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Charter school gearing up for fall opening

Posted by keshiaclukey on May 9, 2013 at 7:25 PM

Charter school gearing up for fall opening

Lease for Holy Trinity school in Utica to be signed soon by science academy

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UTICA - The Mohawk Valley's first charter school has a home.

The next step: hiring staff and enrolling students.

The Utica Academy of Science Charter School will be moving into the Holy Trinity Church's empty parish school building on Lincoln Avenue.

"I feel much better," said founder Tolga Hayali, director of the Syracuse Academy of Science Charter School.

The school was approved by the New York State Board of Regents in November and is expected to open in the fall, but much work first needs to be done.

The lease has not been signed but is expected to be completed within the next week. It will be about $6,000 per month, not including utilities, though the exact amount has yet to be finalized, Hayali said.

"Once we sign it, we will go in immediately to polish, paint and do whatever needs to be done. Then we'll start to organize open houses," Hayali said.

Charter schools are public schools operating independently of school districts. They are held to all state standards as well as their charter - a plan that shows how they might improve on public education.

The Utica Academy of Science Charter School will offer aspects of a college preparatory education with special emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math, referred to as STEM. There is no tuition to attend.

At first, the school will enroll about 176 students for grades sixth through ninth. The number of students would increase each year as grades are added, and enrollment is expected to reach 462 in the next five years.

The charter school began the application process on its website, uascs.org. To date, more than 90 applications have been received, Hayali said.

"We're getting good feedback," he said. "By the end of April we should be done."

The Holy Trinity building served as a Catholic elementary school from 1960 to 2002 and an alternative high school for BOCES until 2010.

The parish has been paying to heat, power and insure the building, church pastor Rev. John Mikalajunas has said.

The parish is excited to finally be leasing the building.

"Right now, it's a $60,000 loss," Mikalajunas said. "It would help us financially."After the building is repurposed, the charter school group will start staffing it and holding information sessions.

The school is looking for candidates who are New York state certified teachers in seventh through 12th grade English, math, science, social studies, music, art, physical education, school counseling, special education, as well as sixth grade teachers, secretaries, custodians and hall monitors, Hayali said.

The charter school founders must work closely with the city school district, because the public district would pay for the students and services such as busing through its state aid.

Parents must apply to enroll their students, who are then selected by a lottery. Utica students are given preference.

Brochures with open house dates will be mailed after the lease is signed and the building complete. Open houses will include parents and students from the Syracuse Academy of Science Charter School.

Hayali said he's pleased with the location and the response thus far.

"I think we're in very good shape. I think because we did so many outreaches, we are ready," he said.

Charter school information
* The Utica Academy of Science Charter School will be at the former Holy Trinity Church parish school building on Lincoln Avenue in Utica. Its rent will be about $6,000 per month, not including utilities.
* The school will be taking 176 students in grades 6 through 9 for the 2013-14 school year.
* It will hire at least between 20 and 25 people from teachers to custodians, secretaries to school directors.
* There is no tuition fee to attend. Parents must apply to enroll their students, who are selected by a lottery. Utica students will be given preference.
* To apply for a position, send a resume to Tolga Hayali at 1001 Park Avenue, Syracuse, NY, 13204.
* The school has received more than 90 student applications so far.
* For information or for a student application, visit uascs.org or email [email protected]
Source: Tolga Hayali, Utica Academy of Science Charter School founder and director of the Syracuse Academy of Science Charter School.
What’s next?
The building will be repurposed; staff must be hired; information booklets will be mailed out; open houses will be held and students will be selected.


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