Thursday, January 30, 2014

WA State Charter Commission Mtg - Part Two

First application - CAL Elementary - is denied, 8-0.  Commissioners cited the evaluators' "deny" and noted not financially ready with little community support/input.

Second application - Cedar River - is denied, 8-0. 

Third application - Coral Academy of Science - the probable Gulen-based charter - is denied, 8-0.

Cyndi Willams, Commissioner said it was a good application but not wide-ranging for a 10-year existing school group and that the Commission had made a real decision with charter applications with groups with prior models to look at their outcomes for evidence.  They also left out Title I dollars in finances and that showed a "real lack of knowledge."
Steve Sundquist said that the group could be Gulen and it was something they could look into in the future.

Fourth application - Evergreen Academy - denied 8-0.

Fifth application - Excel - is first Charter Commission approved charter application but with a 6-2 vote.

 Extensive discussion over this one on two main issues.  Commissioner McGuire cited concerns over heavily structured day (down to how students are greeted and answer back at the door) and discipline.  Another issue is the citation by Excel as getting a loan for $500k.  A condition is attached that Excel assures that the loan is not secured by public funds, either now in the future per RCW. If so, they must be able to show an alternative source.  As well, 50% of teacher evaluation is based on student scores. Vigorous discussion around discipline issues as well as teacher issues (including merit pay).

Sixth application - First Place - approved, 7-0 (with one abstaining by Larry Wright)
Substantial discussion around making sure that First Place, already a K-5 school serving students experiencing trauma, would be sure to follow the McKinney-Veto federal law around serving homeless students.  Assurances that they have been and follow per OSPI.

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