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, April 23, 2021
State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting
What happened at this meeting?
Members of the public provided comment regarding:
- A request for the Authority to exercise their influence to end the mask-wearing mandate.
SPCSA Executive Directors’ and SPCSA Staff Report:
- COVID-19 Update
- On April 13th, Governor Sisolak released Directive 044 that outlines protocols for the safe return to work and school. Director Feiden explained how the Governor’s directive will affect public charter schools and the Authority.
- Initiatives Related to Serving All Students Equitably
- The SPCSA has provided school accountability technical assistance training and informational sessions for schools on the Project Aware grant. The Project Aware technical assistance working group will plan trainings focusing on topics including youth mental health, restorative justice, and the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) for school sites.
- Update on Notice of Intent
- In April 2021, the SPCSA collected 29 Notices of Intent to apply to launch a public charter school in Nevada, and schools intending to apply were invited to a pre-application training. Schools must submit an application by July, 15th 2021.
Board Approved COVID-19 Guidance for Schools
Under SPCSA’s COVID-19 guidance, schools are required to maintain a minimum of 3 feet social distancing for students and 6 feet social distancing for adults at SPCSA-sponsored schools, including within school buildings, on school grounds, and within school transportation vehicles for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.
Large gatherings of 250 people or more, which require a Large Gathering Plan pursuant to Directive 044, allow schools to establish any capacity limits as an exception. The guidance also allows schools to continue with their existing sanitation protocols as determined at the school level and to make adjustments in line with any updated public health guidance.
Click here to read the full COVID-19 update.
Board Heard Overview on Federal Emergency Grant Funding
SPCSA is allocated funds under the following funding programs:
- $4.6 million in ESSER I funding — Schools received $95.24 for each student qualifying for Free or Reduced-Price Lunch (FRL) and $85.17 for each student not qualifying for FRL.
- Approximately $888,000 in GEER I funding.
- Approximately $2.9 million under Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), commonly referred to as AB3.
- $23.8 million from Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act funds, or ESSER II — Schools were allocated funding based on a straight per-pupil allocation with additional weights on enrollment as follows: 30% for FRL, 110% for IEP, and 50% for ELL.
- Approximately $53.4 million through the American Recovery Plan, or ARP ESSER, which was signed into law on March 11, 2021 and provides several types of funding for K-12 Education.
- The second round of GEER funding was allocated to Governors for the same purposes and with the same flexibility as the first round of funding. The SPCSA has not received any information about allocations of the second round of GEER funding, or GEER II.
Click here to read the full overview of Federal Emergency Funding.
Board Heard Public Comment from Charter School Leaders on Federal Grant Funding
School leaders from Equipo Academy, Futuro Academy, and Doral Academy shared presentations on how the schools are utilizing received funding to support students and families. School leaders also requested that SPCSA’s current ESSER II allocation methodology be reevaluated, stating concerns that Title 1 schools with a high percentage of FRL and/or high-needs students will be funded inequitably compared to CCSD schools.
The SPCSA board recommended that SPCSA staff create a follow-up comparison that shows allocation figures of CCSD in comparison to SPCSA allocation figures.
Board Heard Presentation on the Proposed Plan For The Safe Return to In-Person Instruction
Under the SPCSA’s proposed Plan for the Safe Return to In-Person Instruction, each charter school is required to have a re-opening plan pursuant to Emergency Directive 022. As documented in the proposed plan, SCPSA will approach a safe return to in-person instruction based on the following principles:
- Clear Guardrails and Oversight to continue establishing minimum standards, where appropriate, and conducting compliance oversight of emergency directives
- Flexibility and Support that honors school-level decision-making while providing support
- Consistent Communication for information sharing between the SPCSA and schools
Pursuant to the NDE’s Framework for a Safe, Efficient, and Equitable Return to School Buildings as well as the U.S. Department of Education’s ED COVID-19 Handbook, Volume 2: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students’ Needs, the plan also addresses five key areas of focus:
- Communicating with Schools and Stakeholders
- Establishing a Safe Learning Environment
- Meeting the social, emotional, and mental health needs of students
- Accelerating learning
- Charter School Re-Opening Plans
Click here to read the full SPCSA Plan For The Safe Return to In-Person Instruction.
Board Approved Charter School Contract Amendments
The board approved two charter school contract amendments:
- Nevada State High School was approved to defer the opening of Campus #8 under the Flagship contract to the 2022–23 school year and to be located at 4280 W. Craig Road, North Las Vegas, NV 89031.
Click here to read the full SPCSA recommendation memo for Nevada State High School.
- Girls Athletic Leadership School (GALS)’s was approved to relocate its campus to a new address and to reduce the enrollment cap from 270 to 160 students for the 2021-22 school year.
Click here to read the full SPCSA recommendation memo for GALS.
Board Approved Revolving Loan Applications for New Charter Schools
The board approved revolving loan applications for three new charter schools that are planned to open in the Fall of 2021: TEACH Las Vegas, Sage Collegiate, and Las Vegas Collegiate. SPCSA shared feedback about the applications, including that the applications were compelling and complete, and that the schools demonstrated a strong plan for repayment of the loan and a need for additional start-up cash.
Click here to read the full SPCSA recommendation memo for Teach Las Vegas.
Click here to read the full SPCSA recommendation memo for Sage Collegiate.
Click here to read the full SPCSA recommendation memo Las Vegas Collegiate.
Board Approved New Charter School Application
The board approved Battle Born Academy to open in August 2022.
Click here to read the full SPCSA recommendation memo for Battle Born Academy.
Board Heard Updates on 2021 Legislative Session
SPCSA General Counsel Ryan Herrick provided updates on education bills that the Authority is following:
- Assembly Bill 68 – AB-68 introduces legislation by the SPCSA regarding changes to charter school application periods, charter contracts, and grade level requirements. Director Fieden presented comments on this bill at the March 18th hearing to the Assembly of Education. The bill was amended and recommended to pass as amended.
- Assembly Bill 109 – AB-109 removes an existing statute that allows for up to 30% of charter school teachers to be unlicensed.
- Assembly Bill 419 – AB-419 adds governance training requirements for charter school boards and the SPCSA board; requires certain reporting by charter schools that contract with Educational Management Organizations (EMOs); requires the SPCSA to report to the Interim Education Committee on certain items.
- Senate Bill 126 – SB-126 requires libraries and librarians in charter schools.
- Senate Bill 173 – SB-173 directs emergency federal funding to summer school in order to address student learning loss. Districts and charter schools may opt-in to the program.
- Senate Bill 215 – SB-215 changes provisions related to distance education.
- Senate Bill 363 – SB-363 financial reporting related to funds paid to Educational Management Organizations (EMOs).
Click here to view SPCSA’s 2021 legislative updates.
Long-Range Calendar Update
New charter applications will be brought to the May board meeting and updates on American Recovery Funding will be included in an upcoming agenda.
Click here to see the long range calendar.
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