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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19 Responses

  1. The cycle does need to change. I believe there are positive steps being taken to do so. As far as transparency, that is being worked on. Send me your email kilroy and i will give you more info. I do know bylaws have been changed and the hiring, firing and spending decisions will be in the hands of the entire school board as opposed to one person. That is a major step forward to checks and balances. I also discovered that DOE was asked for help and it was not forthcoming in a viable manner.

    • E-mail is kilroywashere@comcast.net

      I am old school where uniformity is important and many charter schools lack uniformity in reporting to the public and parents via their webpage. DE DOE is on Pencader to post their IRS 990 forms for “current and previous year” as the law requires of all charter schools. But go look at other charter schools and try to find them. I am sure Pencader Frank needs to save the ship and then bail out the remaining water. The last school leader did everything to control the board and this board is controlling the school leader. But there does need to be a sense of balance re: real partnership. Charter schools cannot be personal businesses for school leaders and a place to give family members jobs. Conflict of interest in Delaware is always associated with money. However, moral conflict of interest is more damaging. Hopefully Pencader never goes back to that.

      DE DOE sits by and does nothing to confront charter schools in the area of lacking required and timely transparency via their webpages and sadly we’ll push for legislation to put more pressure on DE DOE to do their jobs.

      The DE DOE charter school unit lacks capacity to be effective in “technical assistance”. That technical assistance should come from the DE DOE charter school cop but rather a focus on education irrelevant to the school being traditional or charter

  2. Maybe I’m wrong but I think you are reading too much into the ‘killjoy’ comment. “One who spoils the enthusiasm or fun of others. killjoy”- I think that’s all they meant. I think you should go to the meeting. please please. I think you know what you’re talking about, people listen to you or this blog wouldn’t be what it is.
    If what you wrote above happens- “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” , if somehow they can help get them on track, it can be such a great school. I will have no stake in it next year, I just really believe they have great potential.
    And, what anon2 says, I hope it is all true.
    Kilroy, someone hacked into my email, so this is me, Pencadermom, but with a new email, I won’t be using the other one anymore. I’m not a sockpuppet, or troll, or whatever, hope I don’t go to your spam filter :)

    • ” hope I don’t go to your spam filter”

      you did :) must of been change in E-mail

      Pencader teachers should get a Silver Star for perseverance under fire and teachers and quality of education hasn’t been an issue here. But those who suggest just leave Pencader alone as is because students are learning need to wake up. Improvement is needed read pages 8 and down https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/Meetings/Attachment.aspx?S=190001&AID=4758&MID=284

      ” I think you know what you’re talking about, people listen to you or this blog wouldn’t be what it is”

      People just need to open their minds and understand the importance of transparency from an informative perspective. I was a School level PTA President and on the DSPAC and many other committees. Red Clay records their board meeting because of my persistence! The State Board of Education records their meetings because of my persistent. Red Clay had a Community Financial Review Committee long before the state law required one because of my persistence. Parents can be informed if the information isn’t being presented. Before Markell made executive order putting the state checkbook registry online it was Rep Levelle, Sen Copeland, Dave Burris and me beating the war drums. Markell didn’t do it because it was right! It was because he was pressured! HB119 come in and made it law.

      Schools belong to the public as does all the information on how they are run. Pencader’s failure are in part due to parents not seeing the lack of transparency required by law, They need to step up (please listen Frank) and insist their “parent” board representative be elected by them and that representative has a responsibility to ensure meaningful information and what’s required by law is put on the webpage. The board tells parents here is what we need to do to save Pencader but have they provided a board approved FY2013 budget or a detailed financial position statement? DE DOE knows the truth about the school’s finance and for some reason the State Auditor failed to respond to concerns. If the state board vote to keep Pencader open they’ll have to produce that budget and people may be shocked! But hopefully and I am sure Frank can roundup some corporate sponsors and maybe that love parents have for Pencader could result in donations from parents. However, the concern with IRS nonprofit status might prevent corporate donations! If Pencader did in fact and lose their non-profit status they are considered a for profit school and any carryover to next year would be taxable income.

      Markell may buckle and pass the word to give Pencader one more chance but there is much damage that needs to be undone. Honestly it would be sad to see the student lose their school but what’s real sad is adults screwed it up! Now kids are asked to bail out adults,

      As for Charter School of Wilmington’s involvement is there something going on in the background parents are unaware of. CSW support of Pencader seems as if they are putting the asses in the face of DE DOE review! CSW is protected from that process because they are chartered by Red Clay! Now I am force to go to Red Clay’s board the CSW oversight authority and find out who on their board is in on this love affair. But it sounds like the charter organization is acting like a union protect others as if no one can do wrong! It’s just strange CSW “representatives” involve themselves. .

  3. Also, Kilroy, as far as the conditions coming out of the 2011 Formal Review, we were in compliance with those and meeting them on each deadline. That set of conditions expires in June, 2013 with the final one which states that the school will be debt free as of June 30, 2013.

    • What is interesting is that you and the former administration had things going on the right track. What is sad that the truth about Judi Kenney and all the rest will not come out until it is too late. The school was on the right track, no one had to be let go, rent did not have to be reduced. As Ms. Minn. stated in previous posts, teacher salaries were brought up to speed, and the graft and corruption that went on before when Catz and his cronies were still lthere never came to the forefront. Transparency was there, no one looked…Ms. Minn and the SL were all about that..audits, bank accounts, everything was available for anyone to see at any time.

      It is time to stop giving chances to those places that don’t follow the rules. For heaven’s sake, no financials have been posted and NOW the CBOC committee comes to life? When yuo and the other SL were there, every budget for every month was posted on time and vendors were calling saying that it was the first time since the school had opened that they were no only getting paid on time, but regulary!

      Support those schools that make good decisions, not those that make ridiculous ones. Their layoffs in September were just downright stupid. They send away a teacher with a masters to keep one that doesn’t even have a college degree.

      And one more thing. Has anyone checked into the fact that Frank Hagan is a retired HS Administrator from DE? Are they getting him for under the cap because he is also with Wilmingon College. Crying foul pensions has to work with everyone, not just the people you choose out of a hat.

    • Jack, come on now we don’t need to do a witch hunt on Hagan. I doubt Pencader Frank is going to allow another pension scandal.

  4. We are talking about this school, right? Just checkin’.

    “Despite state investment the school has had difficulty working with its annual budget, leading to it having been at risk of closure in 2011, 2012 and again in 2013.. In October, 2011, the school fired three teachers who had been reported by the state for being paid a state pension at the same time that they were getting teaching salaries. They immediately rehired the fired teachers as independent contractors, a fact which came to light when one of the teachers was recorded calling a student a “bitch”. That teacher, Bob Lewis (husband of school head Ann Lewis) was found to be being paid $6,500 a month for teaching a single class on morals and ethics…..

    We are thinking of giving away our port for what it costs to fund a Charter School that teaches “morals and ethics”…”

    • you do know that Ann Lewis and Bob Lewis are no longer there, right?

    • Kavips we’re past that chapter! Also, he said the student was acting like a spoiled bitch! May be one in the same to some but he was commenting on her behavior and didn’t outright call her a bitch! But your “We are talking about this school, right?” emphasizes have Pencader is stigmatized by event after event and each event impacts enrollment.It may be Pencader has become too toxic to overcome the past.

    • Thanks… Would it be too much to ask to place one of your links here below that covers all that has happened recently?

      If I didn’t know, there must be others?

    • kilroy, I understand there was a specific allegation that he said acting like a spoiled bitch on camera and called her a bitch, directly, off camera.

    • “kilroy, I understand there was a specific allegation that he said acting like a spoiled bitch on camera and called her a bitch, directly, off camera”

      didn’t know about the off camera thing! But could you be bit mixed up and perhaps that’s what he might of call the board president after being terminated?

      However, it was the bitch thing that sent the snowball rolling down the hill! .

  5. That was all done under the previous school leaders watch. There has been huge turnover in the school board in the past (from 2006 to present) and the bylaws gave the school leader ultimate power to make all hiring, firing, and financial decisions. That is no longer the case. The entire school board will have to discuss and vote on everything. Needless to say they are not dealing with a lot of that at the moment but will need to if allowed to stay open.

  6. exactly right, Anon 2.

  7. I;m confused because It seem like only a month someone posted a video of the firing where everyone sitting in the upstairs South East room raised their hand in support of the firing….. Who was that, and was that within a months time?

  8. Kavips, the now-dispatched school leader was terminated in September. That meeting occurred in the school cafeteria. Previous meetings were held in the upstairs board room. There were recordings of multiple meetings that are archived at: http://transparentchristina.wordpress.com/ Look in the banner beneath the blog header. I believe you will find clarity there.

    • Thanks Elizabeth. That is what I saw. I can’t believe it was so long ago, wow, back in September.? Where did fall go? :)

  9. Jack,

    Your facts are laughable, spelling awful and knowledge non existant.
    Look at the numerous lawsuits the 2nd team incurred after the founder’s left.
    You are on a good day are clueless.
    Who feed’s you this garbage…Ann Lewis?

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