Riverhead Charter School appeals to IDA for help with expansion project

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Andres Alvarado of the sixth grade during a school presentation in December, at which charter students appealed to Councilman John Dunleavy for a school speed zone outside the school. The school may soon be expanding.

The Riverhead Charter School is hoping to build a new K-8 facility on its six-acre campus on Route 25 in Calverton.

Charter School Principal Dorothy Porteus and director of operations and finance Michelle Dalpiaz discussed the issue informally with the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency Monday.

The school has hired attorney Richard Tortora of Capital Markets Advisors LLC in Great Neck to work on the proposal with them. He was also at the meeting.

The size and the cost of the proposed facility are not yet decided, Ms. Porteus said, but school officials are hoping to have the new building open by the spring of 2013.

The charter school, which opened in 2001, currently only has grades K through 6. The proposed school building would enable the school to add grades 7 and 8, and is projected to boost enrollment from about 280 now to about 400, Ms. Porteus said.

Charter schools receive their funding from each student’s home public school district, based on a per-pupil formula.

The school cannot issue bonds, Mr. Tortora said, and is seeking IDA help in acting as a conduit to issue the tax exempt bonds for the project.

School officials are also planning to discontinue the use of portable classroom in the back of the property, Ms. Porteus said.

“At this point, it’s fair to say we’re very interested and will do whatever we can to help,” said IDA chairman Tom Cruso.

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