Meeting of the Board of Regents | January 2010
John B. King, Jr.
Charter Schools: Proposed First Revision to the Third Renewal Charter for the Riverhead Charter School
January 5, 2010
Goals 1 and 2
Issue for Decision
Should the Regents approve the staff’s recommendations concerning the proposed first revision to the third renewal charter for Riverhead Charter School (Riverhead)?
We received a request from the Board of Trustees of the Riverhead Charter School (“the School”), a Board of Regents authorized charter school located in the Riverhead Central School District, to approve a proposed revision to its current charter. Specifically, the School seeks to reduce its enrollment for the current school year from a maximum of 280 students to a maximum of 255 students.
The Board of Regents granted the School its initial charter in December 2000, and the School opened for instruction in September 2001 serving 250 students in grades K-5. The Board of Regents granted the School a first renewal charter for two years and five months in December 2005 which allowed the School to expand to include 300 students in grades K-6. The School’s second renewal charter was approved for one year in May 2008. As a result of this short-term renewal approved after the School’s enrollment application deadline, many parents decided earlier in the year to return their children to district schools or made other alternative arrangements for their children for the 2009-10 school year. Many parents assumed that the Board of Regents planned to close the School at the end of the one year renewal.
In April 2009, the Board of Regents approved the School’s third renewal charter for a five year term beginning on July 1, 2009 through and including June 30, 2014 based on significant academic and fiscal improvements. Although the School began an aggressive outreach and publicity campaign between April and August, student enrollment did not increase to previous levels of 300. The School started the 2009-10 school year with the hope of reaching its maximum approved enrollment of 280. Enrollment for this current year is at 255.
The Riverhead Central School District held a public hearing on November 24, 2009, regarding this proposed revision for the School. No comments were made at the hearing and no comments were received prior to or subsequent to the hearing. On behalf of the Riverhead Central School District, Superintendent Dr. Diane B. Scricca made the following statement for the record. She stated “that as we have for the past two years, we encourage the state to examine a different way of funding the Charter School. As it stands, we are given a mandated cost for each student that attends the Riverhead Charter School that comes from our school district. We strongly urge the state to use their funds from the state budget as opposed to the Riverhead taxpayer budget. This would be a savings to our district of $1.7 million.”
Staff recommends that the Board of Regents approve the proposed first revision to the School’s third renewal charter of the Riverhead Charter School.
VOTED: That the Board of Regents approves the revision to the third renewal charter of the Riverhead Charter School, and the provisional charter is amended accordingly.
Reasons for Recommendation
The proposed revision to the School’s third renewal charter, along with the other terms of the third renewal charter: (1) meets 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; and (3) 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 the proposed revision to the School’s third renewal charter will have a significant educational benefit to the students expected to attend the charter school.
Timetable for Implementation
The Regents action for the Riverhead Charter School is effective immediately.