UTICA, New York (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY-TV)– Pending approval by the New York State Board of Regents The Utica Academy of Science Charter School will be moving completely to its Frankfort location hopefully by the new school year.
“We didn’t just choose to go to Frankfort,” Tolga Hayali, Superintendent of The Utica Academy of Science Charter School explained. “We wanted to stay in Utica and we searched for it.”
Ultimately they were not able to find a place in Utica that they could afford. The school opened its door in 2013 at its Lincoln location near the downtown area and in 2015 they expanded to their Frankfort location. The Frankfort location currently houses the elementary school and the high school which means 75% of the students that attend Utica Academy are already at their Frankfort location, the rest are just the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.
Since its opening, the charter school has seen an influx of students, currently, they teach 726 students in grades k-3 and 6-12, and in the next two years, they plan on being K-12 with 858 students. Despite the move outside the city, the charter school will still prioritize Utica City students because that is the district it has its charter with, so as per the agreement with the state the school district provides some resources to the school but has no say in their curriculum or decisions.
“Charter schools only receive two-thirds of the per-pupil funding,” Hayali explained. “So what does that mean? That means that every $100 that comes from per-pupil funding from the state we get only $67 so $32, $33 stays in the district, and in return, the district provides the transportation services, the nursing services you know if there’s any occupational therapy speech therapy some of those services so that money stays in the district.”
Charter schools are publicly funded, and have the freedom to establish their own educational programs, and manage their human and financial resources. New York State currently has 326 charter schools. These schools like the Utica Academy of Science do not report to school districts but rather the board of regents.