The Ed-Watch series is designed to increase access to information on what decisions are being made regarding public education in Clark County and Nevada.
State Public Charter School Authority (SPCSA)
What is the SPCSA & what are they responsible for? Considered one of Nevada’s school districts, the SPCSA sponsors and oversees public charter schools. The Authority consists of seven appointed members responsible for overseeing educational and operational standards and holding sponsored schools accountable to the academic achievement of students.
How often does the SPCSA Board meet? The SPCSA typically meets one a month, generally on Fridays.
Click here for SPCSA meeting schedule and materials.
Can community members engage at SPCSA Board Meetings? While all meetings of the SPCSA are typically held publicly at the Nevada Department of Education building in Carson City and the Nevada Department of Education building in Las Vegas (1st floor boardroom), all meetings are now held virtually due to the COVID-19 crisis. Members of the public may view the meeting online via the link on the SPCSA’s Public Notice web page and the agenda and any supporting materials can be found here. Public comment may be given on any agenda item at the beginning of the meeting, or public comment regarding any matter that is SPCSA-related may be given at the conclusion of each Board meeting. Members of the community giving public comment can utilize the following conference call line: 1-312-584-2401; extension 3952176# with a time limit of three minutes per speaker. Alternatively, public comment may be submitted in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org, and any such public comment received prior to the meeting will be provided to the Authority and included in the written minutes of the meeting.
Friday, December 3, 2021
State Public Charter School Authority Special Board Meeting
What happened at this meeting?
Board Heard Overview of the Organizational and Financial Performance Frameworks
In addition to the Academic Performance Framework, the Authority reviews each school’s financial and business/operations health aligned to the Financial and Organizational Performance Frameworks. The authority rates schools across these frameworks to ensure they are in compliance with laws, regulations, and the Authority’s policies. These are taken into consideration for charter school contract renewal. Schools that do not meet standards can be moved to the following interventions: Notice of Concern, Notice of Breath, and Notice of Intent to Revoke.
Schools will receive their preliminary rating reports in mid-December, with a full presentation of results coming before the Authority board at the January 28th meeting.
Click here to view the presentation.
Board Heard Overview of SPCSA Student Demographics
Presentation highlights on SPCSA enrollment rates:
- Total enrollment in SPCSA-authorized schools for the 2021-22 school year is 55,415 students, a 4.1% increase over the prior school year, making the SPCSA Nevada’s 3rd largest Local Education Agency (LEA) behind Clark and Washoe Counties.
- 43% of students in SPCSA-authorized schools are eligible for free or reduced lunch.
- Enrollment in SPCSA-authorized schools increased for students identifying as Asian, Black/African American, Two or More Races, or Hispanic/Latino, as well as for students qualifying for free and reduced lunch (FRL), students with disabilities (IEP), and English Language Learners (ELLs).
- Enrollment decreased for students identifying as White.
- Despite increased enrollment in student groups, when compared to the State, the SPCSA enrolled fewer students identifying as Hispanic/Latino, FRLs, IEPs, and ELLs, though the agency is making progress toward that goal.
Click here to view the presentation on student demographics.
Click here to view 2021-22 student enrollment data by school.
Board Heard Graduation Rates for SPCSA Class of 2020-2021
The 4-year graduation rate for students who graduated from SPCSA schools in May or June of 2021 was 86.8%., with 16 SPCSA schools reaching a graduation rate of 95% or higher. SPCSA students across all racial/ethnic categories, FRL, IEP, and ELL outperformed their peers across the state.
Click here to view the presentation on graduation rates.
Click here to view 2020-21 graduation rates by school.
Board Approved Charter Renewals
The following schools have been renewed for a six-year term:
- Nevada State High School “Flagship”
- Nevada State High School Meadowwood
- Sports Leadership and Management Academy (SLAM)
The following schools have been renewed for a four-year term:
Board Approved Changes in Enrollment Lottery Policies for Schools
Pinecrest Academy of Nevada will implement a weighted lottery giving 5.0 preference for students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. Click here to view the recommendation memo.
Founders Classical Academy will implement a weighted lottery giving 3.0 preference for students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch, and a weight of 4.0 for students with disabilities. Click here to view the recommendation memo.
Board Approved Battle Born Academy’s Application for Revolving Loan Fund
Loans via the SPCSA’s Revolving Loan Fund are provided to schools for year 1 start-up funds aligned to NRS 388A.435(2)(a), “preparing a charter school to commence its first year of operation.” Battle Born Academy’s Revolving loan fund application for $124,000 was approved by the authority board. The school is required to pay the loan back via 24 payments beginning in year two of operations at an interest rate of 3.25%.
Click here to view the Battle Born Academy recommendation memo.
Board Approved Updates to Plan for the Safe Return to In-Person Instruction
The Plan for the Safe Return to In-Person Instruction was initially introduced in and approved in June 2021 as a requirement to receive federal funds to facilitate the reopening of schools during the pandemic. One condition of the requirement is that plans are revisited regularly. The key changes to the document are aligned to updates to testing and masking protocols, which have changed or expanded since the initial plan was adopted. Additionally, the Authority will review and provide an update to the plan at a minimum of every six months.
Click here to view the plan.
Academic & Demographic Needs Assessment
The SPCSA is conducting its 2022 Academic and Demographic Needs assessment, which prioritizes the needs that the SPCSA will look for schools to meet in order to be approved. SPCSA is gathering input from various stakeholders including a community working group, school districts, and the Department of Education
Board Members provided input to Authority staff on what to consider in the needs assessment including foster and homeless youth, zipcodes that only have traditional district options (with consideration of available facilities), and transportation needs. Board members also discussed the need for schools to not only have plans for how they would serve students with needs, but also demonstrate that they are recruiting and serving those students.
Click here to view the needs assessment presentation.
Click here to view the 2021 Academic and Demographic Needs Assessment.
Board Heard a Presentation on SPCSA’s Grant Monitoring Protocols
The SPCSA facilitates two types of oversight monitoring: 1) Authorizing Oversight related compliance with state and federal statutes, school performance monitoring, and site evaluations; and (2) Federal and State Program Oversight related to compliance with state and federal regulations; monitoring grants for effective use and implementation, and onsite grant evaluations.
Pursuant to 2 CFR § 200.332, SPCSA responsibilities include ensuring grant sub-awards are clearly identified for the schools; evaluating the risk of noncompliance of each school; monitoring schools to ensure grants are used as authorized; ensuring schools are audited; and taking enforcement action when necessary to help schools comply with federal statutes, regulations, and sub-award terms and conditions.
SPCSA facilitates risk-based monitoring, differentiated monitoring based on the context of each school and the likelihood that the school will have a compliance or performance issue. For example, schools with lower risk receive less monitoring, which allows the SPCSA to be more efficient. SCPSA monitors the use of grant funds by schools to ensure health in the areas of student services and well-being, sound financial stewardship, and legal compliance.
Click here to view the grant monitoring presentation.
Long-Range Calendar (next 3 months)
Agenda items over the next three SPCSA board meetings are anticipated to include:
- Financial and Organizational Performance ratings
- Charter school application resubmissions
- Contract amendments related to expansions
- State of the SPCSA
- Updates from schools slated to open for the 2022-23 school year
- Interim legislative session updates
Click here to view the long-range calendar.