35 Commerce Way, Suite 1 Dover, DE, 19904 Kent County
This public hearing is held to assist the Department of Education in its decision whether the criteria for remedial action against the Pencader Business and Finance Charter High School have been satisfied; to give the school an opportunity to respond to the final report of the Charter School Accountability Committee; and to give the public the opportunity to comment.
Delaware Technical & Community College, Stanton Location
400 Stanton-Christiana Road Newark, DE, 19713 New Castle County
This additional hearing is held to assist the Department of Education in its decision whether the criteria for remedial action against the Pencader Business and Finance Charter High School have been satisfied; to give the school an opportunity to respond to the final report of the Charter School Accountability Committee; and to give the public the opportunity to comment.
With Pencader being located in New Castle Delaware what are the odds of a higher turnout at the 2/11 meeting in Dover than the one on 2/13 at DelTech in Stanton? More importantly,this meeting is the final charter school review meeting but why are their two meetings?
On January 10, 2007, Pencader was placed on Formal Review for missed deadlines related to charter conditions, late or incomplete responses to requests for information made by the Department of Education (DOE), parent complaints about school climate, school operations, and management concerns. On May 17, 2007, Pencader was placed on Probation.
On July 20, 2007, Pencader was further placed on Formal Review for its failure to fully meet the conditions of its charter with respect to a prior charter modification request and its probationary status.
On January 14, 2010, the Secretary, with the consent of the State Board, decided to approve Pencader’s charter renewal subject to specific conditions.
During the 2009-10 school year, the Pencader Board had to secure a loan to close a financial shortfall.
During the 2010-11 school year, the Charter School Office found potential issues with the school’s building-level financial oversight procedures and discovered a financial shortfall in excess of $600,000 for the operating year.
On February 10, 2011, DOE staff met with Pencader representatives to reinforce the concerns and discuss the Formal Review process. Subsequently, the Pencader Board replaced its Board President and school leader to the address Board governance and administrative issues.
On April 21, 2011, the school’s charter was again placed on Formal Review. The Board had made budget reductions to reduce a budget shortfall; however, the root causes required further investigation.
On June 10, 2011, the Charter School Accountability Committee convened for the Final Meeting of the Formal Review and recommended revocation of the charter.
On August 18, 2011, the Secretary of Education decided that the school should remain open and be placed on probation subject to specific conditions.
During the 2011-12 school year, Pencader made significant progress against the conditions of its probation with support from DOE. The probationary conditions required school finance and Citizen Budget Oversight Committee training for new Board members (provided by DOE). In addition, Pencader was required to submit monthly financial reports and attend monthly monitoring meetings with DOE to discuss the school’s finances and administrative issues. However, a new pattern of Board and administrative dysfunction began to undermine the school’s progress which led to a significant decrease in student enrollment and staff reductions.
On September 25, 2012, Pencader’s charter was placed on Formal Review (while on probation) to determine if the school was violating the terms of its charter due to new concerns with Board governance and administration; student performance, serving students with special needs; and economic viability
October 17, 2012 for the Initial Meeting with Pencader representatives
November 26, 2012 for the Preliminary Meeting to review the relevant statutory criteria and make a preliminary recommendation to determine if the school was violating the terms of its charter.
January 4, 2013 for the Final Meeting to make a recommendation about the status of the school’s charter
The Committee concluded that Criterion One remains not met
The Committee concluded that Criterion Three remains not met.
The Committee concluded that Criterion Six remains not met.
The Committee concluded that Criterion Eight is met with a condition.
The Committee concluded that that Criterion Nine is not met.
So it will all come down to a save our school pep rally!
Folks remember the fight is not about Pencader but about transparency and political agendas allowing all public schools to operate without penalty of law when they deviate. The Delaware Department of Education is long overdue in purging those lacking capacity and skills to be effective.
Many of us used the same tactics to help save Pencader last time. So again more power to them. The lack of resolve on DE DOE and their inability to provide the required “technical assistance” which is part of DE DOE’s charge again shows deep lack of capacity. Can DE DOE answer the question as to. is Pencader a legal non-profit under the law re: IRS? Where are the IRS 990 forms? Where is the Pencader board approved Fy2013 budget? Why is DE DOE holding that from public view? Where is the required FY2013 ending year audit?
As far as Secretary of Education Mark Murphy, this will be a test of his strengths and weaknesses in leadership. Sadly it appears he has no real authority or empowerment to operate beyond Markell directives. If Pencader stays open or closes we’ve seen enough concern with DE DOE to question. So Pencader staying open would be a great day for the charter school reformers but a questionable day for the overall condition of Delaware’s public school system.
The state is reviewing the existing charter law for possible revisions. This might be a good time to think about the missing link in the charter school reform movement, i.e., the sharing of the lessons learned, both good and bad, with the traditional public schools for possible implementation. After all, the purpose of Delaware’s charter schools was to improve public education for all Delaware students and not to create a parallel public school system. Such a system could be divisive and foster an adversarial as opposed to a collaborative spirit. Currently no sharing mechanism exists.
Ron, I think the parallel public school system was meant to compliment the de facto segregation system. However, I get your point.
Charter schools were to be freed up to explore alternative paths to educational success.
It said charter schools would be “free of most state and school district rules and regulations” and that “reliance on bureaucratic decisions would be a thing of the past.” Emphasis would be more on a school’s performance and less on its compliance with regulations that might need altering or elimination.
So you are saying public schools can be more successful if they weren’t held hostage to a bureaucratic system? Rather than reform traditional public school lets build a parallel public school system called charters free of bureaucratic control. Ron there is a thin line between traditional public schools and “their” magnet schools. However, at least with magnet schools there is a better sense of local control involving parents and the community. As for charter and bureaucratic control, all one has to do is look at Pencader Charter School for Business and Fiance. The failures at Pencader are due to egotistic school leaders and board members. They feel their corporate status give them immunity from well defined state laws. They refuse to produce a board approved FY 2013 budget! They refuse to post their IRS 990 forms. There has been enough leadership failure and financial concerns to warrant an audit by the Delaware State Auditor yet politically well connected charter school reformers shield Pencader. Those reformist’s failure to support the closure of Pencader will be the catalyst for major changes in the charter school law that will further tie the hands of other charter schools and question the need for more charter schools. Ron surely you must agree to financial transparent and a level of governance the resembles some sense of integrity?
Dr. Gary Miron, Chief of Staff at the Western Michigan University Evaluation Center, was hired by the DOE in 2004 to conduct a three-year study of Delaware’s charter schools. He said, “Charter schools weren’t meant to duplicate the traditional public schools. They were going to be a lever for change.” That change was to be implemented in the traditional schools. Without substantial change, we would continue doing things the same way and expecting different results.
Ron, all traditional public schools can’t apply specific interest to admissions. And guess what? Site-based management won’t work in a traditional school district because centralize district administrators would be threatened. Can traditional schools hold students and parents to behavior and academic contracts to maintain their seat in the school? Well, yes! All inter and out of district Choice students must follow the rules of engagement behaviorally and academically or out they go! However, though the districts have this power they are reluctant to use it in fear of civil rights violations. There will never be apples to apples when it comes to charter schools and the bullshit, give us capital funding (charter schools) so we can be equal. That’s like a crack whore asking for one more fix and they she’ll go straight. Transparency laws need to changed and followed before addressing capital funding issued for charters.
Albert Einstein had a term to describe that situation – insanity. Charter schools were intended to share experiences with their traditional partners and to assist in their empowerment to find unique solutions to needs in their own schools.
Ron, when you have republican and democratic forces pulling the strings of public education reform there will never be solutions. When you have state governments allowing greater federal intrusion via a federal “grant” you’ve compounded problems and further alienated local control for both charters and traditional public schools. The financial pressures being placed on charter and traditional public schools is coming from the demands of compliance with a wrongheaded reform plan called Race to The Top.
About 30 years ago, I was a member of an organization that could serve as a model for sharing. That model was the Delaware Association of Independent Schools. At the time, DAIS represented about 75 percent of all students attending nonpublic schools in Delaware.
Ron there was a common denominator that wasn’t threatening called nonpublic schools. With charter and traditional public schools the divide is driven by politics and controlled by Wall Street. The Delaware charter school queen does the Rodney King shit, “can we all get along” but carries a political dagger behind her back ready to plunge in the backs of those who don’t share her views. Chuck let her on the charter seal team hoping she could use her charming hospitality skills to manipulate non-charter believers. She defends failed leadership at Pencader charter schools and doesn’t public demand they be compliant with laws governing public and charter schools.
These apparent competitors engaged in collaborative exchanges, because they shared a belief that every nonpublic school would benefit if nonpublic schools in general maintained high standards and were successful.
Ron, the nonpublic schools joining forces was beneficial to attracting more students and there was no threat to each others enrollment because the common recruiting target was public school students. Also for the Catholic schools they were one controlled by the Catholic church. Take a looks at the charter school organizations! They benefit each other by creating a political alliance.
Why not create a similar organization with charters and traditional schools in Delaware? A Roundtable of Equals for the benefit of all.
Ron that would be like asking you to keep your office organized :). We have a roundtable in Delaware that is non bias and supports both charters and traditional public schools called Rodel! The problem with them is political influences that push their agendas causing more divide and disruption to public education. They have all the answers but are cowards when it comes to creating a charter school honoring their founders. God forbid if they did that and failed! Look at the Rodel cluster-fuck clones hired by Jack Markell to fill some DE DOE postions. Markell and Coach Murphy refuses to address the obvious in failed capacity issues because they might offend Rodel. Markell’s education vision plan was stuffed in his back pocket with political $$$ contributions by the Rodel clan reaching all the way to Arizona.
A successful sharing program would have interesting results. As the traditional public schools incorporate the lessons learned from the charter schools, the concerns of the local communities will be addressed, satisfaction with local schools will improve, and the demand for additional charter schools will decline. The bar for establishing new charter schools will be raised
Ron, let’s use CSW for an example. They select the highest performing students possible, students they had no hand in producing. Red Clay’s traditional K-8 schools help produce and prepared CSW freshman for the rigors of CSW. CSW is not building on that success they are continuing that success. If we were to send CSW teachers to Dickinson the truth about their skills would be revealed and most wouldn’t do any better than teachers they replaced. Ron, if charters were so superior way are so many failing and need Race to The Top intervention? There is no need for charter schools and need for expanding magnet schools and providing choice school transportation for inter district students. But most importantly, it’s time to strengthen laws holding parents more accountable in the “engagement” of their children’s education.