Condoms, Chlamydia, Christina, Closures, Carney and the Council

The Christina Board of Education meeting last night was filled with some awesome discussion about what appears in the title of this article.  I painstakingly transcribed the part of the meeting with the Superintendent’s report to the Board and the crazy discussion after.  Board member John Young was on fire!!!!  The topics dealt with Governor Carney’s plans for Christina’s Wilmington schools.  There is A LOT of information in here.  A ton.  From venereal diseases to transparency to possible school closures and more!  I have a feeling things are going to look VERY different in Christina’s Wilmington schools a year from now.  And for the record, I agree with John Young on EVERYTHING he said! Continue reading

FOIA Complaint From Newark Legislators Puts University Of Delaware In The Hot Seat

Several Newark, Delaware legislators submitted a Freedom of Information Act to the Delaware Attorney General’s office last Spring.  The response to the complaint came out today.

State Representatives Paul Baumbach, John Kowalko, and Ed Osienski, and State Senators Karen Peterson, David Sokola and Bryan Townsend felt the University of Delaware violated FOIA with the posting of an agenda about a change to their bylaws.  The Attorney General’s response opined the Board of Trustees at the University did violate FOIA by not posting a specific resolution they would be voting on in the agenda.  The AG’s office stated even if the public had some knowledge of what could be happening it still falls on a public board to give notice of the proposed action item on an agenda.

As a result of the FOIA complaint, the University Board of Trustees will vote again on the bylaws at their December board meeting.  The AG opinion wants the board to have an open and public discussion surrounding this vote.

I have been hard on Sokola in the past, for what I believe are good reasons.  I wish he would demand the same transparency from charter schools.  Have you ever seen some of their board agendas?  I hardly ever see any action items on them even though they constantly vote on items.

2016 Delaware Charter School Inspection Shows Severe Lack Of Transparency

MOTCharterSchool

Many Delaware charter schools failed a recent inspection on financial, organizational, and governance transparency.  No charter school received a perfect score on this inspection.  The ones who failed did so miserably.

Delaware law is very clear about what charter schools are required to do.  Other public meeting laws in Delaware, which have been supported through legal opinions on FOIA complaints, are very clear as well.  Last night, I went through every single charter school website to look for eight things: Their monthly financial information was up to date (July 2016), they posted their last annual audit (2015), they posted their IRS 990 Tax Form (as a non-profit), they posted their board agenda for their most recent meeting, they posted their board minutes (based on when they had their last meeting and were able to approve those minutes), they put an agenda up for their Citizens Budget Oversight Committee, they put up the minutes for their CBOC meetings, and a Delaware Department of Education representative was present at those CBOC meetings.

Most of the Delaware charter schools failed this inspection.  One of them (considered to be a very successful charter school) didn’t pass any category.  Some charter schools feel as though they don’t have to meet during the summer and prepare for the new school year.  There was no charter school that received a perfect score.  I understand things slow down in the summer, but not meeting is inexcusable in my book.  Some charters need to do a lot of work on their websites.  Hunting and pecking to find information is not in the vein of transparency.

The most disturbing aspect is the apparent lack of oversight coming from the Delaware Department of Education.  More specifically, the Charter School Office.  They may monitor the charters, and I’m glad a DOE representative is attending most of their CBOC meetings, but where is the public transparency of that monitoring?  Jennifer Nagourney worked very hard to get this aspect turned around with charters.  I would hate to see her hard work disappear.

The way CBOC laws are written, quarterly meetings are okay.  But some charters meet monthly.  I’m not going to dink you if you don’t meet every single month.  I think districts and charters should have monthly CBOC meetings.  A quick note about IRS 990 tax filings: these can vary on the tax year.  If a school had their 2014 return on there, I counted them as being in compliance.  If it was older or they didn’t have any tax filings on their website, they got hit.  This is required by law.  Only one charter school in Delaware is not required to file a 990: Newark Charter School.  I don’t agree with it.

*This article has been updated to include Great Oaks Wilmington which was inadvertently left out of the original article.

Academia Antonia Alonso

Financials: June 2016

Yearly Audit: FY2015

990: FY2012

Board Agenda: 7/27/16

Board Minutes: June 2016

CBOC Agenda: June 2016

CBOC Minutes: June 2016

DOE Rep: Yes

 

Academy of Dover

Financials: June 2016

Yearly Audit: FY2015

990: FY2014

Board Agenda: 8/25/16

Board Minutes: June 2016

CBOC Agenda: 8/25/16

CBOC Minutes: June 2016

DOE Rep: Yes

 

Campus Community School

Financials: June 2016

Yearly Audit: FY2015

990: None (searched, said “access denied”)

Board Agenda: 8/30/16

Board Minutes: June 2016

CBOC Agenda: 8/30/2016

CBOC Minutes: 5/5/2016

DOE Rep: Yes

 

Charter School of Wilmington

Financials: July 2016

Yearly Audit: FY2015

990: None

Board Agenda: 8/16/16

Board Minutes: June 2016 (no meeting in July)

CBOC Agenda: 5/18/16

CBOC Minutes: 5/18/16

DOE Rep: Yes

 

Delaware Academy of Public Safety & Security

Financials: June 2016

Yearly Audit: FY2015

990: None

Board Agenda: none (has standard agenda)

Board Minutes: June 2016 (no meetings in July or August)

CBOC Agenda: May 2016

CBOC Minutes: April 2016

DOE Rep: Yes

 

Delaware Design-Lab High School

Financials: May 2016

Yearly Audit: n/a

990: n/a

Board Agenda: 8/22/16

Board Minutes: 5/26/16

CBOC Agenda: None

CBOC Meeting: 4/25/16

DOE Rep: Yes

 

Delaware Military Academy

Financials: 6/30/16

Yearly Audit: FY2015

990: None (no search button on website)

Board Agenda: 6/27/16

Board Minutes: 5/23/16 (states no meetings in July or August)

CBOC Agenda: None (has standing agenda)

CBOC Minutes: June 2016

DOE Rep: No

 

Early College High School

Financials: June 2016

Yearly Audit: FY2015

990: FY2014

Board Agenda: 8/25/16

Board Minutes: 4/28/16      

CBOC Agenda: 7/21/16

CBOC Minutes: 4/28/16 (states no quorum at May & June Mtgs)

DOE Rep: Yes

 

EastSide Charter School

Financials: June 2016

Yearly Audit: FY2015

990: None

Board Agenda: 8/17/16

Board Minutes: 6/16/16

CBOC Agenda: 7/26/16

CBOC Minutes: 7/26/16

DOE Rep: Yes

 

Family Foundations Academy

Financials: June 2016

Yearly Audit: FY2015

990: FY2012

Board Agenda: 7/27/16

Board Minutes: 6/16/16

CBOC Agenda: 7/25/16

CBOC Minutes: 4/26/16

DOE Rep: Yes

 

First State Military Academy

Financials: June 2016

Yearly Audit: n/a

990: n/a

Board Agenda: 8/23/16

Board Minutes: 7/26/16

CBOC Agenda: 6/24/16

CBOC Minutes: 6/24/16

DOE Rep: Yes

 

First State Montessori Academy

Financials: 2/29/16

Yearly Audit: None

990: None

Board Agenda: 9/1/16

Board Minutes: 5/26/16

CBOC Agenda: None (Standard Agenda)

CBOC Minutes: 5/19/16

DOE Rep: Yes

 

Freire Charter School of Wilmington

Financials: June 2016

Yearly Audit: n/a

990: n/a

Board Agenda: 8/17/16

Board Minutes: 6/16/16

CBOC Agenda: 6/20/16 (noted August mtg canceled)

CBOC Minutes: 6/20/16

DOE Rep: Yes

 

Gateway Lab School

Financials: July 2016

Yearly Audit: FY2014

990: None

Board Agenda: 8/16/16

Board Minutes: 5/24/16

CBOC Agenda: 7/19/16

CBOC Minutes: 2/16/16

DOE Rep: Yes

 

Great Oaks Wilmington

Financials: July 2016

Yearly Audit: n/a

990: n/a

Board Agenda: 7/27/16 (schedule shows 8/22 board meeting, no agenda)

Board Minutes: 7/27/16

CBOC Agenda: None (shows area for this but none listed)

CBOC Minutes: None (shows area for this but no minutes listed)

DOE Rep: None

 

Kuumba Academy

Financials: June 2016

Yearly Audit: FY2014

990: None

Board Agenda: 5/12/16

Board Minutes: 5/12/16 (states no meeting held in June)

CBOC Agenda: 7/12/16

CBOC Minutes: 7/12/16

DOE Rep: Yes

 

Las Americas Aspiras Academy

Financials: July 2016

Yearly Audit: FY2015

990: FY2014

Board Agenda: 8/25/16

Board Minutes: 5/26/16

CBOC Agenda: 8/22/16

CBOC Minutes: 6/20/16

DOE Rep: Yes

 

MOT Charter School

Financials: None

Yearly Audit: None

990: None

Board Agenda: 6/14/16

Board Minutes: 5/25/16 (June Mtg. Canceled)

CBOC Agenda: None

CBOC Minutes: None

DOE Rep: None

*website states for further information to call the business office

 

Newark Charter School

Financials: July 2016

Yearly Audit: FY2015

990: not required

Board Agenda: 8/16/16

Board Minutes: 7/19/16

CBOC Agenda: 5/17/16

CBOC Minutes: 5/17/16

DOE Rep: Yes

 

Odyssey Charter School

Financials: June 2016

Yearly Audit: FY2015

990: FY2011

Board Agenda: 8/17/16

Board Minutes: 6/21/16

CBOC Agenda: 7/20/16

CBOC Minutes: 6/26/16

DOE Rep: Yes

 

Positive Outcomes

Financials: July 2016

Yearly Audit: FY2015

990: FY2014

Board Agenda: 7/20/16

Board Minutes: 5/18/16 (no meeting in June)

CBOC Agenda: 7/20/16

CBOC Minutes: 7/20/16

DOE Rep: Yes

 

Prestige Academy

Financials: July 2016

Yearly Audit: FY2015

990: None

Board Agenda: 8/16/16

Board Minutes: 7/19/16

CBOC Agenda: 8/16/16

CBOC Minutes: 2/16/16

DOE Rep: None

 

Providence Creek Academy

Financials: July 2016

Yearly Audit: FY2015

990: None

Board Agenda: 8/23/16

Board Minutes: 7/26/16

CBOC Agenda: 8/18/2016

CBOC Minutes: 8/18/2016

DOE Rep: Yes

 

Sussex Academy

Financials: June 2016

Yearly Audit: FY2015

990: FY2014

Board Agenda: 7/27/16

Board Minutes: 6/15/16 (no August meeting)

CBOC Agenda: 5/17/16

CBOC Minutes: 5/17/16 (says next meeting won’t be until October)

DOE Rep: None

 

Thomas Edison Charter School

Financials: July 2016

Yearly Audit: FY2015

990: None

Board Agenda: 8/15/16

Board Minutes: 7/18/16

CBOC Agenda: 9/14/16

CBOC Minutes: 3/2/16

DOE Rep: Yes

 

Charter schools are public schools.  You set some autonomy based on how the laws are written.  But you still have to adhere to the law.  You don’t live in a separate bubble in Delaware.  On one hand, charters beg to be treated the same, and on the other, they beg to be treated different because of that “autonomy”.  I don’t buy the excuse that any single charter school in this state doesn’t know about these requirements.  If you open a bank, you better believe that bank looks into all of the operating laws they have to adhere to.

These inspections didn’t even get into the meat of your board minutes.  A lot of you feel you don’t really have to give any detail.  Some of your CBOC meetings don’t list which members are community representatives.  I gave many of you bad scores if you haven’t had a CBOC meeting in over three months.  Even if you don’t have a quorum, you still have to post minutes.  And MOT… really?  Call the business office to get more information?  Just because you do great on Smarter Balanced doesn’t mean you are immune from transparency.  Last year, the Charter School Accountability Committee found nothing wrong in MOT’s charter renewal process.  They were approved unanimously for renewal without this subject EVER coming up.

I could file a ton of FOIA complaints today.  I’m not going to.  I’m going to give you until September 30th to correct these things.  If I don’t see any improvement or very little, I start filing.

There were five charter schools who I felt, even though they got hit on one thing, have made a sincere effort to be transparent: Academy of Dover, Campus Community School, First State Military Academy, Las Americas Aspiras, and Providence Creek Academy.  Honorary mentions go to Newark Charter School, Positive Outcomes, Sussex Academy, and Thomas Edison.  But the rest of you need  a lot of work.  Sadly, some of you haven’t come far when I did this two years ago and a Valentines Day blitz inspection in 2015 and then another inspection in July 2015.  Some actually did worse.  Out of all the charters that did well on these inspections, they included most of the Kent and Sussex County charters but only two New Castle County charters.  That I don’t get.  I beat up on charters a lot.  But I am getting around to beating up on districts more as well.  I will give all of you a very fair warning: record your meetings and put the recordings up in seven business days.  Kilroy may be quiet now, but he didn’t fight for the “all boards must record” legislation for kicks.  He will monitor if you are doing this, and if you aren’t… watch out!

Perhaps Kendall Massett with the Delaware Charter Schools Network will agree or not agree with me on these transparency issues.  But I believe, as a non-profit that supports charter schools, this should be their fight as well.  Charter schools are at a crossroads right now.  Many states are issuing moratoriums on charter schools.  Delaware did this a year and a half ago.  They can either operate as public schools or face the wrath of public perception.  I don’t believe ALL charters are like the ones depicted on the John Oliver Show last weekend.  But we all know Delaware could have easily been portrayed on that episode with some things that have happened here.  Some of the charter schools in this inspection: don’t be lulled into a false sense of security because of this article.  Know that I know things and you are on my radar.

Newark Charter School Denies Lottery To 6 Year Old Girl With Rare Disability

The Newark Charter School admission policy has hit a new low. They are not allowing a child with developmental disabilities apply to the school for Kindergarten because she will be six years old when she enters Kindergarten next August.  Newark Charter School will have their lottery this coming Monday, February 8th at 6pm.

The parents’ daughter has an extremely rare disability called radioulnar synostosis that impacts her fine motor skills and limits the use of her hands and arms. According to Boston Children’s Hospital, this disability is defined as: Congenital radioulnar synostosis is a rare congenital difference in which there’s an abnormal bony or soft tissue connection between the two bones of the forearm—the radius and the ulna.  This disability is so rare, only 400 cases have been reported worldwide.

Her parents made a choice, at the recommendation of her pre-school, to keep her there another year.  According to the mom and dad, their daughter needs extra time to develop her fine motor skills and co-ordination based on her disability.  Apparently, this does not matter to the Admissions Office at Newark Charter School.

The father was told by the Admissions Office that Newark Charter School could not accept the application and enter his daughter into the lottery based on her age. The parents attended a board meeting at the school and a board member suggested to the parents to apply their daughter for first grade, and upon acceptance, they would assess her and move her down to Kindergarten, if needed.  The parents did not find this to be a viable option since their daughter was never in Kindergarten in the first place.  This was not an acceptable option for the father, so he contacted the Delaware Department of Education.

The father spoke with the Charter School Office with concerns about the legality of Newark Charter School’s actions. He talked with Jennifer Nagourney, the Executive Director of the Charter School Office.  She advised him what the school was doing was completely legal.

After reaching out to a State Representative about the situation, the State Rep. asked the father for permission to reach out to some folks on this issue in an attempt to help. I was one of those people, and I spoke with the parents earlier this evening.  The parents are very concerned about this matter and feel other parents have a right to know what the school is doing.

The father claims the Admissions Office referenced a change in their admission policy that went into effect on September 15th, 2015.  I went to the school’s board minutes and found the following changes to their admissions policy:

NCS91515BoardMinutes

The wording on this board resolution is very vague and unclear. It doesn’t even mention a scenario where a child could be older than five and what their policy is on this.  Furthermore, the board voted on this change to their policy without the action item on their agenda.  Parents who may have been aware of this planned action could have attended the meeting and given public comment, or reached out to the school to address it with the Admissions Office or their Head of School, Greg Meece.  The fact they would deny parents who applied for Kindergarten in the 2015-2016 school year is a mystery to me, but there are multiple reasons why a parent could choose not to send their child to Kindergarten and they have a right to do so.  Many families of a child with a disability have made this choice.  Charter school boards in Delaware are required to post an Agenda of their board meetings seven days prior to their meeting, which Newark Charter School certainly did in this case.  However, it did not post any action items to be voted on by the Board of Directors, just Admissions Policy as part of “business” without any clear details surrounding it.

NCSAgenda91515

The board had the same item on their agenda for their August meeting and did discuss admission procedures in the August meeting. They didn’t take a vote on it thought, so the term “business” on their agenda is very misleading and doesn’t indicate what is being discussed or having action taken.  While Delaware’s open meeting law does not give an indication either way about discussion and action items, traditional school districts tend to have these clearly listed on their agendas.  Clarification in the law is absolutely needed so all public schools have the same level of transparency in regards to board meetings.

On Newark Charter School’s website, under Admissions, their general guidelines for applications do not reference the specific age of a Kindergartner:

NCSAdmissionsPolicy

I went to their actual Admissions Policy to see what it says on the subject:

Once again, there is nothing about a child being six years old at the time Kindergarten begins. The matter is not even addressed.  What it does say is this:

  1. All Kindergarten applicants must turn five years of age in the period from September 1, 2015 to August 31, 2016 to apply for KN in the 2016-2017 lottery. Students applying for Kindergarten do not necessarily have to be currently enrolled in a pre-K program. A birth certificate showing that the child will turn five-years old on or after September 1, 2015 and no later than August 31, 2016 will be required during the registration process in order for the student to be officially accepted.
  2. All other applicants to Newark Charter School must apply to the next consecutive grade level that they would matriculate to if they were to remain in their current school (For example, a current 1st grade student must apply to 2nd grade).

Title 14 in Delaware State Code is very clear about what a charter school can or cannot do in the application process:

  • 506 Restrictions.
  1. A charter school shall not:

(3) Restrict student admissions except:

  • By age and grade;

(4) Discriminate against any student in the admissions process because of race, creed, color, sex (except in the case of a same gender school), handicap, or national origin, or because the student’s school district of residence has a per student local expenditure lower than another student seeking admission

The wording concerning “by age and grade” is vague. It doesn’t give an actual clarification for it.  But it should be assumed it means charter schools will only accept applications for the grades that they have.  There are many charter schools that have students in attendance in certain grades where they are much older than their peers based on individual circumstances.

In the situation with this young girl, she could not have matriculated from Kindergarten since she is not currently enrolled in Kindergarten. So the board member’s suggestion was preposterous.   I asked the father if the application asked specifically about any disabilities and he did not believe it did.  I was able to obtain a copy of the school’s application which verified they did not ask about any type of disability for an applicant.

NCSApplication

In my opinion, because of the Board’s lack of transparency concerning these admissions changes back in September of 2015, as well as very unclear wording for any parent applying to the school, this child should be included in Newark Charter School’s lottery. If you agree, please email Greg Meece at Newark Charter School with the subject line: “Let her in the lottery” and please attach a copy of this article.  You can email Greg Meece at the following email address: gmeece@ncs.k12.de.us

Their lottery is Monday night at 6:00pm. If there are any other parents within Newark Charter School’s five mile radius, from the flagpole in front of their high school, who have also had their child’s application rejected based on this very misleading admissions policy, please contact me at kevino3670@yahoo.com or leave a comment on this article.

In the meantime, the daughter’s parents are praying something changes between now and 6pm on Monday.

Brandywine Board Violated FOIA According To DOJ Legal Opinion Over Removal Of Student Discipline Record

An attorney representing a student in the Brandywine School District filed a FOIA complaint against the Brandywine Board of Education.  The matter concerned expunging a disciplinary record for a student.  While the report does not go into details, obviously, of who the student was or the incident that led to a disciplinary action, that was not the basis for this FOIA complaint.  The Brandywine board decided against expunging the student’s record in executive session but did not vote on the action item on their agenda in public session.

From the legal opinion:

FOIA requires public bodies to provide notice prior to a public meeting by issuing an agenda that identifies the issues that a public body expects to discuss or take action on during that meeting.   See 29 Del. C. § 10002(a).  If the public body intends to go into executive session, it must so indicate in the agenda.   See id.   Once in executive session, the public body may discuss public business but may not vote on any public matter. 29 Del. C. § 10004(c). Any decision made regarding discussions of public business during an executive session must be made in public, and the record of the vote must be public.   Id.  Additionally, we have previously held that consensus votes during executive session are not permitted. See, e.g., Del. Op.Att’y Gen. 06-IB12, Del. Op.Att’y Gen. 05-IB29, Del. Op.Att’y Gen. 96-IB32. Any decision made by a Board, even if it is a decision to decline a request, must be made in public.

The Board does not have any procedures for considering a student’s request to expunge his or her record.[2]  The process is discretionary.  Counsel for the Board argues that there was no vote in executive session.  The statute does use the term “vote,” but we take a practical view and look at whether a matter was “decided,” even if the body avoids a vote.  The Board sent a letter “declining” a proposal; this acknowledges that a decision was made.  Given the events, it seems most plausible that the decision was made in executive session, but perhaps it was made after the meeting was over.  In any event we cannot say that the decision was made publicly.  We believe the import of the statute’s language that “all voting on public business must take place at a public meeting and the results of the vote made public” is that the public should  be able to discern how and when a matter is decided. 29 Del. C. § 10004(c). For example, one solution here could have been for the chairperson to call for a motion in the regular session.  Under the circumstances, the failure of the Board to take a public vote amounts to a violation of FOIA.

We find that the aforementioned Board action regarding a student’s request to expunge a record during executive session at the July 2015 Board Meeting violated FOIA.  The Board denied that request by a vote or by consensus achieved while in executive session or in some other non-public forum. To remedy this violation of FOIA, we direct the Board to either ratify the aforementioned decision in a public, regular session or formally reconsider the request for expungement and vote upon it in a manner consistent with the conclusions and determinations set forth herein.

The attorney representing the student received an email from the district’s attorney which stated:

On July 21, 2015 counsel for the Board sent an email to Mr. Norman which reads, “Steve. Given the strength of the District’s position it declines your client’s proposal to clear his record.”

While this does not make this a legal ruling, but rather an opinion, if the party who filed the FOIA complaint wished to pursue legal action, they certainly could.  However, by state law, the Department of Justice could not sue since school districts are a part of the state.  Last month at the Delaware State Board of Education there was an appeal matter on the board’s agenda.  This concerned an appeal against the Brandywine Board of Education.  It is not known if the two are connected.  To read the full ruling, please go here.

Is Delaware Met Just Making It Up As They Go Along?

The charter school website.  It can either be a treasure trove of information or the most God awful boring place in the universe.  Depends on the day and what you are looking for.  One Delaware charter school didn’t have much on their website.  That was a story in itself.  But granted, they are new.  And they have been in the news A LOT lately.  It’s been a few days since I posted anything on The Delaware Met.

I checked their website last night, and lo and behold, they have board meeting agendas and minutes up.  I always get suspicious when I see tons of board minutes posted all at once.   Especially when they go back a year.  Why are they just now putting them up?  Probably because they were told to.  I know there was some conversation about this after their last board meeting.  But let’s not get super excited.  They don’t have ANY Citizen’s Budget Oversight Committee agendas or minutes.  Some minutes say they need to get this going by August 2015 while others say September 2015.  And they only have their August 2015 financials up.  Nothing prior. Oddly enough, it let me download their financial statement, but not their board minutes.  Very odd.  But I took pictures of all of them!

delmetboardmeeting1

delmetboardmeeting2

delmetboardmeeting1 delmetboardmeeting3

And the financial statement which poses more questions…

delmetbudget

delmetbudget2

Now looking at this, I see a few things.  They have received 93% of their Federal funds.  Federal funds have something called IDEA-B which is designated for special education use.  Will they get more Federal funds?  Keep in mind, this was August 31st.  A month before the September 30th counts.  As well, they have NOT received their charter school performance award as of 8/31/15.  Why is that?

But the most interesting part about all of this is when it was written.  It is their August 31st financials, right?  When you look at their revenue for state funds, you can see “Mentoring Pilot” and an amount budgeted of $6,000.00.  That’s fair.  That’s what they won in the CIP Competitive Grant from the DOE.  They just announced the winners the other day, on September 30th in the Delaware DOE newsletter called Take Note with a link to all the award winners.  But if they were just awarded those funds in September, how could they have budgeted $6,000 in August for the award they received in September when the application submitted to DOE was for $14,700?  And if their financials were written in September, who knows if the prior board minutes were as well…

I did see in prior minutes the Chair of their Board of Directors has been out sick for a while, so I sincerely wish him the best. Which also explains why I never heard back from the email I sent out on 9/23 to the leader of the Board and their Head of School who also went out on maternity leave as of 9/23.  But the DOE, who was included on that email, could have easily replied back.

Something just isn’t right with this school.  Something is very off.  Delaware DOE, this school needs to go on formal review yesterday!  And just to be on the safe side, in case anything changes, I went ahead and Scribd the financial documents:

Delaware Charter School Compliance and Transparency Report 2015

“Head of School Report: School is completed for this year.  This year should go down in the history books as gone for good and never have history repeat itself.  We need to learn from the past.”

The above quote was found in a Delaware charter school’s board minute notes recently.  About a year ago, I went through all the charters websites and graded them on certain things: board minutes up to date, agendas for next board meetings posted, and monthly financial information posted.  I will be grading each charter based on this information again this year, but I am adding in Citizens Budget Oversight Committee (CBOC) notifications and minutes.  I’m not including charters that haven’t opened yet or charters who got shut down this year cause really, what’s the point?

I can say a lot of the charters have become more compliant and transparent with these in the past year.  But some have not.  I gave a little bit of slack on the board minutes.  A lot of them had a meeting in the past week, so I don’t expect them to get the June minutes up right away.  If you see red, it’s not a major thing, but they need to fix it.  If it’s in BOLD red, they are majorly breaking the law and they need to fix that ASAP!  State law mandates charters put up their monthly financial info up within 15 days of their last board meeting.  As well, you have to have a CBOC committee and meetings.  Two of the charters on here with some big dinks are on probation already so they need to get on that.  Two others are up for charter renewal, so they definitely need to jam on it!

Academia Antonia AlonsoAgenda: no (only has two agendas for two board meetings in past year listed), Board Minutes: June 2015, CBOC Meetings: yes, CBOC Minutes: June 2015, Monthly Financials: April 2015, next board meeting: August 26th, Bonus: has meetings listed through end of 2015, Grade: C-

Academy of Dover– Agenda: Yes, Board minutes: June 2015, CBOC Meetings: Yes, CBOC Minutes: June 2015, Monthly Financials: April 2015, next board meeting: July 30th, Grade: B

Campus Community School– Agenda: July 2015, Board minutes: April 2015, CBOC Meetings: Yes, CBOC Minutes: March 2015, Monthly Financials: May 2015, next board meeting: not listed, Grade: D

Charter School of Wilmington– Agenda: Yes, Board Minutes: June 2015, CBOC Meetings: Yes, CBOC Minutes: May 2015, Monthly Financials: May 2015, next board meeting: not listed, but does indicate no July meeting, Grade: B

Delaware Academy of Public Safety & SecurityAgenda: no, website gives generic agenda for every meeting, Board Minutes: April 2015, CBOC Meetings: Yes, CBOC Minutes: April 2015, Monthly Financials: April 2015, next board meeting: none listed, last shows June 2015, Grade: F

Delaware College PrepAgenda: no, Board Minutes: April 2015, CBOC Meetings: no, CBOC Minutes: April 2014, Monthly Financials: June 2015, next board meeting: none listed, last shows June 2015, Grade F- for Formal Review

Delaware Military Academy– Agenda: yes, Board Minutes: May 2015, CBOC Meetings: Yes, CBOC Minutes: January 2015, Monthly Financials: May 2015, next board meeting: none listed, states meets 4th Monday of the month, Grade: D

Early College High SchoolAgenda: no, Board Minutes: May 2015 (states June meeting had no quorum which is majority of board members present to approve items up for action), CBOC Meetings: no, CBOC Minutes: no, Monthly Financials: April 2015, next board meeting: none listed but states meets 4th Thursday of the month, Grade: F

Eastside Charter School– Agenda: yes, Board Minutes: May 2015, CBOC Meetings: yes, CBOC Minutes: May 2015, Monthly Financials: May 2015, next board meeting: August 26th, Bonus: Shows anticipated board meeting dates thru June, 2016, Grade: A

Family Foundations Academy– Agenda: yes, Board Minutes: May 2015, CBOC Meetings: yes, CBOC Minutes: April 2015, Monthly Financials: May 2015, next board meeting: August 26th, Bonus: shows anticipated board meeting dates thru June, 2016, Grade: A

First State Montessori AcademyAgenda: no, Board Minutes: February 2015, CBOC Meetings: yes, CBOC Minutes: May 2015, Monthly Financials: May 2015, next board meeting: none listed, shows meets 4th Thursday of the month, Weird Fact: Uses WordPress as their website, the same as Exceptional Delaware…, Grade: D+

Gateway Lab School– Agenda: yes, Board Minutes: May 2015, CBOC Meetings: yes, CBOC Minutes: May 2015, Monthly Financials: June 2015, next board meeting: August 18th, Bonus: shows anticipated board meeting dates thru June, 2016, Grade: A+

Kuumba Academy– Agenda: yes, Board Minutes: May 2015, CBOC Meetings: yes, CBOC Minutes: May 2015, Monthly Financials: May 2015, next board meeting: none listed, Grade: B

Las Americas Aspiras Academy– Agenda: yes, Board Minutes: May 2015, CBOC Meetings: yes, CBOC Minutes: May 2015, Monthly Financials: yes*, next board meeting: none listed, states meets 4th Thursday of each month, *Superstar: Monthly Financial report is excellent, shows both what the DOE wants AND what state appropriations and codes are needed!!!!, Grade: A+

MOT Charter SchoolAgenda: no, Board Minutes: June 2015, CBOC Meetings: not sure, shows agenda for June 2015 meeting but last meeting was in May 2013, CBOC Minutes: May 2013, Monthly Financials: May 2015, next board meeting: none listed, Grade: F

Newark Charter School– Agenda: yes, Board Minutes: June 2015, CBOC Meetings: yes, CBOC Minutes: June 2015, Monthly Financials: June 2015, next board meeting: August 18th, Bonus: board meetings listed through June, 2016, Grade: A+

Odyssey Charter School– Agenda: yes, Board Minutes: June 2015, CBOC Meetings: yes, CBOC Minutes: May 2015, Monthly Financials: May 2015, next board meeting: August 12th, Grade: A-

Positive Outcomes– Agenda: yes, Board Minutes: May 2015, CBOC Meetings: yes, CBOC Minutes: June 2015, Monthly Financials: June 2015, next board meeting: August 19th, Bonus: board meetings AND CBOC meetings listed through June 2016, Grade: A+

Prestige Academy– Agenda: yes, Board Minutes: May 2015, CBOC Meetings: no, CBOC Minutes: none listed, website only shows members of CBOC, Monthly Financials: April 2015, next board meeting: none listed, shows meets 3rd Tuesday of each month, Grade: F

Providence Creek Academy– Agenda: yes, Board Minutes: June 2015, CBOC Meetings: yes, CBOC Minutes: April 2015, Monthly Financials: June 2015, next board meeting: August 25th, Bonus: does have all future board meetings through June 2016 on school calendar, Grade: A+

Sussex Academy– Agenda: yes, Board Minutes: May 2015, CBOC Meetings: yes, CBOC Minutes: May 2015, Monthly Financials: February 2015, next board meeting: September 16th (no meetings in July or August), Grade: C

Thomas Edison Charter– Agenda: yes, Board Minutes: June 2015, CBOC Meetings: yes, CBOC Minutes: June 2015, Monthly Financials: June 2015, next board meeting: August 17th, Bonus: Has all board meetings listed through June 2016, Grade A+

There you have it.  The Exceptional Delaware July 2015 Charter School Compliance and Transparency Report.  8 out of 22 need to do some serious damage control quick.  Because once DOE Jenny (as Kilroy calls her) reads this report, she’s going to have some serious questions for some of you!

Oh, I forgot one thing.  The quote up above will be shown later today as part of another article.  Because even though that school wants to forget about the past year, the past is knocking on their door!  More later!

Charter School Accountability & Transparency in Delaware: How Do They Rate? #netde #eduDE @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @TNJ-malbright

Delaware charter schools are required to do the following on their school websites: Post monthly Board meeting minutes, post monthly Board meeting agendas, post a calendar of future Board meetings, and post their monthly financial statement.  I went through every single active charter school in Delaware to see if they were keeping up with these regulations. 

Since it is the summer, I am giving a little bit of leeway.  Many schools did not have Board meetings in July, which I have indicated if noted on the website.  Financial information is required to come out monthly, so if there is no June information, they were not in compliance.  Agendas are required to be posted on the website 10 days prior to the next scheduled Board meeting.  Board meeting minutes are approved at the next scheduled board meeting, so most of the schools should have June board meetings posted unless there was no meeting in July.  If they are out compliance on any given section, I have put that in Bold Italic format.  I have also listed if they have their 2014-2015 budget on their website.  While this is not a requirement, it is helpful to parents to know the financial viability of the schools they picked in a choice decision.  Sadly, only one charter school had their 2015 budget listed on their website.  Great job Campus Community!

Academy of Dover: Grade F (no minutes for 9 months, sorry AoD, but you are WAY out of compliance)

Minutes: October 2013

Agenda: only states there is Board meeting scheduled for August 29th

Calendar of Meetings: No

Financials: June 2014

2015 Budget: No

 

ASPIRA Academy: Grade A

Minutes: May 2014

Agenda: June 2014 (no meeting in July)

Calendar of Meetings: Yes

Financials: June 2014

2015 Budget: No

 

Campus Community: Grade D (would have been F but had 2015 budget)

Minutes: May 2014

Agenda: May 2014

Calendar of Meetings: No

Financials: May, 2014

2015 Budget: Yes

 

Charter School Of Wilmington: Grade F- (gets the minus for amount of time not posting minutes, shame on you)

Minutes: April 2014

Agenda: June 2014

Calendar of Meetings: No

Financials: May 2014

2015 Budget: No

 

Delaware Academy of Public Safety and Security: Grade B

Minutes: May 2014 (no June meeting)

Agenda: none listed by month, shows “Standard Agenda” for all meetings

Calendar of Meetings: Yes

Financials: June 2014

2015 Budget: No

 

East Side Charter School: Grade A

Minutes: June 2014

Agenda: July 2014

Calendar of Meetings: Yes

Financials: June 2014

2015 Budget: No

 

Family Foundations Academy: Grade D

Minutes: April 2014

Agenda: May 2014

Calendar of Meetings: No

Financials: June 2014

2015 Budget: No

 

Gateway Lab School: Grade B

Minutes: June 2014

Agenda: July 2014

Calendar of Meetings: Yes

Financials: May 2014

2015 Budget: No

 

Kuumba Academy: Grade B

Minutes: June 2014 (No July Meeting Held)

Agenda: June 2014

Calendar of Meetings: No

Financials: June 2014

2015 Budget: No

 

MOT Charter School: Grade C

Minutes: April 2014

Agenda: August 2014

Calendar of Meetings: No

Financials: June 2014

2015 Budget: No

 

New Moyer Academy: Grade B

Minutes: June 2014

Agenda: July 2014

Calendar of Meetings: Yes

Financials: June 2014

2015 Budget: No

*Moyer is under Formal Review for a multitude of reasons, including not meeting for financial viability

 

Newark Charter School: Grade A

Minutes: June 2014

Agenda: August 2014

Calendar of Meetings: Yes

Financials: June 2014

2015 Budget: No

 

Odyssey Charter School: Grade B

Minutes: June 2014

Agenda: August 2014

Calendar of Meetings: No

Financials: June 2014

2015 Budget: No

 

Positive Outcomes: Grade A

Minutes: May 2014 (June 2014 Meeting Canceled)

Agenda: July 2014

Calendar of Meetings: Yes

Financials: June 2014

2015 Budget: No

 

Prestige Academy: Grade C

Minutes: May 2014

Agenda: August 2014

Calendar of Meetings: No

Financials: June 2014

2015 Budget: No

 

Providence Creek Academy Grade A

Minutes: June 2014

Agenda: August 2014

Calendar of Meetings: Yes

Financials: June 2014

2015 Budget: No

 

Sussex Academy of Arts and Sciences: Grade F

Minutes: May 2014

Agenda: May 2014

Calendar of Meetings: Shows next to be September 2014, no notice for July or August Meetings

Financials: May 2014

2015 Budget: No

 

Thomas Edison Charter School: Grade A

Minutes: June 2014

Agenda: July 2014

Calendar of Meetings: Yes

Financials: June 2014

2015 Budget: No

 

This is exactly why charter schools in Delaware need to digitally record their Board meetings.  For the schools that got an A or B, good job.  The rest of you, you have some work to do.  For Charter School of Wilmington, Academy of Dover, and Sussex Academy, you need to get compliant real fast.