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ECSD and organization leaders look at possible charter school

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: ECSD and organization leaders look at possible charter school
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There is an organization in the Elmira City School District that's looking for ways to continue the success of students. Their idea: formulating a charter school. Our Katie Husband talked with district and organization leaders and explains what each side thinks of the idea.

ELMIRA, N.Y. -- An idea that would help young students prepare for high school and beyond.

"A charter school gets by on some of the bureaucratic kinds of things that stifle a typical public school district," said Maggie Thurber, a founding member of An Elmira Charter School.

An Elmira Charter School is the name of the organization that thought of bringing an all-boys tuition free public charter school to the district designated for grades K-8.

"When children go to the charter school the dollars follow the children. So, if any group created a charter school for 100 students that charter school would essentially receive money that would come to us for those 100 students would go to the charter school," said Joe Hochreiter, Elmira City School District Superintendent.

The charter school is based on a flexible schedule that would focus on STEM curriculum meant to prepare young individuals and keep them in school rather than drop out, which is a major concern within the group.

"We could launch children into futures that are brighter and that include college attendance and readiness and career readiness," said Thurber.

But, district leaders tells us the last few years graduation rates are up and drop out rates are down so the thought of a different kind of school is somewhat disheartening.

"We have outstanding board members, administrators, teachers and staff. It would be great if we could dream and then go ahead and build a school without being worried about the bureaucracy and red tape that Albany and everyone else controls us by," said Hochreiter.

Despite the potential money the loss the district could face, both sides are willing to come together to discuss the possible benefits of a charter school on the area.

"How could we take one of our elementary schools or take one of our school facilities that are closed and create our own internal charter school which would address some of the same concerns," said Hochreiter.

If An Elmira Charter School gets through the proper state application process, the school could be open by September 2014.

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