Last week, North Brooklyn parents and community leaders filed a lawsuit against Success Charter Network and the city Department of Education, alleging that the organization had conducted insufficient community outreach for a proposed charter school in Williamsburg in violation of state law. Officials from the charter school network said they gathered 1,400 signatures of parents interested in applying, but a lawyer representing the opponents said those signatures were never sent to the state. Headed by former Manhattan City Council member Eva Moskowitz, the Harlem-based operation was the subject of a similar suit just last month: Parents in Cobble Hill allege the organization avoided public input entirely because the original plan called for schools to open in a different school district.
We want to know: What is the public review process for charter schools proposing to open in New York City?
If you have information or insights to share, please comment below, write us, or tweet to @thenyworld.
What we found
Two agencies are responsible for approving charter school applications: the State University of New York Charter Schools Institute and the New York State Education Department Board of Regents. Both are governed by the New York State Charter Schools Act.
Before applications are even received, the public has a chance to comment on the annual request for proposals for charter schools on the website or in writing. Within 30 days of receiving applications, both organizations notify the affected school district of any proposed charter schools. Letters of intent and applications are public record. The local school district – here, the New York City Department of Education – is then responsible for setting up a meeting for public comment. If it refuses, the Board of Regents must do so before a decision is made. Applicants must prove there is enough interest to reach the anticipated enrollment estimate for the proposed school. They must also submit and complete a community outreach plan, which can include public meetings or surveys.
At SUNY, throughout this entire process, the public can submit comments online.