FOIA Update To Kuumba and their $425,000 Charter Performance Fund Award & How Charters Can Commit Fraud

After I posted my article about Kuumba’s money problems and the rewarding of $425,000 from the Charter School Performance Fund, I started to wonder what they put in their application for that much money.  I couldn’t find anything on the DOE website, so I submitted a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request.  I got my answer emailed to me this morning.  Apparently, all the charter school performance funds are on the DOE website.  How you get to them is a mystery that needs to be solved.  But what is very interesting is the actual web address that was given to me: http://www.doe.k12.de.us/senate148/dcpspfg.shtml

Now what’s interesting is the part that says senate148.  Is this only available to members of the Delaware Senate?  Like I said, I searched everywhere for this link on the DOE website and it was nowhere to be found.  Once again, charter school transparency is very hard to come by in Delaware.  But why senate148?  The 148th General Assembly hasn’t even been fully elected or even assembled.  So who can see this data without submitting a FOIA request?

The actual application from Kuumba has lots of data about achievement gaps and minority and low income status, something that should be of considerable interest given what Kilroy came out with today!

Of particular interest to this special education blogger was Kuumba’s claim in the application that 10% of their student body were special needs with IEPs.  For the 2013-2014 school profiles on the DOE website, Kuumba had 298 students.  10% would be 29 students with IEPs, right.  But no, Kuumba had 5.7% as their special eduction population, or 17 students.  So which is it Kuumba?  Say you gained 12 more IEPs in the next 8 months and you were at 10%.  This means 10% of your students grades didn’t count for DCAS because your special ed population was too low to count in the proficiency ratings.  How very convenient for you when you are applying for a $464,000 grant because you have such great proficiency gaps.  This means that the greatest proficiency gap when it comes to standardized testing, that of students with disabilities, was not a big deal to you cause you knew the scores wouldn’t count anyways.

And that is how charter schools in Delaware are able to make themselves greater than they are.  The DOE knows it, Markell knows it, and now everyone knows it!  Does anyone have any confirmation on what that emergency charter school and DOE meeting was about a couple weeks ago?

Kilroy Has Proof DOE Changed Low Income Data & Then Busts Them When They Try To Change It Back, Filing Complaint With US DOE Office Inspector General @delawareonline @ed_in_de @dwablog @nannyfat @ecpaige @wboc @wdel @TheStateNews @DoverPost @CapeGazette @NYTimes @WSJ @chicagotribune @WashingtonPost @CBS @ABC @nbc @cnnbrk @FoxNews @huffingtonpost @dianeravitch @hanna_hurley #netde #eduDE

Kilroy has finally found definitive proof the Delaware DOE is changing Low-Income data so charter schools can benefit from Title I funding in Wilmington.  All the details can be found here: http://kilroysdelaware.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/delaware-department-of-education-busted-for-falsifying-low-income-data-washingtonpost-huffingtonpost-edude-netde-neatoday-nsbacomm-natlgovsassoc-usedgov-arneduncan-educationoig-destateboar/

The best part is the update at 4:10pm telling the DOE techie to slow down while putting the numbers back the way they were cause they were making it worse.  He then advises the techie the auditors are coming either way!

If the DOE has done this with Title I funding, what about the rest?  How many other times has the DOE fixed reports for funding purposes?  I did find a discrepancy with Academy of Dover’s IDEA-B funding last summer in regards to how many special education students they had compared to what was showing up on the DOE website.

I am more convinced than ever that the Delaware DOE needs a complete sweep and every single thing they have touched since Secretary of Education Mark Murphy came aboard needs to be audited and investigated.  Actually, we can probably go back to when someone first took office in Delaware around January 2009.

This should make the October 9th (Thursday) Delaware Board of Education meeting very interesting!  The meeting starts at 1pm, but I have a feeling you might want to get there a little bit earlier to get a seat.  I’m guessing if this gets big, members of the media will be there as well.

Breaking News: Only 50% of Teachers At Priority Schools Will Keep Their Jobs @delawareonline @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @dwablog @nannyfat @ecpaige #netde #eduDE

Delaware teachers at the priority schools may want to keep their resume updated, because only 50% of the teachers at the priority schools will keep their jobs. This is listed as required under the Turnaround Model.  I found this on the Delaware Department of Education website last night, hidden away in their alcove of endless reports.  There’s probably some more gold in there, but this was very interesting.

Here is a link to the report:

In a report called Elements of Transformation and Turnaround Models, the report gives a detailed synopsis of what happens with a turnaround school.  If you weren’t aware of this, I would ask Secretary of Education Mark Murphy why this wasn’t announced.  The report can be read here:

Replace the principal and grant the principal sufficient operational flexibility (incl. staffing, calendar/time, budgeting)
Use DPAS II or locally-adopted competencies to measure the effectiveness of staff who can work in a turnaround environment
Screen all teachers and rehire no more than 50%
Implement human capital strategies to recruit, develop, evaluate, and retain staff (incl. financial incentives, promotion/growth opportunities)