Pencader CBOC has a heartbeat! Is CPR working?

PENCADER BUSINESS AND FINANCE CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL CITIZENS BUDGET OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES – Draft to Be Approved January 23, 2013 

Link to minutes 

Better late than never might not apply in this case however, the new Citizen Budget Committee is getting their feet on the ground.

There was a short discussion, slightly emotional, about the urgency of posting the minutes for this committee on the website. The committee has faithfully met monthly and the minutes being posted on the website is critical documentation cited as an issue by DE DOE. Jenny and Laura will work with Alan to produce minutes from past meetings that were not documented.

Yes we need uniformity and timely information.

In total, actual revenues less expenses versus budget is tracking at 56% for the year. It is important to note that some one-time expenses paid early in the year negatively impact this tracking. Examples include expenditures for new carpeting, textbooks, repayment of the loan and legal fees. Overall, 56% is slightly higher than desired.

Well here is the big question of the day, how can the CBOC provide actuate tracking of the budget when the board hasn’t approved an FY2013 budget? If they did where is it? I see noting in this CBOC meeting minutes or previous meeting minutes questioning why there isn’t an approved fy2013 budget! Also, I don’t see any reference to the required yearly audit!  

Revenues: Incoming funds from State Funding (05213) is experiencing systemic problems which has been confirmed by DOE. Bill and Steve will be meeting with them on Jan. 31 st and will discuss. This is related to the normal three-month delay in activating health insurance for new staff members. Also, another revenue issue is related to the funds being withheld for 17 student walkers within the 2 mile radius who are considered not qualified for bus transportation; this issue was discussed briefly during our prior meeting.

Maybe we should call for a review of DE DOE! WTF, students walking two miles each way to school? The state / county must be spending a fortune in crossing guards! Those roads near Pencader are dangerous! Stop OMG, you mean to tell me you have young ladies walking in the dark? Damn almost forgot, Markell cut school transportation $$ to the school districts and charters! 

Expenditures: Reviewed and discussed key items. Most disturbing is the actual Legal Fees paid for services, which is almost double last year’s EOY amount. Steve will approach them for some consideration, perhaps pro-bono work. Other line items were slightly miscoded but provide little impact overall because the expenditures were included in the budget. Advanced Student did not submit their bill for December. The best news is that the $160K loan has been repaid in full.

Pencader should ask for  a refund on some of those legal fees because obvious the legal eagles put a communication blackout when in fact Pencader Franls should have started communicating from day one! Come on Steve, PRO-BONO :) I know what kind of Bono lawyers like to give! Just never bend-over to tie your shoes with one in the room. Wait doesn’t the Delaware Charter Schools Network have lawyers on board that could come to the aid of Pencader! Everybody is a non-profit claiming they are volunteers serving the community! Yet they want to get paid for helping a charter schools survive! Good job on getting that loan repaid!   

As reported previously, the Rent Expense for the buildings was reduced by $27K per month from $90K. The deferral of May and June, 2013 payments by our generous landlord has not been documented

Deferring two moths rent is like an interest free loan and still is obligated but hey why not!  Why wasn’t this documented? 

What no questions on the status of the IRS 990 forms that were filed in December? What about the IRS fines for previous years where forms weren’t filed? Wasn’t it like a fine of $70.00 a day?

However, I am very pleased to see minutes up to date and don’t feel too bad because there are other charter schools non compliant. 

Mr. Osnicky and Mr. Santiago were welcomed as new parent members of the CBOC; Mr. Hector Hernandez will also be joining this committee as a parent representative.

OK Pencader has some parents on board! Parents, please understand how important your job is and PLEASE push for keeping the $$$ cards on the table. Do request to review invoices and contracts! Go to the public meeting tomorrow and introduce yourselves to the DE DOE review committee and tell them you will keep an eye on fiances and will push for full timely transparency. 

Kilroy’s Delaware is doing something crazy! Come see!

This what the DE DOE Charter School Accountability Review Committee has determined

Criterion 1: Governance & Administration – NOT MET
Criterion 3: Mission, Goals, Educational Objectives – NOT MET
Criterion 6: Educational Program and Student Performance – NOT MET
Criterion 7: Serving Students with Special Needs – MET
Criterion 8: Economic Viability – MET WITH A CONDITION
Criterion 9: Administrative and Financial Operations – NOT MET

Attached is the Delaware Department of Education’s Charter School Accountability Committee’s January 11. 2013 Final Report

Last night’s public meeting and tomorrow night’s meeting is mainly for public comment, not to see what Pencader’s administration has done to meet the concerning conditions not met! Obviously the Pencader administration replied to the committee review notice and Pencader’s actions didn’t please the committee whereas the committee voted to revoke Pencader’s charter. But in the defense of Frank and the new board members this mess was dropped in their laps by the fractures caused by the former school leader and the former board internal riffs calling for her resignation sooner. There was a power struggle with some board members in alliance with the former leader and some not. So now we have the fallout to deal with.

Mr. Quimby said this about last night’s meeting, “Their hard work paid off tonight and with 48 more hours to fan the flames, we will fill the rooms at Del Tech, too”. I am assuming he means putting heat on DE DOE, Secretary of Education, the state board and Governor Markell to put aside all the concerns not met and keep the school open based on student and parents cries to do so! Also, it looks like Red Clay’s Charter School of Wilmington is adding their persuasive weight. I’ve had a few conversation with some folks today and all are asking why did Charter School of Wilmington board of directors support this CSW mission to save Pencader? CSW board doesn’t need Red Clay’s blessing to do this but one would think Red Clay board members are scratching their heads and asking the same question.

My guess and hopes are the Delaware Secretary of Education will focus on the conditions not met and how public comment will provide information that Pencader is meeting those condtions. The charter school review committee applied the new framework when reviewing Pencader and did allow Pencader to opportunity to respond.  The committee is calling for closure. So will the Delaware Secretary of Education request the State Board of Education to vote on allowing Pencader to continue on probation? I assume the Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murhpy was present last night and will be present tomorrow night! After all it is he who has the decision ball and it is he who will make the yea or nay recommendation to the state board. The review committee isn’t going to re-vote on their decision made. If the secretary of education isn’t attending these meeting how will he feel the raw emotions of Pencader students and their  supporters? Don’t you feel the secretary of education should be on hand and look those kids in the eye?

Please E-mail the Delaware Secretary of Education and ask him to attend tomorrow night public meeting and ask him is there at least hope? If we’re going to give students a sense of voice don’t you think the decision-makers should be on hand to hear them?

Pencader fans the flames to victory with Charter School of Wilmington’s help

Date:

Tue, 12 Feb 2013 03:42:23 +0000

From:

Steven Quimby <steve.quimby@pcs.k12.de.us>

Dear All, 

Many thanks to everyone who took time out of their busy schedule to attend tonight’s public hearing in Dover.  The room was filled with Pencader supporters from all different constituencies.  Each speaker eloquently chronicled their ties to the school and their reasons for wanting the school to remain open.  The remarks were passionate, clearly articulated, and framed in a respectful tone.  I was especially proud of the students who summoned the courage to speak in front of the large audience and their poise under pressure was gratifying to watch and a glowing tribute to the school.

In addition, representatives from the Charter School of Wilmington, Providence Creek, and the DE Charter School Network publicly gave the school their support.  Board members discussed how much they have learned about the teachers and students in the short time they have gotten to know them.  In short, I left feeling we had delivered a powerful, moving opening act.

Now, it is time for the second act.  I hope that we see even more people at the Wednesday evening hearing at Del Tech. The Monday speakers have set the bar high, but we have countless more “stories” that will make their way into the record on Wednesday. Thanks to all of the parents who helped spread the word about the two meetings.  Their hard work paid off tonight and with 48 more hours to fan the flames, we will fill the rooms at Del Tech, too.

See everyone on Wednesday!

Steve

They say all is fair in love ad war and if Pencader can pull-of a hat trick more power to them. At the end of the day power belongs to the people!

Attached is the Delaware Department of Education’s Charter School Accountability Committee’s January 11. 2013 Final Report that states, “The Charter School Accountability Committee recommended that the charter for Pencader Business and Finance Charter High School be revoked”. 

Criterion 1: Governance & Administration – NOT MET
Criterion 3: Mission, Goals, Educational Objectives – NOT MET
Criterion 6: Educational Program and Student Performance – NOT MET
Criterion 7: Serving Students with Special Needs – MET
Criterion 8: Economic Viability – MET WITH A CONDITION
Criterion 9: Administrative and Financial Operations – NOT MET

The committee’s vote to revoke Pencader’s charter is a “recommendation” and is not the final say. The public meeting is to give the general public, parent and students of the charter school, advocates for and against charter schools and anyone with an opinion to weigh in. From there the Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy weighs all the committee reports, the committee’s recommendation and the public input to formulate his final recommendation the Delaware State Board of Education who has holds the vote to allow Pencader to stay open or vote to close. That vote will come February 21, 2013.

Being a Delaware native I can tell you public opinion carriers a lot weigh and in Pencader’s case the support of Delaware’s most successful charter school, Charter School of Wilmington and the Delaware Charter Schools Network whose governing board has some power-hitters will help save the day for Pencader. 

Kilroy tries to weigh the meter of closure or not as the events unfold. Up until now it appeared Pencader would closed and I put 90% rating on that. I knew the Delaware Charter Schools Network would come out in support of Pencader but was a bit surprised Pencader reported Charter School of Wilmington got involved. This is a game changer when you have the most successful charter school reaching in the quicksand to save the most unsuccessful (governance) charter school. But do make note, the current Pencader board isn’t at fault for what led Pencader to be put on review. Pencader never met the conditions set by the last review. If the current board is guilty of anything it would be not advancing transparency and approving a FY2013  final budget based on September 30, 2012 student count among other transparency requirements.

All and all, Delaware is at a crossroad with the charter school approval and oversight process. DE DOE claims to have set a framework that guides decision making but at the end of the day public opinion can override any framework, Is this process fair and just? Well, I do remember in 2011 many of us used public voice to save Pencader from closure. Some blame us for allowing Pencader to continue the cycle of failure to get us right back here, on the verge of closure. Kilroy was hero back them but now “Killjoy” aka coded threat not to show his face at the public meetings is the enemy.

Pencader may have structural problems however, the Delaware Department of Education has not proven to be a partner in the way of providing technical assistance. DE DOE pointed out areas of concern using their framework technique but failed to offer technical assistance in resolving those issues. As far as the financial concerns DE DOE failed to send in the FRT as required by law. Though it would have perceived to be punitive the fact remains the FRT would have up-righted Pencader financial governance and could have offer a loan as they did with Christina and Red Clay school district whom both failed financial at the hands of failed leadership. If the state board votes closure Pencader can use this in an appeal.

There is this argument that traditional public schools are too big to fail and charter schools should not be offered assistance and be allowed to fail. DE DOE has proven a state takeover of a charter school is not a good option. DE DOE managment of Moyer during that state takeover was a complete failure and couldn’t survive a charter school review using the same framework used on Pencader. However, Moyer is out of state hands and under an new charter group and is making some forward progress. Hopefully we’ll see better transparency. Like with Pencader if Pencader survives closure, parents need to push transparency. We shouldn’t have to pour kool-aid and hold seminars to educate parents as to what’s going on! They should know! 

If Pencader can pull off another successful charge up the hill I’ll put Pencader staying open at 75%. But I must say, parents need to step-up and end this cycle that keeps putting Pencader on review. They need to demand transparency and a voice at the table to ensure the flow of information required by law is reaching them. A school of business and finance should have never be on review for such structural failure.

Please remember don’t comment here bashing each other with personal attacks as they will be deleted. Also, some of you commenting are getting caught in a spam filter because you are using unacceptable words or trying to out others commenting. I am getting tired of looking through spam and releasing those who can comprehend the little grounds rules in place.  I am not sure where the News Journal is during these review meetings but whatever I get I’ll share. Tomorrow Wednesday February 13, 2013 is the last of the final public meetings and February 21, 2013 the state board will vote on closure or not. So after that, we can end this Pencader saga and move on, either way.

I will continue my fight for transparency and make suggestion to state legislators to enhance transparency that can help reduce wasted time and productivity on DE DOE’s part.            

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