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From Catholic to Charter in Brooklyn

Monday, February 09, 2009

Mayor Bloomberg's plan to help the Brooklyn Diocese convert four Catholic schools into publicly financed charter schools will require a delicate balancing act. State law technically prohibits the practice.

But the private schools could shut down and reopen as charters, so long as they do it carefully, explains Peter Murphy, policy director for the New York State Charter Schools Association.

MURPHY: They cannot have substantially the same board and officers and staff in the charter school as they do now, the term substantially is in law. They can have some overlap but they cannot have substantial overlap.

REPORTER: The new charter schools would also have to hold a lottery system, meaning students who attend the existing Catholic schools would not be guaranteed a seat unless the legislature changes the rules.

The Brooklyn Diocese has yet to say which schools in Brooklyn and Queens it's planning to close because of declining enrollment.

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