The 2015 Charter School Performance Award Winners: Who Won Big, Who Won Some, & Who Got The Shaft

Has the Delaware DOE announced the winners for the Charter School Performance Award by default, on their very own website? In the section on their website for applicants of the Charter School Performance Award, their is a clear list of how much each school received from their application and what they can do with the funds.  Since the state budget only allotted $1 million as opposed to the $1.5 originally requested, this list could have been more extensive.  They did say they would announce the winners today!  Each school listed provides the link to my articles on each school’s application as well as my take and opinion about what they asked for.

Las Americas ASPIRA Academy: $250,000, requested $250,000, no restrictions on special education inclusion model

Newark Charter School: $250,000, requested $400,000, can only use for STEM Laboratory

Campus Community School: $50,000, requested $250,000, can only use for school library project

The Delaware MET: $175,000, requested $250,000, can only use for school start-up costs, not for marketing or promotion or student recruitment

Delaware STEM Academy: $175,000, requested $250,000, same as above

First State Military Academy: $50,000, requested $250,000, same as above

Mapleton Charter School at Whitehall: $50,000, requested $250,000, same as above

Applicants that were eligible but didn’t receive any funds: Early College High School and Great Oaks Charter School (both requested $250,000)

The only applicant that wasn’t eligible at all was Odyssey Charter School due to their probation status during the 2014-2015 academic year.

To read the full list on the DOE Website, go here:

http://www.doe.k12.de.us/Page/2266

Odyssey Charter School Applies For Performance Fund $$$ They Don’t Even Qualify For!!!!

Last, but not least (well, it is in terms of the odds of them getting a penny from the Charter School Performance Fund), is Odyssey Charter School.  They don’t qualify for this because they were on probation during this fiscal year.  But that doesn’t stop them from applying anyway!  So let’s see what they wanted to get with this phantom money:

And we can’t forget the phantom budget!

So let me get this straight, they have a $500,000 shortfall in their capital budget for this building, they are already overbudget by $700,000 in their regular expenses (see last week’s Odyssey article), and whoever wrote this application doesn’t seem to be aware DCAS is no longer the state standardized assessment.  One word: INTERVENTION!

Newark Charter School Performance Fund Application

This one is VERY interesting!  The top prize allocated to any recipient of this performance award is $250,000, but Newark Charter School is asking for $400,000 to support the construction of their STEM labs and Fine Performing Arts Center.  Which is good, you can use this fund for capital costs.  And they are already getting funds from The Longwood Foundation for this:

The Longwood Foundation has agreed to assist the school in the renovations to the JR/SR High School for STEM and Fine & Performing Arts.

It’s not every school that gets Theire DuPont to come check you out!

Source: http://ncs.charter.k12.de.us/files/_FRAup_/2a0a2af04ad981653745a49013852ec4/Board_Minutes_May_19_2015.pdf

But let’s see what their application says:

And did they already get those funds?  What are “expense recoveries”?  It’s hard to say cause this doesn’t say where the funds are coming from….

NEWARK CHARTER SCHOOL – NEWARK CHARTER SCHOOL for FY 2015 Period 1 thru 11

Amount:
$1,711,393.56
Back to Search
Category General Fund Federal Fund Capital Fund Special Fund
FEDERAL REIMBURSEMENT $0.00 $436,118.73 $0.00 $0.00
INTEREST ON DEPOSITS $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $51,445.35
USDA DOE MEAL REIMBURSEMENT $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $107,661.92
EXPENSE RECOVERIES $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $1,116,167.56

And like their brethren school located in the Christina School District, Newark Charter School got to keep over $400,000 from the Charter School Transportation Slush Fund from the past two fiscal years…

Mapleton Charter School At Whitehall Performance Award Application

Have I ever written about this school?  I don’t think so.  It sounds like a private school for really rich kids with that name! Another charter scheduled to open up in 2016, looking to fund their head of school positions through a performance fund, but only for one year!  I really need to open up a charter school.  I’ll call it the Exceptional Delaware Institute for Easy Money!

I get the whole concept of start-up costs, but to rely on those funds coming out of a free program from the state is not wise for any business, much less a school.  With ten applicants, nine of which have a shot (more on that later), those aren’t the greatest odds to pay for salaries.  But what do I know?  I’m just a blogger…

First State Military Academy Charter School Performance Award Application

Another school that hasn’t even opened yet applying for more money! Based on performance! Yay!  Another school promoting this New Tech Network system.  The other one was Delaware STEM Academy.  Okay, they are on my radar now..  And we have more salaries as part of this application…

So if they want to enroll in this network their curriculum is essentially based on, but this would only cover the first year,  what happens next year?  Cause you can’t get this award two years in a row…

I would think a military-based school would have already bought a $2000 sound system to bark orders at kids, but no, that’s included in here as well…

UPDATED, 7/1/15, 1:19pm: I took out the part in my write-up concerning the change in location of this school to Camden, Delaware.  This was a technical error on the applicant’s part, and the school is in Clayton, at the same location it has always been.  My apologies for any concerns about this!

Early College High School Charter School Performance Award Application

Another performance award application.  This school has been open for one year and they are applying for a performance award with no data on academic performance…  As well I have grave concerns with forcing 9th and 10th graders to take summer classes the school should be providing as part of their regular academic year curriculum…

In my eyes, this school is still very much an experiment in Delaware.  They have already gone through one principal and significant board member changes.  The jury is still out on this application.  What do you think DOE?  I’m sure you’ll love it with the whole college and career ready lingo and the Smarter Balanced goals of 60% will close the gaps.

Delaware STEM Academy Charter School Performance Fund Application

I’m just going to say this right off the bat.  I take great issue with this school being eligible for the Charter School Performance Fund when they aren’t even scheduled to open until August 2016!  The best part: they want this award so they can pay their Chief Academic Officer and Executive Director their first year!  Doesn’t that already come out of state-allocated funds?  As well, how can they select all staff by May 2016 if they don’t hit their enrollment figures by June 2016?  And don’t they have to be at their enrollment figures by April 1st, 2016?

This one just has a big huge question mark all over it.  I would deny this one DOE…

Delaware MET Charter School Performance Fund Application

I love when schools that aren’t even open yet apply for a performance fund!  Because they have so much data to show they can even perform…

The Delaware MET is scheduled to open August 2015.  So I’m guessing they need more money…

While I don’t really have a problem with what Delaware MET is asking for, why would they wait until a few months before they open to institute such a high-caliber part of their curriculum as part of a performance fund they may or may not receive?  If they don’t get this funding, what happens to this program? No internships for these kids?

Campus Community School Charter School Performance Fund Application

The Delaware DOE, in conjunction with the Charter School Office, offers eligible charter schools in the state to apply for the Charter School Performance Fund.  The DOE is stating this is allocated at $1.5 million to divvy up between the charters, but state lawmakers put $1 million in the budget for it.  We will find out tomorrow or Wednesday what the true amount is.  With that being said, ten charter schools have applied.

What they are applying for will be covered.  We are starting with Campus Community School in Dover, DE, and this will include their written narrative as well as their budget:

Campus Community School has some good ideas.  They want to launch “Project Inspire” to help at-risk kids.  They want to make their library more digital, and hire someone to staff that.  A Saturday initiative sounds promising.  They want to add Communities In Schools full-time for a mentoring program at $43,000.  Wait a minute…

If Communities In Schools was part-time this year, and they want this for full-time, why have they paid them $61,000 for the first eleven months of this fiscal year?  I’m a little bit confused here…

COMMUNITIES IN SCHOOLS

CAMPUS COMMUNITY SCHOOL 11/25/2014 $13,750.00 0000890314
COMMUNITIES IN SCHOOLS CAMPUS COMMUNITY SCHOOL 10/28/2014 $13,750.00 0000873161
COMMUNITIES IN SCHOOLS CAMPUS COMMUNITY SCHOOL 1/13/2015 $3,000.00 0000911629
COMMUNITIES IN SCHOOLS CAMPUS COMMUNITY SCHOOL 1/13/2015 $13,750.00 0000911629
COMMUNITIES IN SCHOOLS CAMPUS COMMUNITY SCHOOL 9/26/2014 $3,000.00 0000856654
COMMUNITIES IN SCHOOLS CAMPUS COMMUNITY SCHOOL 3/13/2015 $13,750.00 0000940811

There is some very fuzzy math going on there. Unless Communities In Schools is providing some other type of program for the school that we aren’t aware of here…

If I were the Charter School Office, I would want this very important question answered before I approve this application.

While traditional public school districts are being forced to cut library specialists, charters can just apply for one through this performance fund.  No bias there!  As well, let it be known Campus Community School received over $300,000 the past two fiscal years in what I call the “Charter School Transportation Slush Fund” where Delaware charters get to keep the extra money from their transportation budget if their bus bids are below budget…