Summary of request – Prestige Academy has applied for a modification to change its grade configuration (eliminate grade 5 and serve grades 6-8), change the number of approved students, and the number of instructional days in the school calendar. The school stated that the request is one part of a broader strategy and series of school-wide actions to improve student performance.
Student enrollment – The school responded that it currently has 34 student applications for next year. The school indicated that it is recruiting by sharing information about positive things happening at the school, including the new STEM pathways, student supports. The school indicated that they just sent out a large mailing and continue to receive calls from prospective parents interested in visiting the school.
Conclusion: Mr. Blowman asked if there were any additional questions about any section of the application. None were noted. A motion was made and seconded that the Major Modification Application be recommended for approval. All six voting CSAC members voted “yes” in favor of a recommendation for approval.
A summary of the request – Delaware Design-Lab High School (“Design-Lab”) has applied for a modification to decrease the school’s authorized enrolment by more than 15%. In school year 2016-17, the authorized enrollment would decrease from 475 to 350 students (26%). The school explained that the Delaware market presented unique recruitment challenges than other Design-Lab locations. Additionally, the board determined that a lower enrollment would have a significant positive impact on the school’s culture and learning environment.
Conclusion Mr. Blowman asked if there were any additional questions about any section of the application. None were noted. A motion was made and seconded that the Major Modification Application be recommended for approval. All five voting CSAC members voted “yes” in favor of a recommendation for approval.
A summary of the request – Through its major modification application, the school seeks to reduce its authorized enrollment target by 22% from 480 to 375 students over five years, beginning with a 2016-17 target of 330 students. This year’s enrollment currently stands at 303 and the school is having its strongest financial year. The modification request is doable from a financial and staffing standpoint, and is a cultural “must.” The school has initiated a strategic plan and has changed its policies and procedures. Finally, the school has reviewed data and has determined that the requested enrollment is a more practical reality based upon the school’s location.
The CSAC Initial Report was issued on January 29, 2016 and did not identify any areas of concern with the application.The applicant did not submit a response to the CSAC Initial Report.
Conclusion: Mr. Blowman asked if there were any additional questions about any section of the application. None were noted. A motion was made and seconded that the Major Modification Application be recommended for approval. All five voting CSAC members voted “yes” in favor of a recommendation for approval.
With such a demand for charter schools you think these charter school wouldn’t be struggling to provide services.
Historically when charter school request major modification to reduce enrollment there tends to be underlying financial structural weaknesses.
Delaware state legislators turn a bind-eye to the fact charter schools don’t submit to the public a preliminary budget and a final budget annual as traditional public school districts do. And forget about a financial positioning reports! What you see is monthly report that tend to end the year with carryover amount but in actuality there unpaid vendor invoices could carried over into the next fiscal year.
FACTORS EXPECTED TO HAVE AN EFFECT ON FUTURE OPERATIONS The School funding is dependent upon student enrollment. Any decrease in student enrollment can significantly decrease funding. In May 2015, The School came under formal review by Department of Education due its declining enrollment. The School provided a plan to increase enrollment and a budget to show that the school was economically viable at its current enrollment number of 213 students. DOE will continue to monitor The School’s progress over fiscal year 2016. In the event the school is unable to increase enrollment to the School’s chartered enrollment, the School could be subject to revocation of its charter. Enrollment has increased significantly since the School came under formal review and it is Managements belief that enrollment will meet the required number during fiscal year 2016. Management reviews monthly the actual performance against budget to timely respond to any significant variances. In addition, resources will need to be acquired to support program expenses not adequately funded at the federal and state level. In anticipation of these events, the School is taking steps to increase the percentage of funding from nongovernmental resources
This reinforces my opinion decrease enrollment causes unfavorable financial pressure.
Currently Prestige has 224 student (grades 5-8 with 34 student in grade 5. Make note, last year grade 5 enrollment was 44 student, 10 more. Also last year there were 79 students in grade 7 whereas this year only 48, 31 less 7th graders. However, I have a suspicion there is a data error in DE DOE’s report. But nevertheless, there out reports raises financial concern in regards to student enrollments. With that being said, look at the numbers, the elimination of grade 5 will cause enrollment to fall below the 200 student enrollment threshold and raise another flag in regards to financial viability. Come on Hef, go read the numbers yourself!
In my opinion, the state board of education lacks the critical thinking capacity to digest the call for reduction in enrollment isn’t about maximizes the quality of education but more red flags to underlying financial concerns.
So the DOE Charter School Accountability Committee gives thumbs up on these major charter school modification and odds are the state board will rubberstamp them.