Tonight, in a half hour part of their monthly meeting, the Delaware State Board of Education approved seven Delaware charter schools to be renewed.
Design Thinking Academy, First State Military Academy, Freire Charter School, Great Oaks, Kuumba Academy, and Positive Outcomes received five-year renewals.
Newark Charter School received a ten-year renewal. It now shares this distinction with Sussex Academy which won a ten-year renewal from the State Board of Education last year. Even though they applied for it, Charter School of Wilmington did not receive a ten-year renewal from the Red Clay Board of Education last night.
State Board member Audrey Noble recommended greater oversight from the Delaware Department of Education’s Charter School Office for some of the charter schools based on conditions from the Charter School Accountability Committee. Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting said she would direct the Charter School Office to provide that oversight.
The topic of student enrollments came up for a few schools. Two charter schools up for renewal submitted minor modifications for a decrease in enrollment. Those were Freire and Great Oaks. State Board member Vince Lofink asked why this is. The Charter School Office explained it could be for capacity issues or financial viability reasons. However, Great Oaks will supposedly be applying to expand their schools for all high school grades. This will be in the form of a major modification which is due at the Charter School Office by January 2nd, 2019.
During the renewal discussion for Newark Charter School there was a conversation concerning diversity that is worthy of its own blog post which will be coming out shortly.
This was also Leroy Travers first presentation to the State Board of Education as the head of that office. He took the job last month replacing Denise Stouffer who left the office on June 30th earlier this year. He and Charter School Office Associate John Carwell presented the renewals to the State Board of Education.
What I found to be extremely disrespectful was the absence of representation from four of the charter schools. Freire, Great Oaks, Kuumba Academy, and Newark Charter had no one show up to the meeting. Even if the Charter School Accountability Committee recommends renewal and you know it is going to be a slam dunk, you should still show up. I salute Design Thinking Academy, First State Military, and Positive Outcomes for showing up. There is no excuse for the other four. In my eyes that is extremely arrogant. I get it, it’s December, five days before Christmas. It was raining out. But this is one of the biggest moments for charter schools. You show up! Some of these schools have big boards. Are you really trying to tell me NO ONE could represent your school? Sorry, Kendall Massett from the Delaware Charter Schools Network doesn’t count.
State Board President Whitney Sweeney recused herself from the vote for Newark Charter School because the firm she works for issued bonds to NCS. All decisions on the charter renewals were unanimous. State Board member Dr. Terry Whittaker was not present at the meeting.