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SUNY denies role in UPrep’s administrative salary hikes

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UPrep to spend $1.4M this year on administration, $325K increase from last year

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — News 8 recently showed you how the charter school, UPrep, is spending a lot more on administration this year. When we asked why, they pointed to recommendations made by the state’s charter school institute, saying:

“The recommendations included (…) adjustments to several current administrative positions to expand responsibilities and enhance capabilities.”

News 8 reached out to the SUNY Charter Schools Institute. They said the Charter Schools Act gives those schools the control to set staff positions, hire staff, and budget. But they added this:

“SUNY never makes hiring recommendations or plays any role in recommending or setting salaries for any of the schools it authorizes.”

There is a recommendation report, but it does not mention a need for more administrators. In fact, SUNY appeared pleased with the past set-up and said this in the report:

“Given the size and delineation of duties, the leadership team has the structural capacity to support the continued development of the teaching staff.”

“The school’s administrative structure allows for instructional leaders to focus solely on teaching and learning.”

“Additionally, the organizational structure establishes distinct lines of accountability with clearly defined roles and responsibilities.”

UPrep is a school with fewer than 400 students. They’re spending more than $1.4 million on administration. That’s a more than $325,000 increase from last year. Three positions at the top all received pay hikes and now come with between a $100,000 and $155,000 salary.

UPrep has a board of trustees which makes hiring and salary decisions. When News 8 asked to talk to a board member, we were told all inquiries go through the public relations director.

We reached out to UPrep about SUNY’s response but we haven’t heard back yet.

Full statement from SUNY:

“The SUNY Trustees renewed U Prep based on the school’s fulfillment of requirements as laid out in New York’s Charter Schools Act.  The charter schools Act provides every charter school autonomy for setting staff positions, hiring staff, budgeting, and governance.  SUNY never makes hiring recommendations or plays any role in recommending or setting salaries for any of the schools it authorizes.  SUNY does, however, hold U Prep,  and all other charter schools it authorizes, accountable for producing strong outcomes for students, meeting statutory and regulatory obligations applied to all charters, and doing so in a fiscally sound manner.  SUNY posts detailed financial data for all of its charters on our website at www.newyorkcharters.org.”

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