Mapleton Charter School at Whitehall is officially dead! In November, they handed their charter back to their authorizer, the Delaware Department of Education. The school submitted a major modification request in September to move the school to Dover, but at their first Charter School Accountability Committee meeting, nobody showed up! They did indicate this was going to happen with the charter, but there was no application on the DOE website. If they applied at the end of 2016, and they were approved by the State Board of Education, chances are they would not even open until August of 2018.
Mapleton Charter School has withdrawn its major modification request to move to Dover and change their name to Discovery Charter School according to David Paulk with the Dover Post. I have to give the board a heads up for recognizing they were not prepared to open up in the 2016-2017 school year and avoiding some of the huge mistakes like Delaware Met this year. I admit I was concerned when I looked at their modification request and only saw a budget for one special education teacher with an anticipated 200 students. You know at least 30 of them would be students with disabilities, if not more. But perhaps they recognized this along with other matters and they are being proactive.
Allison May with the Delaware DOE said:
“If Mapleton decides to withdraw its modification application and forfeit its charter, then the school approved to open in Middletown next year will not open,” she said. “The involved parties could submit a new application for another school, including one in Dover as their modification application suggested. If so, that would go through the entire application process again just like any other new applicant.”
But not so fast, because House Bill 56 with Amendment #1 states no new charter schools shall open in Delaware unless they were previously approved until June 30th, 2018, or until the State Board makes a better plan for all of this. From HB56:
Section 2. There shall be a moratorium on all new charter schools opening until June 30, 2018 or until the State Board of Education develops a strategic plan for the number of charter, district, and vocational-technical schools in the State, whichever occurs first. The aforementioned strategic plan shall be based on a systematic evaluation of educational needs using national models and best practices that align with the public education system, such as the National Association of Charter School Authorizers guidelines.
This strategic plan is the Statewide Review of Educational Opportunities currently under review by the State Board of Education and the Delaware Department of Education. While I am sure they will be completed with this prior to 6/30/18, how does that work with applications? If they can’t approve a charter for opening in 2017 if the review isn’t done, how can this school open in 2017? This will be one to watch.
The legislation passed last year which placed a moratorium on new charter schools applies to Wilmington
When you submit a major modification to the Delaware DOE, you would think you would have the good sense to show up at your own Charter School Accountability Committee meeting to present your case. This was not the case for Mapleton Charter School of Whitehall. They sent an Innovative Schools representative to read a brief statement. The rep asked for a continuance which the CSAC granted.
Last month, Mapleton submitted an application for a Major Modification to change their name to Discovery Charter School and move their school location to Dover. They had a huge application for the modification, and over the summer they had a very large and extensive community survey they sent to numerous residents, churches and organizations in the area where they want to move. Why in the world they would drop the ball and not show up to one of the most important meetings for their cause is beyond me.
It seems to me like charters are relying on Innovative Schools to run everything. Innovative Schools is just a management organization. They are NOT the actual school. This school knew about this meeting for weeks. I would have not granted a continuance to them.
Get ready Dover! Mapleton Charter School of Whitehall wants to change their name to Discovery Charter School and open up in Dover, Delaware. A decision will be made my the December State Board of Education meeting on December 17th. This would be the 4th regular charter school to open in Dover if approved, following Campus Community, Academy of Dover, and Early College High School. They also want to lower their enrollment from 600 to 450 because of the demographics of Dover.