Schenectady County

Rotterdam charter school cancels application

Founders of Eximius, a charter school proposed for the former Draper School, have temporarily pulled

Founders of Eximius, a charter school proposed for the former Draper School, have temporarily pulled their application with the state Department of Education.

Lead applicant Karim Adeen-Hasan informed state officials of the withdrawal in a succinct note Monday, indicating that the school intends to resubmit an application during the 2012 cycle. Eximius spokeswoman Pamela Swanigan said the additional time will allow the school to tweak its educational, organizational and financial plans contained in the 192-page application submitted to the state earlier this year.

“We just needed more time to develop the application,” she said Friday.

The move comes less than two weeks after Eximius announced a series of “meet and greet” events in Schenectady’s Hamilton Hill neighborhood, an area from where the school intended pulling many of its students. The second of three events was scheduled for today.

The Mohonasen Central School District had scheduled a public hearing on the proposed charter school on Monday. The meeting would solicit comments about the proposal from the public to be forwarded to the Education Department’s Charter School Office.

The initial proposal indicated the school would open in September 2012, with classes from kindergarten to fifth grade for about 168 students. Maximum enrollment projections show a total of 965 students attending the school.

The proposal to use the former Draper School building has raised issues with the town and the Disabled American Veterans, a group that proposed turning the property into a home for disabled veterans. Town officials maintain that the variances granted for the property allowing it to be used as a school were wiped off the books after the building’s former tenant, the International Charter School of Schenectady, failed to live up to conditions set by the Planning Commission in 2005.

Neighbors living near the Draper building already have vowed to fight any proposal to locate a new charter school there and a meeting earlier this month between them and Eximius failed to sway their opinion. Some say a new charter school would pose a serious disruption to their neighborhood, as did ICSS.

DAV representatives are also questioning the contract between the Eximius Education Foundation and First Niagara Bank, the financial institution that loaned millions of dollars to the defunct charter school to renovate the building. Last summer, the veterans believed they had a deal in place to purchase the property.

A call to a DAV representative was not returned Friday.

Swanigan said Eximius still intends to use the Draper building and anticipates it will remain a part of the new application when it is submitted sometime in January. She said interest in Eximius remains high, with more than 300 people signing a petition in favor of it.

“We have valid interest in the school,” she said.

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