Under-Enrolled Brooklyn Charter School Hasn't Warned Parents It Might Close

By Meredith Hoffman on October 10, 2013 9:56am 

 Citizens of the World opened its first Brooklyn location on 424 Leonard St. this fall.
Citizens of the World opened its first Brooklyn location on 424 Leonard St. this fall.
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Citizens of the World

GREENPOINT — An under-enrolled charter elementary school hasn't informed parents of its potential probation and closure — and the director said he has no idea what happened to local parents the school claimed had requested the charter for their neighborhood.

The executive director of Greenpoint's Citizens of the World charter school acknowledged that the institution has enrolled just half its projected number of students and only three from the neighborhood, and admitted that the school had "done no formal outreach to parents" about the state's threat to put the school on probation.

"We know enrollment for any new school is always challenging, especially in New York where parents have a lot of options," said executive director Mark Comanducci. "It's always hard for enrollment, but that being said, there's been an uptick in [our] numbers since the first day of school."

Comanducci also insisted that a group of local parents had indeed pushed for the school's opening. Citizens had sought to appeal to wealthy white families in its recruitment of students. 

"I can't tell you where they ultimately decided to go or why they chose one school over another," Comanducci said of those local parents. "You'd have to ask them."

Comanducci added he was confident Citizens would not be placed on probation since the board was presenting the state with a revised budget to reflect updated enrollment numbers.

"Despite where our numbers are now, we’re able to deliver the same academic program with no changes in curriculum," he said, noting the charter would require less money with fewer students at the school.

He also said parents might be hesitant to enroll their kids at Citizens because it had a model that focused more on enrichment.

"We're focused on social and emotional learning...We have art and music and dance," Comanducci said. "A lot of charters don’t have those."

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