(The following letter was sent to SUNY and is printed here at the writer's request.)
Re: Pending Application for a Charter for the Leonard A. Covello Charter School to be located in Glen Cove.
Please accept this letter as a direct statement of opposition to the approval of the pending application for the Leonard A. Covello Charter School.
Our reasons for adamantly opposing this application include, but are not limited to, the following:
* There is no demonstrated need for such a school. The Glen Cove City School District while facing significant challenges both financially and with the demographics of a deficited at-risk population has and continues to provide effective educational programs.
* There is no evidence of any community support for this school. In fact, meetings scheduled by the organizers were canceled due to lack of interest. The two meetings which were actually held were poorly attended with little evidence of support but significant levels of community concern. Only one isolated letter of support was included with the application --- hardly a demonstration of community support. At a recent well attended meeting hosted by the school district, the only voices of support came from the lead applicant, his wife and a vice president from Edison Schools, none of whom are community residents, parents, or taxpayers.
* This school is being imposed from the outside. The majority of the members of the putative board of directors are not from Glen Cove or the Glen Cove area and their knowledge and experience is not reflective of the community and its values.
* The stated educational "qualifications" of the organizers (the putative board of directors)" does not reflect those knowledges, skills or abilities needed to establish and direct the policies of such a school. Entrusting them with our children is risky at best.
* The stated financial "qualifications" of the organizers fail to establish a reasonable basis for adjudging that they have the proven abilities to effectively and efficiently manage such a multi-million dollar enterprise. Entrusting them with public dollars is injudicious.
* The financial statements included in the application raise serious questions as to the financial viability of the applicants.
* The application, as filed, raises serious and unanswered questions as to the integrity, honesty and forthrightness of the applicants. Details in the application are at direct variance to public statements by the applicants. Printed press reports in both the Glen Cove Record-Pilot and the Gold Coast Gazette (local weekly newspapers) are replete with coverage of these "discrepancies."
* Those portions of the application prepared by Edison Schools (as the selected Education Management Organization, EMO) are boilerplate and are not descriptive of the services to be provided at the proposed Covello School. Edison, for example, cites language instruction solely in Spanish; the organizers repeatedly stressed that there would be instruction in Italian and Latin or Greek. As such, the application is inaccurate.
* The "key" Glen Cove resident listed as a member of the board of directors (William Richardson) has withdrawn his name and is no longer connected with this application process. This withdrawal speaks to ever-weakening links of the organizers to the community and ever-dwindling support.
* The approval of this application would withdraw precious financial resources from the Glen Cove City School District leading inexorably to either a diminution of existing services (to a high at-risk population) or an increase in the local property tax burden.
* The applicants have failed to establish how the approval of their school will met the statutory requirement of expanding educational opportunities for all students.
For these reasons as well as myriad others, we ask that you summarily reject with prejudice the application of the Leonard A. Covello Charter School. Please advise us of your disposition of this matter.
MaryAnn and Robert Lupinskie