, and full-time thereafter), a dean of students and an office manager.
  • The decision to rehire a teacher in subsequent years is dependent upon his/her students’ academic outcomes.
  • The daily schedule will allow an early dismissal one day per week for the purpose of offering two hours of professional development to the staff.
  • Staff will receive four weeks of professional development in the summer prior to school opening. 
  • As an incentive to teach at LPFCS, teachers are provided with an annual professional development grant of up to $500 to pursue opportunities that will enhance their practice.  
  • The School’s student to teacher ratio will be 14 ½:1 in its first year of instruction (16:1 in Year Five).


Community Support


  • The School provided signatures of parent support.  However, none of the signatures provided evidence of student age, and/or grade level eligibility for enrollment to the School.
  • The School provided information regarding the waiting lists from other elementary schools managed by USI in other community schools districts. Excellence Charter School of Bedford Stuyvesant and Leadership Preparatory Charter School lists have 106 and 225 names respectively.
  • The School has received support from the following community leaders, foundations, and community organizations: William Boyland – 55th Assembly District; Karim Camara – 43rd Assembly District; New Schools Venture Fund; the Robertson Foundation; the Charter School Growth Fund; the Broad Foundation; the Hollyhock Foundation; the Robin Hood Foundation; and the WKBJ Foundation.


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 CSD 23 of the proposed application for Leadership Preparatory Brownsville Charter School and inviting comments for the public hearing. 
  • The public hearing was held on Wednesday, April 23, 2008; no comments were received.
















Attachment I

Performance on ELA and Math State Assessments by all Charter Schools

New York State Managed by Uncommon Schools, Inc.



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











Gr. 4


Gr. 4














Collegiate Charter School










Excellence of Bedford Stuyvesant












Kings Collegiate










Leadership Preparatory










Williamsburg Collegiate