Nevada Ed-Watch 3/19/21

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, 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.

Click here for a list of all SPCSA Members.
Click here for a list of all SPCSA sponsored schools.

Friday, March 19, 2021

State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting? 

Members of the public provided comment regarding:

  • A request for a group of Title I charter schools to provide a presentation to the Authority at the next board meeting to share the current realities of their school communities and to discuss more strategic allocation of funds to schools that serve students and families disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

SPCSA Executive Directors’ and SPCSA Staff Report:

Report highlights:

  • COVID-19 Update
    • Director Feiden provided updates on the joint program with the Department of Health and Human Services and SPCSA for rapid testing at school sites. There are 15 total school sites approved for rapid testing beginning late March.
    • K-12 emergency education funds to date include ESSER I AND ESSER II, and pending funds from the New American Rescue Plan. SPCSA anticipates that schools can submit applications for ESSER II school funding in April and is waiting an update from the Nevada Department of Education on applications for the New American Rescue Plan allocations.  
  • 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 and Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) training. The focus of this grant is to incorporate MTSS support and provide restorative justice training for school sites.
    • Plans to launch a student sub-group data initiative are underway. The authority’s goal is to analyze student data, understand trends in student subgroups that are historically low performing. They plan to hold working groups to develop a system for identifying tracking student progress, identifying students for RTI and using student data to better inform how to support student subgroups.
    • The Authority will convene a subcommittee of the Community Working Group to discuss professional development opportunities on equity, diversity and inclusion.
  • Learning Recovery Efforts
    • In April 2021, the SPCSA will release a survey for schools to understand how the SPCSA can further support schools with learning recovery for the 2021-2022 school year.
  • Special Education Enrollment Monitoring
    • Beginning in March 2021, SPCSA staff will conduct enrollment monitoring activities to understand what barriers might exist for families with students who have special needs. SPCSA staff will pose as parents of children with special needs and contact schools to inquire about enrollment. Schools have been notified in advance of this monitoring activity. Any schools identified as having barriers through these calls will be provided technical assistance by the SPCSA.

Board Approved Charter School Contract Amendments

The board approved two charter school contract amendments:

  • Eagle Nevada Charter Schools was approved to defer opening until the 2022-23 school year in order to complete facility construction.

Click here to read updates from the school.

  • Signature Preparatory Academy was conditionally approved to acquire a facility that they are currently leasing, with no impact to their enrollment cap. Signature Prep must provide SPCSA with specific financing and debt information related to the acquisition of the facility.

Click here to read the full SPCSA recommendation.

Beard Heard Presentation About Opportunity 180 and their work in public education

Jana Wilcox Lavin, Executive Director of Opportunity 180 (O180), provided a presentation to the Authority about O180’s programs related to charter school launch and identified places of alignment with the SPCSA’s work.  Opportunity 180’s vision is a shared community North Star where every public school student graduates from high school college and career ready. O180 works across five levers toward the North Star: Great Schools, Good Governance, Good Data, Engaged Community, and Great Ideas. Opportunity 180 has resources available to support prospective schools that can be found on the website:

Board Heard Update on 2021 Legislative Session

SPCSA General Counsel Ryan Herrick provided updates on education bills that the Authority is following.

  • Assembly Bill 68 – AB68 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 – AB109 removes an existing statute that allows for up to 30% of charter school teachers to be unlicensed.
  • Assembly Bill 194 – AB194 is centered on restorative justice and discipline practices.
  • Assembly Bill 195 – AB195 creates an English Language Learner Bill of Rights.
  • Assembly Bill 253 – AB253 makes various changes to Open Meeting Law, including permanently allowing for virtual meetings. 
  • Senate Bill 173 – SB173 directs emergency federal funding to summer school in order to address student learning loss. Districts and charter schools may opt-in to the program.

Long-Range Calendar Update

New charter applications will be brought to the April board meeting and updates on New American Recovery Plan Funding will be included in an upcoming agenda.

Board members requested to have a discussion with Title I school leaders as brought up in public comment.

Click here to see the long-range calendar.

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