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October 14, 1999 

Bellafiore, former Council staff member, named to Charter Schools Institute

Robert J. Bellafiore, a senior aide to Governor Pataki and former director of communications for The Business Council, has been named executive director of the State University of New York Charter Schools Institute.

Bellafiore, who was instrumental in helping enact and implement the state's charter school law, will serve as the Institute's chief operating officer, overseeing day-to-day operations of the Institute.

The Charter Schools Institute was formed by the SUNY board of trustees after the Charter Schools Act of 1998 allowed the board to authorize creation of 50 new charter schools. The Business Council strongly supported this legislation.

The Institute is responsible for reviewing charter applications filed with the State University, and for making recommendations to university trustees.

More than 900 students are enrolled in charter schools-two in Harlem and one in Albany-approved by SUNY trustees earlier this year.

The trustees also approved five other schools scheduled to open next fall. Fifteen applications were filed for the first round of review.

"Charter schools represent a real opportunity to improve public education for New York's children, and to lay the foundation for a better New York State for years to come," said Bellafiore.

"I am looking forward to the challenges of implementing the law and working to bring high-quality charter schools to every corner of the state," he added.

Bellafiore joined Governor Pataki's administration as press secretary in January 1995. Since January 1996, he has served as the Governor's director of special projects, where he has worked on policy development and implementation, strategic communications and interagency coordination on many issues. They include workers' compensation, parole reform, tax and economic policy and educational technology initiatives such as New York Wired.

Bellafiore was The Council's director of communications from 1991 through 1994 before joining the Pataki administration. He also was a reporter for the Associated Press, United Press International and the Albany Knickerbocker News.