The Delaware Academy of Public Safety & Security submitted a major modification request to the Delaware Department of Education Charter School Office on December 10th. They want to decrease their enrollment from their charter approved 480 students to 375 students, a reduction of 22%. What makes this very interesting is the fact other charter schools in Delaware have been placed on formal review for not having 80% of their approved enrollment in their charter. DAPSS has not met their approved enrollment figures for the past two years. The DOE looks at formal review status for charters if they fall below 80% of their approved enrollment based on the financial viability of the school.
According to the information submitted by DAPSS to the Charter School Office, their enrollment last year was 363, which put them at 76% of their approved enrollment. This year, the school lost 60 students and currently stand at 303 students. This is less than 64% of their approved enrollment. My biggest question would be why they were not put on formal review last year or this year based on this information. What is the point of having a state law if the Department of Education doesn’t feel like following it? Are we at the point where the Delaware DOE is an independent entity, absolved of any accountability or self-regulation?
For their performance framework, the school was labeled as “Does Not Meet Standard” for their organizational framework three out of the last four academic years, in 11-12, 12-13, and 14-15. For their financial framework, they were labeled as “Falls Far Below Standard” in 11-12, 13-14, and 14-15 and “Does Not Meet Standard” in 12-13. Once again, they have not been placed on formal review for their very negative ratings on the State Board of Education approved Charter School Performance Framework. Are charter schools exempt from accountability based on who runs the show at each charter? I don’t think having charter schools submitting modification requests to make them compliant with the law is the way a Department should run things, in my opinion.
Based on the timeline, the Charter School Accountability Committee meetings start today leading to a State Board of Education decision at their March 17th meeting. The meetings yesterday were canceled due to the inclement weather.
Below is the official major modification application submitted by Delaware Academy of Public Safety & Security as well as their projected budget based on an 80% enrollment.