Tuesday, February 23, 2010

SUNY Charter Committee Votes to Close New Covenant Charter School

The State University of New York Board of Trustees' committee on Charter Schools just after noon time today voted to close New Covenant Charter School at the end of the school year. The committee's vote was 3-to-1, with committee chairman Pedro Noguera voting against closure.

Interestingly, the SUNY Board Chairman, Carl Hayden, participated in the discussion and urged the committee to close the school, which was the staff recommendation by the Charter Schools Institute.

New Covenant is in its 11th year.

The committee's recommendation to close New Covenant will be taken up by the full SUNY Board of Trustees next month. Chairman Hayden promised a full airing of both sides of the issue.

Today's committee meeting included presentations by Institute director, Jonas Chartock, as well as school representatives, including the management company, Victory Schools, and the bondholders.

The SUNY trustees acknowledged that scores at the school improved, but in the end, came up short; while the school's finances were unsound. In addition, Hayden noted that the school's turnover in students and staff presented a dubious indicator of the school's academic progress since fewer students remained in the cohort showing academic improvement.

This is the end of the line for New Covenant. I cannot conceive of the full SUNY Board reversing the committee's decision, especially given position of the Board Chairman, Mr. Hayden, to close the school.

It's a sad day, but unfortunately, a necessary one.

Peter Murphy
for The Chalkboard
(see me Twitter @ PeterMurphy26
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