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									                        Charter School Pre-Authorization Planning Grants


Objective:     The Center’s Pre-Authorization Planning Grants provide support to charter school
               founding leader(s) or founding groups to design, plan, and develop a high quality
               charter school and to submit a sound charter school application to an authorizer.

Who:           Founding leader(s) and planning teams developing a charter school (individual or
               nonprofit) in New York City are eligible to apply. Planning teams must have 501(c)(3)
               status or must have a fiscal partner to be eligible. Only planning teams that already
               have in place the key personnel who have the capabilities to plan and design a high-
               quality charter school should consider applying. Planning teams associated with for-
               profit management companies are not eligible to apply for this grant as planning
               support is generally provided.

When:          Applications may be submitted for consideration up to 24 months in advance but no
               later than 6 months in advance of the expected date of authorization. Grants are
               considered four times a year by the Center’s Board of Directors. The Board of
               Directors meets in mid March, June, September, and December, and the Center
               requires eight weeks review time before a board meeting. (Note: Applications for
               June, 2009 Board meeting are due on April 15, 2009 at 5pm). Applications will
               not be accepted after this date and time for this grant cycle.

Amounts     The grant award per school is up to $35,000; grant awards may be less than that
and Number: amount. In determining the size and number of grants that it awards, the Center takes
            into consideration the total number of potential grantees in addition to the quality of the
            proposals themselves. Due to limited funding for the remainder of the current fiscal
            year and the number of possible grantees, the grant process will be highly competitive.
            The Center only recommends grants to individuals and groups that have the clear
            capacity to bring to fruition high-quality charter schools.

               Grants will be paid in two installments with the first installment constituting 50% of the
               grant. Satisfactory progress must be demonstrated and ongoing grant obligations and
               reporting deadlines met as a condition of receiving full payment.

Use of        Grant funding should only be applied to high priority activities and items that are clearly
Funds:        in the best interest of planning a high quality school and submitting a successful
              charter application. Examples of such activities and items include, but are not limited
              -     convening a design team to develop an academic plan, standards and
                    assessments for driving instructional decisions and teacher recruitment goals,
                    and systems for school finance and operations that will support student
                    achievement and are aligned with the school’s mission;
              -     covering the costs of visits to other successful charter schools to assess and
                    gather effective practices;
              -     recruiting founding Board members, developing a strong, working Board and
                    creating a plan of accountability;
              -     retaining a technical assistance provider with proven expertise in developing a
                    charter school or a business plan, including a pre-operating budget, funding
                    development plan, and financial projections for the school’s first 1-5 years of
           -    hosting community outreach and family recruitment meetings;
           -    retaining attorneys, consultants, for obtaining 501(c)(3) status, and other key
                planning and negotiation services;
           -    creating a facilities plan, search and development;
           -    paying school leader or executive director stipends for a period of time before the
                charter application is approved; and
           -    developing communication and technology materials.

Process:   Applicants must contact Niomi Plotkin, Director of School Development, prior to
           submitting an application so that the Center can determine if the school is far enough
           along in the planning process to be considered for a grant. Applicants should submit a
           cover sheet and a planning grant application in the required format.

           After initial review by the Center, qualified applicants will be invited to participate in an
           interview, and to submit recommendations. The Center may also conduct other due
           diligence, such as reference checks, or ask for additional information. Selected grant
           proposals will be submitted to the Center’s Board of Directors for its consideration four
           times a year. Applicants should expect the review and approval process to take
           approximately three months from each application deadline date.
  Charter School Pre-Authorization Planning Grant Application (Schools opening in 2010 or 2011)

                                           COVER SHEET

Date: ______________________________            Amount requested: __________________________

Name of lead applicant and organization/group/other individuals developing the school: ___________


Name of proposed charter school & starting year: _________________________________________

Mailing address: ___________________________________________________________________

Telephone number: ________________________________________________________________

Facsimile number: _________________________________________________________________

E-mail address: ___________________________________________________________________

Expected date of charter application submission and authorizer: _____________________________

Name of management company (if any):________________________________________________

Name of partner organization (if any): __________________________________________________

Tentative location of proposed charter school: ___________________________________________

Number of students in first year ______________         Grade level served: ____________________

501(c)(3) status and, if no, when do you plan to apply?: ____________________________________

The application is designed to give a brief summary of the proposed charter school, the school leader
(if selected), the planning team’s experience and qualifications, and the proposed grant activities and
expenditures. Please complete your grant proposal using the sections outlined on the attached page.
In addition to the grant proposal, you must submit the cover sheet as part of your grant proposal
               Charter School Pre-Authorization Planning Grant Application
                           (Schools opening in 2010 or 2011)

A Pre-Authorization Planning Grant Proposal should respond to the following requests and include the
listed attachments. The proposal should total no more than 10 pages. (Not including


1.   State your proposed school’s mission, vision, and educational philosophy.

2.   Describe why you want to start a charter school, why you believe you will be successful, your
     experience with the students likely to enroll, the major challenges you will face and the
     strategies you will use to overcome those challenges.

3.   List the organizational and educational goals for which your proposed charter school will be held

4.   Please include: (a) description of your proposed population, (b) first year enrollment level,
     (c)first year grade levels to be served, (d) total enrollment after 5 years, (e) grade levels served
     at full enrollment, and (f) teacher/student ratio at grade levels served.

5.   Briefly describe your proposed academic program and explain why and how you came to select
     it along with proposed support for ELL and Special Ed. populations. Describe any research or
     models that have informed your planning process.

6.   Describe the need for your school in the proposed community in which it will be located and the
     support you have received from parents, guardians, students, and local community members.

7.   Describe your team’s managerial, operational and financial experience that will allow you to
     open your school. Please list other areas of expertise that you will need on your planning team
     and how you intend to fill them. Include information on how the resources you have or will need
     will impact your ability to open the school.

8.   List the three most important goals (other than charter authorization) your planning team needs
     to accomplish to design, develop and open a quality charter school.

9.   List the major objectives you would like to accomplish prior to submitting your charter for
     authorization, including school leader activities and developmental plan, and instructional and
     business planning.

10. Describe the key goals and activities to be supported by the planning grant. Include a proposed
    budget and timeline for the activities (not to exceed $35,000). Provide a narrative next to each
    budgeted item explaining why it is a priority for your school. Where you have budgeted for a
    consultant, please list the name of the consultant or possible candidates. You may include
    reimbursement of expenses from the day of grant application up to charter school authorization.

11. Describe your facilities plan. Include any contingency plans.

1.    Resumes and a paragraph description of the experience and qualifications of the founding
      school leader(s) (if a leader is in place) and planning team members, and a detailed description
      of your proposed governance structure including recruitment efforts. Please include any
      experience of leaders and planning team members with the proposed student population your
      school would serve.

      Note: If the charter school applicant is submitting a pre-authorization planning grant proposal
      for funds to develop a second or third charter school, please also describe the relationship
      between the board of the founding organization and the charter school boards, and any
      overlapping membership.

2.    Draft pre-operating budget detailing revenues (including grants and donations) and anticipated
      expenses that will be incurred prior to the planned date of school opening.

      Note: If the charter school applicant is submitting a pre-authorization planning grant proposal
      for funds to develop a second or third charter school, please also submit: (1) an operating
      budget for the first 1-5 years after opening; (2) a summary of the current year and last year’s
      budget for the founding organization with total budget, total expenditures, total revenues, per
      student cost, percent of revenues from government, foundations corporations and individuals,
      expenses by major categories; and (3) most recent audited financial statements.

3.    Additional sources of funds until school opening to be tapped during the planning and start-up
      process and the status of commitments.

Criteria:      1.    Well-defined mission and strong and clear vision that is measurable. An
                     academic program that demonstrates the capability to produce strong student
                     outcomes. A proposed specific school culture and illustrated core values of

               2.    Capacity of planning team to develop, open and lead a high quality charter
                     school—planning team members bring diverse experience, skills and knowledge;
                     have a plan to increase their capacity to manage the planning process, if
                     necessary; and demonstrate commitment to lead and oversee the opening of a
                     successful charter school. Team members must be able to demonstrate a
                     willingness to do research and needed time to develop the schools core values,
                     instructional program and operational systems.

               3.    Teams must show what research has been completed to date and present
                     findings and examples of sound pedagogy and specific curricular choices that
                     they have made or may consider using to drive curriculum and instruction.
                     Teams must explain the rationale for their choices. Please include targeted
                     student achievement goals and choices of assessment tools to identify student
                     progress. Discuss your understanding of data usage and how this informs
                     instruction. Please discuss NYS standards and planning curriculum
                     /scope/sequence for success. ELL and Special Ed. programs must be well

               4.    Community need and evidence of support (Community/Political/Parent
                     Outreach). In addition the team must present a plan to initiate contact with the
                    community and a map for keeping the community informed of the progress of the
                    proposed school. Include statistics and needs for proposed community the
                    school will serve.

              5.    Realistic school budget and sound operational and financial planning. This
                    should include procedures in place to insure there is accountability and clear
                    internal control systems in place. Teams should be able to clearly demonstrate
                    capacity to fundraise and include contingency plan. Please project the needs of
                    the school for 3 years.

              6.    Facilities plan that is realistic and speaks to both long term and short term needs
                    for the school. Include plan to find, secure, and fund space.

              7.    Sound plan for use of grant funds that is aligned with goals and objectives.

Instructions for Submitting:
Pre-Authorization Planning Grants applications are to be submitted in digital (word document) to
Niomi Plotkin at and Lorin Brown at

Please submit the hard copy format on 8-1/2” x 11” paper printed on one side only. The maximum
page limit is ten pages for the Pre-Authorization Planning Grant proposal plus the additional pages
necessary for the cover sheet and attachments. Please use 11 pt. Garamond type size with 1” inch

              Please submit the completed application to:

                      Charter School Pre-Authorization Planning Grant
                      Attention: Lorin Brown and Niomi Plotkin
                      NYC Center for Charter School Excellence
                      111 Broadway, Suite 604
                      New York, NY 10006

              We encourage early applications to ensure schools have a sufficient planning period.

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