It’s been a long,
hard effort but the Discovery Charter School Board sees the light at the end
of the tunnel in getting its approximately $7 million bond going.
The board stated at
its meeting Monday that Dec. 30 is the projected closing date on the bond,
which means that it won’t be long before Discovery will own the existing
building itself, buying it from Charter Schools Development Corporation (CSDC).
acquisition from CSDC will cost about $3,449,000 and with the bond, the
school also plans to move ahead with its $2.3 million in improvements. A new
16,720 sq. ft. building will give Discovery space for seven new classrooms,
two offices, restrooms and a combination cafeteria and gymnasium.
The new building
will be connected to the existing building. One classroom will be lost but
there will be a larger office area and a nurses station.
The bond will also
help the school consolidate $160,000 of its debt and other funds will be
used to pay for closing costs, debt service reserve and capitalized
We’re finally getting this done,” said Board President Laurie Metz.
The bonds will be
paid off over a 35-year period.
The goal is to have
the expansion ready by the start of next school year in August, Metz said.
The main parking lot will also be broadened so the school dismissal process
can go more quickly.
working with The Hamstra Group of Wheatfield on the improvements.
Metz said that
Discovery is also to receive a 10-year loan of $1,175,000 from the state as
part of the charter advance program. She said Discovery is hoping to use the
loan as an advance award to compliment the bond.
As it’s working out
the details with the Department of Education, Discovery hopes the first 10
years of amortization would take care of the advance award and then the
amortization on the bonds would begin the year after that.
Metz said that
Discovery continues to transition its way from American Quality Schools
which has been its management company from the time the school opened. Part
of that change is choosing its own employee health insurance plan. Two
insurance companies have submitted proposals to the board.
In his Director’s
report, Discovery Principal Ernesto Martinez said he will be receiving the
school’s scores on last spring’s ISTEP testing on Tuesday from the
Department of Education but the state won’t be releasing the information to
the public until the middle of January.
evaluate the scores and ask questions. The state will then make a rescore
before they are a finalized for the public, Martinez said.
The scores have
been delayed this year as the testing used a new format, scrapping Common
Core standards. Martinez said the DOE expects a 20 to 30 percent drop in
test scores in schools throughout the state and anticipates Discovery will
also see a decline in its results.
He added that the
DOE figures it will be three to five years before scores will rise to the
previous levels. “That’s the adjustment period of the new test,” he said.
reported that students brought in over 2,000 food items in a recent food
drive for the Westchester Food Pantry.
Enrollment is at
502 right now, Martinez said, as two students this past month have relocated
elsewhere, but two or three students are looking to start in January which
would bring up the enrollment.
SCRIP numbers fall
member and Parents Advisory Council member Lisa Apato reported the total in
sales from Discovery’s SCRIP program since Nov. 1 is $4,375 with 35
That’s a sharp
contrast from last November when the sales amounted to over $60,000 with 42
The PAC encourages
families to purchase SCRIP gift cards from the school. The cards can be used
to make purchases from businesses in the area. The businesses then rebate a
portion of the sales through PAC to directly benefit Discovery Charter
Apato said one of
the reasons the sales have not been as robust is because some families that
were very active no longer have children in the school.
For any new family
interested in using SCRIP, cards may be acquired at the front entrance or by
On another note,
Apato said she will be sending an email to parents Tuesday telling them
about Giving Tuesday. Donors may give direct donations to the school on the
school’s home webpage,