Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Schenectady charter school closing

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Albany/HV: Schenectady charter school closing
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SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- "The school is closing, why should we stay? Why should we put our kids in a school we don't think is adequate for them,” asked Angeline Schell whose son attends the International Charter School in Schenectady.

Parents and staff at the Schenectady charter school said that for many kids in the district, that school was their ticket out. When it closes, why should they stay?

“Just knowing your child was attending a school that had hope. Knowing that your child was not going to be collateral damage in a failing school system, that was their only hope," said Schell.

For the past four years, the International Charter School of Schenectady had been performing at either the same level, or below the public schools there. A year ago administrators took over the school's management and parents saw a dramatic improvement.

"The difference in the scores under the past system and the scores she read off upstairs are over 20 percent. That's phenomenal."

While the school's scores did improve, the SUNY education board said it was not by enough. The charter schools are expected to perform above the standard of public schools, not on par with them.

"The difference between a charter school and a public school is unrelenting commitment to accountability. There's no reason to have a charter school if it doesn't offer the best possible option," said Cynthia Proctor with the SUNY Charter School Institute.

In order for the school to have stayed open, at least 75 percent of the kids attending would have needed a high level of comprehension in the four main subjects. The charter school failed, scoring only about 43 percent.

"The changes they made just weren't enough. The decision of the SUNY board is final,” declared Proctor.

The board will now begin working with the families to either place them in Schenectady public schools, or charter schools in Albany or Troy.

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