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The future of a proposed charter school in District 24 was left shrouded in mystery last week after the founders of the would-be institution failed to show up for a meeting with Community Education Council 24 members.
The meeting was effectively a public hearing for the application, CEC 24 President Nick Comaianni said, noting the applicants had 30 days to hold the hearing after filing with the state. That deadline expired Friday, he said.
But the state Department of Education begged to differ with Comaianni’s assessment.
“The applicants are under no obligation to put in an appearance or to make a presentation at a scheduled hearing,” state DOE spokeswoman Jane Briggs said. “The districts may request that the applicants be present, but it is the applicants’ decision. Their status is not affected in either case.”
The state DOE’s Web site does list a law requiring a public hearing at the school district where a proposed charter would be located within 30 days of the application being received. The law does not provide for any recourse in the event the applicant misses the meeting and cannot reschedule before the deadline.
According to an executive summary provided to CEC 24, City Academy of Science Charter School would open in August 2010 with 198 students in grades seven through 12, expanding to 396 students in grades K-12 by 2015. The school’s organizers are working with a real estate agent to find a location in Glendale, Long Island City or Maspeth, the summary said.
Furkan Kosar, principal of the private Brooklyn Amity School, was listed as holding the contact on the executive summary. Kosar did not return a message seeking comment by Tuesday evening.
“There’s no presentation, there’s no charter school,” said Comaianni, who noted he is generally opposed to charter schools.
Other community leaders expressed anger the meeting was not better publicized, noting they saw no notices in any newspapers.
“In all my years, I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Juniper Park Civic President Robert Holden. “A meeting that was called and nobody knew about.”
“There’ll be another 100 people down here looking to burn down every school in Maspeth,” Juniper Park Civic member Manny Caruana said of the community reaction.
Not everyone in attendance criticized the school, though. Teacher Dermot Smythe said the United Federation of Teachers was not opposed to the charter school so long as its teaching staff are members of the union.
State law dictates the state Board of Regents has until Jan. 1, 2010, to act on any charter applications filed before Oct. 1.
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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