I am beginning to explore the possibility of opening a public charter school in New Rochelle. I’m currently a NYC school leader and former charter school director (also of a school in NYC) who resides in New Rochelle. The idea of a charter school in New Rochelle intrigues me, especially in light of the changing demographics of New Rochelle and the apparent unrest amongst our community with the direction of the New Rochelle School District. A well run charter school could bring innovation to education in this city, as well as provide competition to the established schools, thus improving the overall quality or our schools.
In the long run, lower property taxes could result as well if charter schools prove to operate more efficiently. From what I read in these blogs, some of the positions/expenses that this city is incurring are outrageous. Is it true that we employ a full time locksmith AND a carpenter (obviously, these are functions that can be outsourced rather easily)? If this is true, is waste also occurring within the schools themselves and the administrative offices?
For those who may not be familiar with charter schools (and this is a very BRIEF explanation), charter schools are PUBLIC schools that operate independently from the local Board of Education. They are funded by the same tax dollars that go to the New Rochelle BOE. They are authorized under New York State Law and are accountable as such to the State and, if applicable, their local authorizer. There are several different management models, but typically, there is a Head of School (or Principal) and then another person who manages the operations aspect of the school (in some schools, one person could be both). Though the Head of School would be the ultimate decision maker, there is a Board of Directors who would be responsible for overseeing the progress of the school as well as vote on major budget issues etc., much like a company would operate. The Board of Directors would be chosen from local citizens who demonstrate commitment to the school’s mission and the ability to govern effectively. There is much more to it, but in a nut shell, that is it.
Again, I am only in the preliminary stages of researching the feasibility of a charter school in New Rochelle. The first step is to gauge the public’s desire for a charter school. Without public support, it will not happen. If you have any interest in this matter, please email me at NewRochelleCharterSchool@gmail.com with any insight you may have or post comments on this blog.