New Roots Charter School is poised for a bright future after meeting terms of remedial action plan

In a memo to members of the SUNY Board of Trustees dated October 6, 2020, Susan Miller Carello, Executive Director of the SUNY Charter Schools Institute, reported that New Roots Charter School has met the terms of its probation, stating “the remedial action plan contained mandatory terms and conditions, which the school has met, and continues to provide the Institute with timely reporting as requested.”

She also noted that the Institute will continue to monitor school operations during the 2020-21 school year. Annual audited financial statements due to the Institute by November 1, 2020 show that the school met the financial challenges presented by lower-than-budgeted enrollment in 2019-20.

SUNY assigned the school probationary status in December 2019 due to “low enrollment, fiscal mismanagement, and admitting students outside of permissible grade range.” According to school officials, enrollment levels below the enrollment collar established by the charter are of fiscal concern because charter schools receive public funding on a per pupil basis.

In 2018, SUNY ruled that students enrolled in a high school preparatory program (LEAP) must complete or attempt grade 8 prior to admission. LEAP was approved by SUNY to enroll students ages 12-16, and the school had admitted students into LEAP based on age without consideration of previous academic experience. SUNY stated that they did not find that the school had acted in bad faith, and the students were allowed to continue their education at New Roots.

Dr. Jason Hamilton, Founding Chairman of the New Roots Charter School Board of Trustees, credited New Roots staff for the school’s success. “The tremendous resilience of New Roots is a reflection of our committed, caring staff’s ability to innovate and respond creatively in response to emerging conditions,” Dr. Hamilton said. “Staff responded gracefully in the face of fiscal challenges without sacrificing the quality of our academic program, and then took adaptation to COVID-19 into stride midstream. Our staff truly exemplify the value of the “solutionary” education we offer at New Roots.”

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For more information, contact Michael Mazza, director of community engagement at New Roots Charter School, at mmazza@newrootsschool.org.

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