Delaware Met Charter Revoked By State Board of Education in 4-1 Vote

Delaware Met is finally up, at 5:52pm.  Jennifer Nagourey with the Charter School Office is going over the reasons why they are on formal review.  Talking about staffing, school discipline, training for staff, criminal activity, lack of an organizational capability, financial viability, and so forth.

Secretary Godowsky said as he looked at the information presented.  Talking about special education, school culture, etc.  While he is encouraged by the school’s hope to improved, he is disappointed they didn’t use their two year planning period effectively.

Secretary Godowsky agrees with the Charter School Accountability Committee decision and requests assent of the State Board of Education to revoke Delaware Met’s charter and the school to be closed by the end of this marking period, January 22nd.

Dr. Gray is giving the motion.  First, Seconded.  Discussion.  Heffernan: “It’s a mess.  There is no excuse for not being ready.”
Dr. Gray is talking about a charter school closure in mid-January.  She is asking how it happens?  Nagourney is explaining the DOE reaches out to parents to explain the closure process.  Heffernan said the feeder schools have to take them back.  Deputy Secretary of Education David Blowman (for now) is explaining January 22nd would be a natural break for the students since it is the end of the marking period.

Heffernan is asking why this happened.  He said in looking at their updates, they were more worried about recruiting students and he didn’t see any real planning for other stuff until this past August.  Blowman is saying it is very difficult to open a new school.  He thinks there needs to be another look at how they approve schools.

The question is being asked about if the funding will follow the students back to their feeder schools.  Blowman said it is the state’s intention to make that happen.  Blowman is talking about how 59 out of 59 IEPs were out of compliance.  The staffing levels at a maximum got to 3 1/2 to 4 even though they were eligible for 9 units based on the number of special education students on IEPs.  There wasn’t enough staff to cover their needs.  Blowman is saying an IEP isn’t just a document, it is a federally binding document that governs the services a student with a disability gets in the school.

Melendez is talking about the safety concerns and other students coming to the school.  Blowman said at the end of the day, the CSAC was not convinced the climate was getting better.  Coverdale is saying a Del Met student is not a Cab Calloway student and the starting point in building relationships with these students is harder when kids come from trauma.

Heffernan is saying this is a very severe action to take but what are the other options.  He said he could never figure out how many students left the school throughout this process.  Two members of the Del Met board are in the audience.  Coverdale is saying he isn’t convinced the kids will be better off in their feeder pattern schools.  Blowman said the final meeting with Del Met was 4 1/2 hours long and he is stressing their recommendation was the students will be safer in their feeder schools.  Those students would be better served for the remainder of the school year.  He said it was not an easy decision to make.

Godowsky said there will be discussions with charters in the area about students potentially choicing into them as well.  Heffernan can’t understand how Del Met miscalculated.  Heff is asking about how the funding issues even work.  He said the funding will be prorated.  Nobody knows how much staff is left that are certified teachers.  Gray is saying some students who were in alternative schools may not be able to go back to their feeder patterns.  Nagourney said Charter School Office is working to make sure no students fall through the cracks.  A member of the audience named CEO Hope said “I’ll take them, I’ll take them.”

Donna Johnson is saying many students were misinformed and thought they would have to sit home until the end of the school year based on comments at the 2nd public hearing.  Dr. Gray is asking about the written response to the initial public hearing and who wrote that response.  Innovative Schools wrote the response.  She is asking where the official response is from the school’s board to address the deficiencies in the school.  Nagourney said she got something from the board today but it was after the official public comment period.  Godowsky is bringing it home and saying every single area of review was a serious problem.  He said he came to this conclusion in the best interest of the Delaware Met students.

The Delaware State Board of Education is getting ready to vote…

Gray reads the motion, four yes for revocation, one nay (Coverdale).  Delaware Met is done as of January 22nd.

*This article has been corrected to reflect the actual vote of 4-1, not 6-1.  Board member Whittaker was absent, and I want to say Melendez or Bunting were not there for the vote.