New York State regulators may close two of Albany’s charter schools, sponsored by the Brighter Choice Foundation.

“Copies of the letters sent to the Brighter Choice school officials were not immediately available Monday, but the recommendation was based on academic performance, according to a person familiar with the situation.If the institute formally adopts the recommendation it would mean more than one-third of the dozen charter schools that once made Albany ground zero for the contentious debate about their role in public education in New York will have closed in recent years.”

Two other Brighter Choice charters have closed in the past two years.

This is a big deal, because Albany had a larger percentage of its students in charters than any other city in the state.

Brighter Choice opened nearly a dozen charters in the state’s Capitol. It is very high-profile. An article in the conservative journal “Education Next” in 2009 called Brighter Choice charters “the Holy Grail” of school reform because it had achieved both high academic performance and scale.

A state audit last year criticized one of the schools in the charter chain for spending too much on leasing facilities from—who else?—the Brighter Choice Foundation. Auditors said the school could have saved from $200,000 to $2.3 million if it had purchased the elementary school by issuing debt instead of continuing to lease the building from the foundation.

The founder of Brighter Choice is Tom Carroll, who helped to write the charter law when he worked for the Pataki administration in 1998 and is on the boards of several charters. He has often written opinion pieces in Néw York City tabloids extolling the virtues of charters.