Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mosaic Prep/HSA Charter Invasion Follow-up

Follow-up to this story on Ed Notes:

Eva Moskowitz Wants Mosaic Prep Academy- Hearing, Monday

There are hearings on this illegal expansion of Harlem Success 3 on Monday at 141 E 111 ST; come by 4;30 - 5 PM if you want to speak.

The below letter from Rose Jimenez is addressed to Jonas Chartock, the head of the SUNY charter institute, as well as Pedro Noguera, head of the charter committee for SUNY, which has to approve every charter authorized by SUNY, as well as any charter revision, which this is.

Dear Mr. Chartock and Prof. Noguera:

As a parent at Mosaic Prep Academy (PS 375) and a member of the Community Education Council in District 4 in East Harlem, I do not understand how the SUNY Charter School Institute could consider allowing Harlem Success Academy 3, a school that is co-located in our building, to revise its charter to substantially expand from 363 students to 468 students next fall.

Any such expansion would obviously require a significant change in our school building’s utilization, without any of the public procedures outlined in the school governance law having been implemented.

As I’m sure you are aware, the governance law, A8903, requires that any significant change in public school utilization in New York City must be preceded by an Educational Impact Statement issued at least six months before the start of the new school year, as well as a joint hearing of the DOE, the CEC and the School Leadership Team at the affected school; and finally, a vote of the Panel for Educational Policy.

None of these events have occurred in this case, and in fact, it is too late for the DOE or SUNY to allow any expansion of the school to occur without warning so late in the school year, unless these additional students would attend classes elsewhere in a non-DOE building.

A SUNY hearing on the expansion and charter revision of Harlem Success Academy 3 is due to occur this Monday, June 21, at 5:30 PM.

I would very much like to hear from you before that time as to how SUNY could countenance such a potentially illegal expansion.

Yours sincerely,

Rose Jimenez, CEC District 4 and PS 375 Parent Association President

Patrick Sullivan, Manhattan PEP rep, corresondence with Ralph Rossi of SUNY, supposedly the governing body for HSA appeals to modify the charter.

To: Rossi, Ralph
Cc:; Charter Schools;;;;; Erin McGill;;; Joel Klein

Mr. Rossi,

Ms. Jimenez refers to the schools governance law passed by the State
Legislature in August. As the Manhattan member of the city school
board ("Panel for Educational Policy") I can assure you that none of
the legally mandated process for such a significant change in
utilization of a public school building was followed in this case.
There has been no Educational Impact Statement, no joint hearing of
the Mosaic SLT with the Community Educational Council of District 4
and no vote of the Panel for Educational Policy.

I alerted DOE General Council Michael Best several weeks ago of the
need to follow the required process in this case and several others
involving SUNY chartered schools. I have been told DOE is looking
into the matter but there has been no response otherwise.

The SUNY trustees have a legal obligation to ensure all legally
mandated procedures are followed prior to allowing the expansion of a
SUNY chartered school. Expansion of HSA 3 in the Mosaic building
without adherence to the above process constitutes a violation of law
for which SUNY trustees must be held accountable.

Frankly, given that SUNY recently came very close to losing its
chartering authority, I am extremely disappointed that its first
instinct is to deny any responsibility for compliance with the very
clear guidelines under state education law. This law was implemented
to protect public school students from the very type of encroachment
now being attempted by HSA. Instead of washing their hands of the
very real issues facing Manhattan public schools in co-location
situations, I suggest the trustees begin to more seriously consider
their moral and legal obligations to help all our students.

Patrick J. Sullivan
Manhattan Member
Panel for Educational Policy
NYC Board of Education

On Sat, Jun 19, 2010 at 10:12 AM, Rossi, Ralph wrote:

I am not in the office now but it is SUNY's understanding that all of the steps for the expansion took place before the passage of the amendments to the charter schools act. The hearing would NOT be co-location hearing by the NYCDOE or a SUNY hearing on facility. Rather it is a NYCDOE revision hering required by the charter schools act for a material change to a charter located in the district, in this case enrollment. The timing of the hearing is required by regs of the State Education Commissioner and based on notice by SUNY to the NYCDOE. You can direct any questions about the space process to the NYCDOE.

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