Nevada Ed-Watch 9/13/19

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? The SPCSA sponsors and oversees public charter schools across the State of Nevada. The Authority consists of nine 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? SPCSA members meet once monthly)– on Fridays.

Click here for SPCSA meeting schedule and materials.

Can community members engage at SPCSA Board Meetings? All meetings are 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). Members of the public are invited to attend at either location. A time for public comment is provided at the beginning (for agenda items) and at the conclusion (on any matter) of each Board meeting. There is a time limit of three minutes per speaker. Members of the community providing testimony must fill out a visitor card, available on-site the day of the meeting.

Click here for a list of all SPCSA Members.

Click here for a list of all SPCSA sponsored schools.

Friday, September 13, 2019
State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting?

Public Comment
A member of the public requested the SPCSA board move meetings to the evening rather than during the workday to improve accessibility.

The Board Heard Updates From Schools in Receivership

  • Argent Preparatory Academy
    • Argent Prep is selling their final asset, a parcel of land, for $2.25 million. The buyer, Carson Montessori School, requested a 10-day extension to address issues with financing and acquire a Special Use Permit.
  • Quest Academy
    • Quest Academy resolved its legal and financial obligations, however is currently engaged in litigation regarding its facility.
  • Discovery Charter school
    • Discovery Charter School reported a strong start to the new school year with positive family engagement.
    • The school’s new board held their first meeting and elected a president and treasurer.
    • Click here to see Discovery’s full written update.
    • Discovery Charter School must continue providing quarterly updates to the Authority through the end of the 2020 school year.

Board Heard Updates on the Nevada Virtual Academy Litigation

Nevada Virtual Academy (NVA) filed a complaint with the court challenging the conditions that the Authority Board approved in 2018, when their charter application was approved. NVA filed an injunction to operate under a court order without a charter contract. No injunction was ordered. A trial is set for May 2020.

Board Approved Charter Contract Amendments (4-2 vote)

The following charter contract amendments were approved:

  • Oasis Academy
    • An amendment allowing for an annual increase of 24 students per year for 9-years.
  • Doral Academy of Northern Nevada
    • A good cause exemption allowing an increase in the enrollment cap from 636 students to 814 students (the total number of students currently enrolled in the school). Representatives of Doral Academy of Northern Nevada stated that they over-enrolled the school due to an administrative error– confusing the enrollment cap for the Northern Nevada Campus with the cap at another Doral Academy campus.
    • The Authority Board approved the amendment only for the current school year, to avoid impact on the students and families enrolled.
    • The Authority Board also suggested the school implements a weighted lottery process to ensure its demographic makeup is consistent with the community that it serves.

Board Approved the Charter School Performance Framework Guidance Document

The board approved the revised guidance document for the Charter School Performance Framework. The objective of the performance framework is to provide charter school boards and leaders with clear expectations, fact-based oversight, and timely feedback while protecting charter school’s autonomy for local decision-making within the constraints of state and federal laws.

Click here to see the document.

Board Approved the Site Evaluation Handbook

The board approved technical changes to the SPCSA Site Evaluation Handbook. The changes included updates based on legislation passed in the 2019 Legislative Session, plus updates based on learnings from the first year of completed site evaluations.

Click here to see the handbook.

Board Heard an Overview of the Nevada School Performance Framework

SPCSA staff presented the board with an overview of the Nevada School Performance Framework. 2018-2019 school year performance data will be available on the Nevada Report Card website on Monday, September 16.

There are 102 star ratings across SPCSA-authorized school campuses. This number accounts for single campuses that include multiple school levels (elementary, middle, and high school). Each school level receives its own star rating. 

The Board Heard Updates on Strategic Planning for the SPCSA

The SPCSA is developing a 5-year strategic plan that will outline its vision, mission, values, organizational goals, and strategies for achieving goals.

The Strategic Plan will be inclusive of the SPCSA’s Growth Management Plan, Local Education Agency (LEA) Support Plan, and Organizational Effectiveness Plan.

The SPCSA is also creating a Growth Management Plan, as mandated during the 2019 legislative session.

SPCSA staff will engage stakeholders as the Growth Management Plan is developed– which will include targeted outreach to key stakeholders, working groups with a diverse group of stakeholders, and more broad outreach through surveys.

Staff will present the Growth Management Plan and the Strategic Plan to the SPCSA board for feedback. The goal is to present a final draft to the board during the December 13th meeting.

Click here to see the presentation.

The Board Heard Updates from SPCSA Staff

  • Welcoming new board members, Mallory Cyr, Don Soifer, and Dr. Tonia Holmes-Sutton. There are still two board seats pending appointment.
  • The December board meeting will be held on December 13th.
  • 9 new school applications in this cycle
    • Applications are available online for review by the public, including a link for members of the public to provide comment regarding the application.
    • SPCSA staff anticipate bringing new charter school applications to the board for consideration during the November and December board meetings.
  • 7 charter schools are up for contract renewals. SPCSA staff anticipate bringing applications for renewal before the board in the November and December board meetings.

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