Audit: All School Board Agendas, Minutes, & Audio Recordings; Caesar Rodney, Brandywine & Laurel Are Breaking The Law Big Time!

Transparency in public education is a must.  When more than a quarter of Delaware’s state budget goes to public education, the citizens expect, and rightfully so, transparency.  But some of our districts and charters struggle with transparency.

I haven’t done this since 2016, but I thought it was a good time to see how Delaware’s traditional school district and charter school boards were doing with transparency on their websites.  I checked for board minutes, board agendas, and board audio recordings. Continue reading

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DOE Releases Delaware Charter School Organizational and Financial Framework Reports

  • The Delaware Department of Education released the Financial and Organizations parts of the Delaware Charter School Performance Framework.  Because the State Board of Education has not voted on the new accountability structure called the Delaware School Success Framework, the Academic portion of the Performance Framework is not available yet.

For the most part, most of the charters did very well on these two parts.  One thing to keep in mind is the financial reports which do not give a clear indication of how charters are doing financially since it is based on their audit that deals with where the schools stands as of 6/30/15.  This does not take into account how much money they may receive in deposits the very next day.  As an example, when I read Delaware Academy of Public Safety & Security it stated they were one day out in being able to pay bills.  This is where they were at on 6/30/15 but schools receive their funding after the start of the new fiscal year which occurs on July 1st of each year.

There were some things I want to point out.  Another important thing to remember is that this is only for the timeframe of July 1st, 2014 until June 30th, 2015.  So something like the State Auditor investigation into Delaware charters and their finding released in September of this year would not appear on these frameworks.  However, for a school like Academy of Dover and their financial issues, that was released in June 2015 so it does appear.  Some of the schools have already gone through a formal review, like Family Foundations Academy, and would not be able to have “double jeopardy” based on these reports unless new information was brought to light.

For those who have said the Charter School Office at the DOE doesn’t monitor things (of which I have been guilty), these reports show this is not the case in many areas. I was actually happy to see the high amount of bullying reporting violations because it does show someone is keeping track of these things. I wish these bullying incidents never happened but I have always said it needs to be monitored more closely. I have a sneaky suspicion more is going to come out on this soon and it is something the DOE may not even be aware of, but that is another matter. There were fairly consistent violations with many schools: the percentage of highly-qualified teachers, procurement card policies, and websites having all the correct information. As any reader of Kilroy’s Delaware and this blog are aware, we both keep track of those things often.

I have to give props to Jennifer Nagourney and her crew over there for the thoroughness in these reports. As I keep track of employees coming and going at the DOE, it looks like the charter school office actually lost an employee over the past year so their workload has to be even bigger. Whether that position went to fund the Race To The Top positions is another matter entirely, but I do know the people in this office work hard.  I’ll probably get crucified for this, but I would love to see the traditional school districts get monitored for some of this stuff, especially the bullying reporting.

Without further ado, here are the ratings for all the Delaware charters in Organizational and Financial aspects of their Performance Framework. I didn’t delve too much into the financial pictures for the above reasons. At the end is a link to all the charter reports and a sample of one so folks can see the new format which explains a lot of the reasoning for what is in the reports.

Academia Antonia Alonso

Organizational: Does Not Meet Standard
Financial: Meets Standard

  • Did not submit payroll internal control plan to the Division of Accounting upon request
  • Ongoing Charter School Office monitoring of the charter school’s website found that documents relating to financial oversight were not posted as required by code at multiple points during the reporting period. These included monthly financial statements, audited financial statements, Citizen Budget Oversight Committee (CBOC) agendas, CBOC minutes, and CBOC notice.
  • FY15 Audit Results:
  • 2 material weaknesses (#2015-01 and #2015-02)
  • Ongoing Charter School Office monitoring of the charter school’s website found that documents relating to governance were not posted as required by code at multiple points during the reporting period. These included Board of Directors meeting minutes and Board of Directors meeting agendas.
  • No evidence of completion of educator or administrator evaluations as required by law
  • Highly-Qualified Teacher (HQT) requirement not met (21.4%)

Academy of Dover

Organizational: Does Not Meet Standard
Financial: Does Not Meet Standard

  • Misuse of funds by now-former School Leader identified by Delaware Auditor of Accounts in June 23, 2015 report:
  • Poor internal controls identified by Delaware Auditor of Accounts in June 23, 2015 report
  • Did not submit payroll internal control plan to Division of Accounting upon request
  • Ongoing Charter School Office monitoring of the charter school’s website found that documents relating to financial oversight were not posted as required by code at multiple points during the reporting period. These included monthly financial statements, audited financial statements, Citizen Budget Oversight Committee (CBOC) agendas, CBOC minutes, and CBOC meeting notices
  • FY15 Audit Results: Qualified opinion
  • 2 material weaknesses (#2014-003 and #2015-001)
    1 instance of noncompliance (#2015-001)
  • Non-compliance with State Employees’, Officers’, and Officials’ Code of Conduct by now-former School Principal
  • Ongoing Charter School Office monitoring of the charter school’s website found that documents relating to governance were not posted as required by code at multiple points during the reporting period. These included Board of Directors meeting minutes, Board of Directors meeting agendas, and Board of Directors meeting notice
  • As noted in formal review, started year without accountability systems for school leader – put in place after school leader departed
  • Substantiated incident involving teacher violence against student
  • Highly-Qualified Teacher (HQT) requirement not met (93.5%)

Campus Community

Organizational: Meets Standard
Financial: Meets Standard

  • Highly-Qualified Teacher (HQT) requirement not met (81.6%)

Charter School of Wilmington

Organizational: Not produced by DOE (Red Clay)
Financial: Meets Standard

Delaware Academy of Public Safety & Security

Organizational: Does Not Meet Standard
Financial: Falls Far Below Standard

  • Promotion and graduation requirements not met, including scheduling and transcript verification
  • Attendance goal of 95% not met (90.6%)
  • Highly-Qualified Teacher (HQT) requirement not met (84.9%)

*Editor’s Note: While I am not focusing heavily on the financial portions of these, I do want to note this school has been rated Falls Far Below Standard in financial for FY12, FY14 and FY15 and was Does Not Meet in FY13.

Delaware College Prep

Organizational: Not produced by DOE (Red Clay)
Financial: Falls Far Below Standard

*Editor’s Note: Similar to the last school, DCP was Does Not Meet for financial in FY11 and FY12, and was Falls Far Below in FY13, FY14, and FY15

Delaware Military Academy

Organizational: Not produced by DOE (Red Clay)
Financial: Not ready yet

Early College High School

Organizational: Not Ready Yet
Financial: Not Ready Yet

EastSide Charter School

Organizational: Meets Standard
Financial: Meets Standard

  • Social Studies participation rate of 95% on state assessment not met (93.50%)
  • Children’s Internet Protection Act/E-Rate: Non-compliant Internet Safety Policy and Internet Safety Curriculum
  • Division of Accounting initial review of Pcard policies found one or more areas of non-compliance with state policies; revised policies were submitted and found to be in compliance.
  • Division of Accounting review of payroll policies resulted in rating of “weak” (potential ratings include “strong,” “adequate,” “lacking,” or “weak”)
  • Alternative administrator evaluation framework not yet approved by the Department as required by 14 Del. C. § 1270(f)
  • Failure to record four substantiated incidents of bullying (since corrected)
  • Failure to post Delaware Department of Justice Ombudsman information to school website (since corrected)
  • Highly-Qualified Teacher (HQT) requirement not met (65.9%)

Family Foundations Academy

Organizational: Does Not Meet Standard
Financial: Meets Standard

  • Misuse of funds by now-former school leaders during the reportable period
  • Division of Accounting review of payroll policies resulted in rating of “weak” (potential ratings include “strong,” “adequate,” “lacking,” or “weak
  • Ongoing Charter School Office monitoring of the charter school’s website found that documents relating to financial oversight were not posted as required by code at multiple points during the reporting period. These included monthly financial statements, Citizen Budget Oversight Committee (CBOC) agendas, and CBOC minutes
  • FY15 Audit Results: Qualified opinion on financial statements
    Adverse opinion on CFDA 84.010, Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies
    3 material weaknesses (#2015-01, #2015-02 and #2015-03)
    1 significant deficiency (#2015-04)
    2 instances of noncompliance (#2015-01 & #2015-04)
  • Note: Family Foundations Academy experienced near-complete turnover within its Board of Directors and school leadership team in January 2015, with additional changes made over the reporting period that resulted in significant changes to governance policies and procedures. The Organizational Framework Report includes data from the entire reporting period. In the development of this report and rating, the Department attempted to identify which areas of non-compliance can be attributable to individuals no longer associated with the school.
  • Non-compliance with State Employees’, Officers’, and Officials’ Code of Conduct by now-former school leaders during the reportable period; In response, charter school board implemented a new organizational chart, made staffing changes, and implemented new employee management policies
  • Ongoing Charter School Office monitoring of the charter school’s website found that documents relating to governance were not posted as required by code at multiple points until December 2014. These included Board of Directors meeting minutes, Board of Directors meeting agendas, and Board of Directors meeting notice
  • No evidence of completion of educator or administrator evaluations as required by law
  • Failure to post Delaware Department of Justice Ombudsman information to school website (since corrected)
    Highly-Qualified Teacher (HQT) requirement not met (85.9%)

First State Montessori Academy

Organizational: Meets Standard
Financial: Meets Standard

  • Did not submit payroll internal control plan to the Division of Accounting upon request
  • Ongoing Charter School Office monitoring of the charter school’s website found that documents relating to financial oversight were not posted as required by code at multiple points during the reporting period; these included monthly financial statements and Citizen Budget Oversight Committee (CBOC) minutes (since corrected)
  • Ongoing Charter School Office monitoring of the charter school’s website found that documents relating to governance were not posted as required by code at multiple points during the reporting period; these included Board of Directors meeting minutes and Board of Directors meeting agendas (since corrected)
  • Highly-Qualified Teacher (HQT) requirement not met (78.6%)

Gateway Lab School

Organizational: Meets Standard
Financial: Meets Standard

  • Social Studies participation rate of 95% on state assessment not met (94.11%)
  • Use of PCard by school personnel absent prior approval from Division of Accounting following unanticipated change in personnel – no improper expenditures identified
  • Division of Accounting review of payroll policies resulted in rating of “weak” (potential ratings include “strong”, “adequate”, “lacking”, or “weak”.
  • Ongoing Charter School Office monitoring of the charter school’s website found that monthly financial statements were not posted as required by code at multiple points during the reporting period (since corrected)
  • Ongoing Charter School Office monitoring of the charter school’s website found that annual report was not posted as required by code at multiple points during the reporting period (since corrected)
  • Highly-Qualified Teacher (HQT) requirement not met (86.0%)


Kuumba Academy

Organizational: Meets Standard
Financial: Meets Standard

  • Division of Accounting initial review of Pcard policies found one or more areas of non-compliance with state policies; revised policies were submitted and found to be in compliance
  • Ongoing Charter School Office monitoring of the charter school’s website found that documents relating to financial oversight were not posted as required by code at multiple points during the reporting period. These included monthly financial statements, audited financial statements, Citizen Budget Oversight Committee (CBOC) agendas, and CBOC minutes (since corrected)
  • Ongoing Charter School Office monitoring of the charter school’s website found that documents relating to governance were not posted as required by code at multiple points during the reporting period. These included Board of Directors meeting minutes and Board of Directors meeting agendas
  • Ongoing Charter School Office monitoring of the charter school’s website found that the charter school’s annual report was not posted as required by code at multiple points during the reporting period
  • Reporting requirements – Failure to report discipline incidents (since corrected)
  • Highly-Qualified Teacher (HQT) requirement not met (59.6%)

Las Americas Aspiras

Organizational: Meets Standard
Financial: Meets Standard

  • Division of Accounting review of payroll policies resulted in rating of “lacking” (potential ratings include “strong,” “adequate,” “lacking,” or “weak.”)
  • Reporting requirements – failure to include a reason for bullying incident as required by 14 Del. C. §411D(b)(2)(k) (since corrected)

MOT Charter School

Organizational: Meets Standard
Financial: Meets Standard

  • Division of Accounting initial review of Pcard policies found one or more areas of non-compliance with state policies; revised policies were submitted and found to be in compliance.
  • Division of Accounting review of payroll policies resulted in rating of “lacking” (potential ratings include “strong,” “adequate,” “lacking,” or “weak.”)
  • Reporting requirements – failure to include a reason for substantiated bullying incidents as required by 14 Del. C. § 411D(b)(2)(k) (since corrected)

Newark Charter School

Organizational: Meets Standard
Financial: Meets Standard

  • Division of Accounting initial review of Pcard policies found one or more areas of non-compliance with state policies; revised policies were submitted and found to be in compliance.

Odyssey Charter School

Organizational: Does Not Meet Standard
Financial: Falls Far Below Standard

  • Division of Accounting initial review of Pcard policies found one or more areas of non-compliance with state policies; revised policies were submitted and found to be in compliance.
  • Ongoing Charter School Office monitoring of the charter school’s website found that documents relating to financial oversight were not posted as required by code at multiple points during the reporting period. These included monthly financial statements, Citizen Budget Oversight Committee (CBOC) agendas, and CBOC minutes
  • CBOC did not operate as a distinct public body from Board of Directors until April 2015
  • CBOC meeting minutes from July 2014 to September 2014 mispresented as meetings of a distinct public body
  • Ongoing Charter School Office monitoring of the charter school’s website found that documents relating to governance were not posted as required by code at multiple points during the reporting period. These included Board of Directors meeting minutes and Board of Directors meeting agendas.
  • Board of Directors meetings in December 2014 and January 2015 closed to the public
  • From July 2014 to January 2015, Board of Directors bylaws stated that an Executive Committee could meet in violation of Open Meeting Law meeting access, notice, agenda, and minutes requirements.

Positive Outcomes

Organizational: Meets Standard
Financial: Meets Standard

  • Social Studies participation rate of 95% on state assessment not met (90.00%)
  • Non-compliant with Title I, Part A: Schoolwide Plans
  • Non-compliant with Title II, Part A: Highly Qualified Teachers (HQT) and Highly Qualified Paraprofessionals (HQP)
  • Non-compliant with Perkins: Secondary Career and Technical Education (CTE)
  • Division of Accounting initial review of Pcard policies found one or more areas of non-compliance with state policies; revised policies were submitted and found to be in compliance.
  • Division of Accounting review of payroll policies resulted in rating of “lacking” (potential ratings include “strong,” “adequate,” “lacking,” or “weak.”)
  • Reporting requirements – failure to include a reason for substantiated bullying incidents as required by 14 Del. C. § 4112D(b)(2)(k) (since corrected)
  • Highly-Qualified Teacher (HQT) requirement not met (84.1%)

Prestige Academy

Organizational: Meets Standard
Financial: Falls Far Below Standard

  • Social Studies participation rate of 95% on state assessment not met (94.03%)
  • Education of Homeless Students – Did not provide budget upon request
  • Non-compliant PCard internal control policies (since corrected)
  • Ongoing Charter School Office monitoring of the charter school’s website found that documents relating to financial oversight were not posted as required by code at multiple points during the reporting period. These included monthly financial statements, audited financial statements, Citizen Budget Oversight Committee (CBOC) agendas, CBOC minutes, and CBOC meeting notice (since corrected)
  • Reporting requirements – failure to correctly report crimes as required by 14 Del. C. § 4112, and failure to code students as being placed in a Consortium Discipline Alternative Program as required by 14 DE Admin. C. 611.3.0 (since corrected)
  • Highly-Qualified Teacher (HQT) requirement not met (64.5%)

Providence Creek Academy

Organizational: Does Not Meet Standard
Financial: Meets Standard

  • Division of Accounting review of payroll policies resulted in rating of “weak” (potential ratings include “strong,” “adequate,” “lacking,” or “weak.”)
  • FY15 Audit Results:
    4 material weaknesses (#2015-001, #2015-002, #2015-003, and #2015-004)
    1 instance of noncompliance (#2015-002)
  • Misuse of funds by now-former employee during the reportable period; upon discovery, the charter school reported concerns to State Auditor of Accounts and implemented new oversight policies
  • Non-compliance with State Employees’, Officers’, and Officials’ Code of Conduct; upon discovery, the charter school board implemented a new organizational chart, made staffing changes, and implemented new employee management policies
  • School leader evaluation not completed for 2014-15, due to October 2014 resignation of Board of Directors member trained in DPAS evaluation system and unavailability of training opportunities until Summer 2015; charter school reported that training was completed after the reporting period and the evaluation was in progress as of the date of publication of this report
  • Reporting requirements – failure to record a substantiated criminal violation by a staff member in eSchool as required by 14 Del. C. § 4112 (recorded September 2015) and failure to include a reason for substantiated bullying incidents as required by 14 Del. C. § 411D(b)(2)(k) (since corrected)
  • Highly-Qualified Teacher (HQT) requirement not met (85.5%)

Sussex Academy

Organizational: Meets Standard
Financial: Meets Standard

  • Non-compliant with Title II, Part A: HQT/HQP; Professional Development Activities; Budget vs. Expenditures
  • Division of Accounting initial review of Pcard policies found one or more areas of non-compliance with state policies; revised policies were submitted and found to be in compliance.

Thomas Edison

Organizational: Meets Standard
Financial: Meets Standard

  • Children’s Internet Protection Act/E-Rate: Non-compliant Internet Safety Policy and Internet Safety Curriculum (since corrected)
  • Division of Accounting initial review of Pcard policies found one or more areas of non-compliance with state policies; revised policies were submitted and found to be in compliance.
  • Ongoing Charter School Office monitoring of the charter school’s website found that documents relating to governance were not posted as required by code at multiple points during the reporting period. These included Board of Directors meeting minutes and Board of Directors meeting agendas (since corrected)
  • E-Rate reporting (since corrected)
  • Reporting requirements – failure to include a reason for bullying incident as required by 14 Del. C. § 411D(b)(2)(k) (since corrected)

Sample Report:

Link To All The Reports

State Rep Kim Williams Public Comment On Family Foundations Academy, Wow!

Go Kim!  I’m glad to see a legislator getting involved in education matters like this.  She found this out in a few weeks.  Imagine if the DOE took that active a role in what goes on at these charters?