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Last Stand For Albany Charter School

By Dave Lucas


Albany, NY – The fate of Albany Charter School that escaped permanent closure once before, again hangs in the balance, as we hear in this report from Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas.

In August 2006, Albany's failing New Covenant Charter School was closed in all but name by Victory Schools, and in its place an entirely new school was established. The "new" New Covenant has risen like the proverbial Phoenix, over the past three years the school has dramatically raised student achievement levels proficiency levels are up 43.9% in Math and up 35.9% in English Language Arts and during the 2008-09 school year New Covenant was the second highest performing school in the Albany School District (serving grades 3-6), and that's with one of the poorest student populations of any school district in the city. But those "good grades" don't meet the standards set by the SUNY Charter Schools Institute, which has recommended New Covenant be shut down.

Jonas Chartock, the Executive Director of the SUNY Charter Schools Institute, issued the following statement:

The SUNY Charter Schools Institute issued a draft renewal report to the Board of Trustees of New Covenant Charter School on December 8, 2009.

"The report contained a preliminary finding that New Covenant did not meet all of the academic conditions of its one-year charter term and, as a result, should close at the end of the 2009-10 school year.

Specific areas of concern include student performance in math, English, and science. In addition, the school's financial condition continues to deteriorate.

The school will have an opportunity to present information to the Institute in opposition of this recommendation at the school tonight at an open meeting beginning at 6 p.m.

Prior to tonight's scheduled meeting, school leaders, education advocates and parents of New Covenant Charter School will rally and call on the SUNY Charter Schools Institute to save the school and renew its operating charter. The Institute says it will consider any verbal testimony and written evidence provided by the school and then issue a final report and recommendation that will be considered by the SUNY Trustees' Charter Schools Committee at its meeting scheduled for January 15th.