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Three proposed Buffalo charter schools Monday moved a step closer to opening their doors to students in September.

The State University of New York's executive committee voted, in effect, to confer finalist status on these elementary-school plans:

South Buffalo Charter School, which would emphasize the use of technology in instruction, establish clear expectations for pupils in each grade and offer character education.

King Center Charter School, which would provide year-round instruction for about 80 pupils, most of them from Buffalo's inner city.

Tapestry School, where individual attention would be emphasized, along with regular instruction in Spanish, art, dance and music.

SUNY's Charter Schools Institute, which recommended the finalists Friday, said their organizers will now be subject to site visits, extensive interviews and background checks.

"While these recommended applicants speak eloquently and impressively on paper, we will now thoroughly examine the people and places involved to identify those most qualified to open a charter school," said Robert Bellafiore, the institute's executive director.

SUNY will consider the applications in January.

Nine other proposed Buffalo-area charter schools were not recommended for September 2000 openings. However, they have the option of resubmitting their applications in hopes of beginning operations later.

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