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Greenpoint Charter Avoids Closure with More Than 50 Percent Enrollment Jump

By Meredith Hoffman | December 9, 2013 3:02pm
 Citizens of the World charter school on Leonard Street has avoided closure by enrolling 37 more students in two months.
Citizens of the World charter school on Leonard Street has avoided closure by enrolling 37 more students in two months.
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Citizens of the World

GREENPOINT — A charter school that was being threatened with the chopping block was given a reprieve after it boosted its enrollment by more than 50 percent, just two months after it was given a warning from the state.

The enrollment at Citizens of the World elementary shot from 65 students in October to 102 last week, close to the 126 students projected for this year, said a representative from the SUNY Charter Schools Institute.

The number was just a shade above the minimum 100 students required for the school to operate, the rep added.

The Leonard Street school — which was placed on probation at the end of October — also submitted a reduced budget to reflect the lower enrollment, the representative said.

"The school submitted a viable fiscal plan with the lower enrollment," said Catherine Kramer, SUNY's director of school information. "The Institute will continue to monitor the school and report to the trustees at their next charter committee meeting, currently scheduled for the end of January." 

The school's rapid jump in students resulted from an intense recruitment push by staff and parents since October, said the charter's ecstatic director, Mark Comanducci.

"We're feeling great that so many parents were willing to join our school midyear," said Comanducci, who claimed that 85 percent of parents who had toured the school since October had enrolled their children, and that the additional students had been spread evenly between kindergarten and first grade. "And we're already getting a lot of interest for next year."

Despite the enrollment increase, most of the students still hail from outside the district, Comanducci acknowledged. Only three of its students came from inside the district as of October.

"The families currently here have been talking to their friends," explained Comanducci of the fact that few children from Williamsburg and Greenpoint had enrolled. "A lot come from Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant."

Comanducci said he expected more local students next year, and emphasized that even the recently enrolled children would not be behind in their studies for this school year.

"All students when they meet with us do the same beginning-of-year assessments in reading and math so we can meet them on their level," he said. "We put a lot of emphasis on individual instruction."