Are Vine Academy and Lean Tech Academy Circumventing State Code With Applications?

Delaware Charter Schools

House Bill 28.  Wilmington Education Committee.  Wilmington City Council.  All are calling for a “moratorium” on new charter school applications within the City of Wilmington.  House Bill 28 and the WEC are calling for a specific date, until June 30th 2017.

New charter school applicant Lean Tech Academy only specifies New Castle County, even though the application actually states “Identification of geographic area may be as specific as a neighborhood or as general as the city/town identified for the school location.”  New Castle County is pretty big.  I would think the applicants would have something a little more specific in terms of location.  One place they most likely won’t be opening this school is Wilmington based on current lines of thought.  In fact, Dr. Tony Allen specifically said today “There are no charter school applications for Wilmington.”

So I looked at their start-up proposal, and they actually list four specific city/towns in which to have their school: Bear, Odessa, Townsend or North Smyrna.  But first they have to secure financing before they can choose a location.  So they currently have no financing and no location.

Not that the other charter school applicant, Vine Academy, is too sure of things either.  They are choosing the following potential school district locations to open their school: Delmar, Laurel, Milford, Seaford, or Woodbridge.  Another very large geographic area.

I’m sorry, but if the applicants can’t base an impact on the local school district because they have no idea where the school is going to be, they should postpone any application until they have that information.  In my opinion, it is pure arrogance to assume a school has merit if you don’t have funding approved or even a location.

How can the State Board of Education authorize a new charter if the applicant doesn’t have this part of the state code ready, from Title 14, Chapter 5, Paragraph 511, Section C:

(3) In addition to meeting the approval criteria established in § 512 of this title, an authorizer considering an application for a new charter school or for a modification as described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section in which the increased enrollment will occur less than 18 months from the date of application (an “expansion”), shall also consider the potential positive and negative impact of the proposed new school or expansion on the schools and the community from which the charter school’s new students will likely be drawn. In reviewing the impact, the authorizer shall consider all information furnished to it during the application process and may exercise its reasonable discretion in determining whether the proposed new school or expansion is contrary to the best interests of the community to be served, including both those students likely to attend the charter school and those students likely to attend traditional public schools in the community.

Sounds to me like they will have to have specific locations nailed down by the end of February.  If not, they are in violation of state code.  Lean Tech has a very slow website, but I couldn’t even find one for Vine Academy.  Better get moving!