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New Charter School for Nyack & Valley Cottage

A charter school is an autonomous public school, independent from a school district. It is authorized by the state and operates under a performance contract (that is, the “charter agreement”) that stipulates requirements that aim to improve student learning and achievement.

A charter school within the Nyack School District would be free to expand the school day or expand the school year, to focus on academics, the arts, or the environment and on preparing students for new economic and political realities. A charter school would be free from the mandates and demands of unions, and be free from the entrenched policies of the school administration and school board.

A charter school within Nyack would be fully funded by existing tax dollars, would be tuition free, and could be focused on goals designed to help our students excel academically.

If you are interested in exploring the possibilities of a charter school here in Nyack, please contact Rick Tannenbaum. All names will be kept confidential. Sometime in the summer, interested persons could meet for an informal informational session on how to proceed.

Here are some quick questions and answers regarding charter schools.

What is a charter school?

Charter schools are independent public schools that operate under a contract or charter. With rigorous curriculum programs, and unique educational approaches such as longer school days and a longer school year, charter schools offer quality and choice in the public education system.

Charter schools trade operational freedom and flexibility for higher levels of accountability than traditional public schools. Charter schools are held accountable to the parents and students they serve based on how well they meet the academic performance goals established in their charter, and how they manage their fiscal and operational responsibilities.

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A charter school operates independently from the existing superintendent and administration and beyond the control of the elected school board.

How are students admitted to charter schools?

Any child eligible for admission to a traditional public school is eligible for admission to a public charter school. Charter schools enroll students through a blind lottery.

Can charter schools charge tuition?

No.

How are charter schools funded?

Charter schools are funded by public tax dollars that pass through the student’s school district of residence. A portion of the per-pupil amount that a school district spends follows a student to the charter school. The school district may not withhold or impose conditions on charter school funding.

Who can approve applications for charter schools?

The New York Charter Schools Act provides three routes to apply for a charter: the Board of Regents, local boards of education, and the State University Board of Trustees (SUNY).

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Do charter schools have required performance or achievement standards?

Yes. Charter schools must demonstrate that their educational programs meet or exceed the student performance standards adopted by the Board of Regents for other public schools. As part of their assessment program, charter school students are required to take existing state exams required of students in other public schools.

Are charter school employees unionized?

No, though instructional staff of a new charter school with enrollment exceeding 250 students on the first day of instruction will be certified automatically as a separate collective bargaining unit. Nyack’s charter school would likely not have more than 250 students. Charter school employees may choose to organize and if successful have the right to collectively bargain, though the charter school would not be bound by the union contracts in place elsewhere in the school district.

If you want more information, want to attend an informational session, or would like to be part of a team exploring how a charter school would operate in the Nyack School District, please write to oppknox21@aol.com.

Rick Tannenbaum
(917) 689-1799




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