Charter schools

Deception seals the fate of special needs charter school

The straw that broke the innovating camel's back:

The Department of Public Instruction hand-delivered a letter today to Dynamic Community Charter school officials stating its intention to revoke the school’s charter. Some of the concerns raised by the interviews include: •Instruction that was not designed specifically for the school population •Students put in or left in unsafe situations •Lack of health care plans for students •Teacher assistants serving in inappropriate capacities •Administration given “scripts” on how to interact with DPI staff “to divert attention from the true practices that were actually occurring;”

In addition, the letter states that “…the investigation revealed a number of instances in which leadership at the school has been untruthful in their dealing with the Department…”

I will forego my usual lecture about how obvious attempts at deception call into question everything you say, even if 90% of it is truthful, leaving you with no reasonable ground to stand on (I guess the lecture didn't want to be stifled). But the worst part of this situation has to do with the students themselves: Will they be better off (safer) without the school? Did the mismanagement rob them (even more than they've already been robbed) of a brighter future? Will this failure scare away others who might have dedicated special schools for these kids? Not much to be happy about in this story.

Charters have Privileges Public Schools are Not Allowed

SB 480 has passed the crossover deadline and will head to the House. If passed there, it will make it illegal for any employee of a local board of education to politic while on the clock. Teachers, principals, teacher's aides will not be able to send home info on bond referendum or any legislation affecting schools.

However, charter schools are free to do so. Charter schools can use school facilities and time to call for support for legislation. And I have seen kids who receive vouchers actually lobbying at the Legislative Building. The following has gone out from Voyager Academy to its parents. Sauce for the goose is no longer sauce for the gander.

NC charter schools: All your dollar$ are ours

Even your bake sales and booster bucks:

Senate Bill 456 would force school districts to share all local tax revenue proportionally by striking the ad valorem exception. Sponsor Sen. Jerry Tillman R-Randolph, said the bill "puts the funding back where the courts say it should be."

However, the bill also strikes the law's exceptions for "sales tax refunds, gifts and grants restricted as to use, and trust funds." That means donations, from school PTA fundraising dollars to booster revenues for bands or sports teams, would all go into the shared pot unless the school district sets up a separate account for those dollars and unless donors specify that their contribution is for that particular account.

I'm sure Conservative band boosters and other alums will somehow perceive this as "the damn government" meddling in school affairs, which later will coalesce into "the damn Democrats" did it, since they can't grasp the idea of their intrepid Republican heroes pulling stunts like this. And if/when they do see something negative about the GOP on the news, the filters kick in to defend them from "that damn Liberal media." SMFH.

GOP siphons more money away from low-income schools

In support of their unwise privatization efforts:

The White House on Friday issued a report that said a House Republican plan to revise the Elementary and Secondary Education Act would reduce North Carolina’s federal Title I money for disadvantaged students by an estimated $17 million in 2016 and $220 million over the next five years.

Currently Title I funds are concentrated in schools with large numbers of poor students. The House bill would allow this grant money to follow each low-income child to the traditional or charter public school of the parent’s choice.

The emergence of this legislation during a time when many new charter schools are failing due to fiscal mismanagement is no coincidence. The people behind the curtain in this movement are well aware their "efficiency" leaves something to be desired, so they've been scheming to find various flows of public monies to tap into. And in case you were wondering, yes, this is an ALEC initiative:

New Mecklenburg County charter school closing after only four weeks

Last Spring, Student First Academy closed after only 8 months of formal operation as a charter school reportedly because of financial mismanagement. Today, one of 11 new charter schools in Mecklenburg County, Concrete Roses STEM Academy, has told parents it is shutting its doors after only four weeks of operation. The Charlotte Observer is reporting the suspected reason is insolvency, however, there is no indication it is due to mishandling of funds.

Concrete Roses STEM was one of 11 charter schools approved by the state a year ago for the 2014-15 school year. At the time of its application, the school’s anticipated enrollment was one of the largest for proposed charters in Mecklenburg, with 2,400 students in grades K-12 expected by its 10th year of operation.

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