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Meeting of the Board of Regents | October 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008 - 11:00pm

sed seal                                                                                                 







Johanna Duncan-Poitier




Charter Schools:  Proposed Revisions to the Charter of the Western New York Maritime Charter School


October 6, 2008


Goals 1 and 2






Issue for Decision


Should the Board of Regents approve a request to revise the initial charter of the Western New York Maritime Charter School (Buffalo)? 


Reason for Consideration


              Required by State statute, Education Law §2852.


Proposed Handling


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


Procedural History


The New York Charter Schools Act of 1998 requires the Board of Regents (“Board”) to review applications for both new charter schools and the renewal of existing charter schools that are submitted to it in accordance with the standards set forth in subdivision two of New York State Education Law §2852.  After review, the Board may either (a) approve an application and issue a charter or a renewal charter for a term of up to five years, or (b) deny the application.




In addition, New York Education Law §2852(7) provides that revisions of charter school charters shall be made only upon approval of the charter entity and the Board of Regents in accordance with the provisions of the law applicable to the issuance of charters themselves.  With respect to charter schools directly chartered by the Board, it may either approve a proposed revision or deny it.


Background Information


We received a request to revise the initial charter of the Western New York Maritime Charter School (“the School”), a Regents-authorized charter school that is partnered with the United States Navy to provide a Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps program.  The School was approved by the Board of Regents on January 13, 2004.  Its charter was revised in December 2006 to provide for a Student Discipline Review Board, and to decrease its enrollment in the 2006-07 and 2007-08 school years.  It was then revised again in December 2007 to decrease enrollment to 350. 


The School now seeks to amend its current charter regarding Financial Practices and Course Curricula.  The School wishes to strengthen safeguards in its Financial Practices Policy to assure sound accounting practices in conducting and managing day-to-day school business.  After a thorough review of its fiscal policies by the Board of Trustees, the School wishes to make changes to include delegating more responsibility to the School’s CPA, such as the bulk of the School’s financial record keeping and reporting, and to bring consistency to the application of fiscal procedures. It also wishes to expand the current curriculum offerings to include eight electives.  Two of these electives, General Science and Foundations of Math, were designed to meet the needs of students entering the School’s ninth grade lacking in science and math skills, and the others, Business Math, Forensics, Theater, Creative Writing, Keyboarding and Microsoft Office User Specialist (MOUS), will expand the students’ opportunities to access additional elective coursework.  


The City School District of the City of Buffalo (the District”) held a public hearing regarding these proposed revisions on September 3, 2008.  The Commandant of the School gave a brief presentation.  Questions from a Board of Education member focused on Board of Trustees diversity, average class size and special education services. The Commandant answered the Board member’s questions to her satisfaction.  No other public comments were made or received.




VOTED:  That the Board of Regents approves the revisions to the initial charter of the Western New York Maritime Charter School, and the provisional charter is amended accordingly.







Reason for Recommendation


The proposed revisions to the School’s charter, along with the other terms of the charter: (1) meet the requirements set out in Article 56 of the Education Law, and all other applicable laws, rules and regulations; (2) will permit the charter school to operate in an educationally and fiscally sound manner; (3) are 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) will have a significant educational benefit to the students expected to attend the charter school.


Timetable for Implementation


Upon approval by the Board of Regents, the revision to the charter will become effective immediately.