Nevada Ed-Watch 7/26/19

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 (2nd 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, July 26, 2019
State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting?

Public Comment
Members of the public shared their appreciation for the leadership of outgoing SPCSA chair, Jason Guinasso. Sami Randolph was also welcomed as the new Governor’s Appointee on the board.

The Board Discussed the Transition of New and Outgoing Board Members

The board discussed the following updates to the board make-up:

  • 3 current members are not seeking reappointment
  • 3 other current members will continue serving on the board
  • Sami Randolph is a new member appointed by the Governor
  • Additional board members must be appointed by the Speaker, the Majority Leader, and the State Board of Education (as mandated by AB78)

The State Board of Education is accepting SPCSA board member applications until August 13th at 5pm. Click here to see the application.

The Board voted to have the current Vice Chair of the board, Melissa Mackedon, play an interim Board Chair role until a new Chair and Vice Chair are selected. Board roles will be determined during the October board meeting following the transition of all 9 appointed board members.

The Board Approved the Academic & Demographic Needs Assessment

The SPCSA Board approved the Academic and Demographic Needs Assessment, an evaluation of student demographic information, the academic needs of students, and the needs of students who are at risk of dropping out. 

Click here to see the presentation.

Click here to see the report.

Charter applicants are required to meet at least one of the following academic, geographic or demographic needs:

  1. Serve and ensure the academic success (performance at or above grade level) of the following student populations:
    • Students who have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)
    • English Language Learners (ELL)
    • Students receiving Free or Reduced Price Lunch (FRL)
  2. Launch in neighborhoods with high concentrations of low-performing (1- and 2-star) schools in the following Clark County zip codes:
    • 89110
    • 89115
    • 89107
    • Click here to see a complete list of target zip codes across Nevada
  3. Have plans to prevent drop-outs for the following students who have been designated as at risk of dropping out of school:
    • Students who have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)
    • English Language Learners (ELL)
    • Students receiving Free or Reduced Price Lunch (FRL)

The Academic and Demographic Needs Assessment will be updated annually.

The Board Approved Charter Contract Amendment Applications

 The Board approved the following requests for charter contract amendments:

  • Request for Imagine Schools at Mountain View to terminate its transportation services
  • Request for Nevada State High School to relocate its Henderson Campus and open new administrative offices

The Board Heard from Schools Formerly Authorized by the Achievement School District (NV ASD)

The board heard from the following schools that were formerly authorized by the Nevada Achievement School District:

  • Democracy Prep at the Agassi Campus
  • Futuro Academy
  • Nevada Prep
  • Nevada Rise

Each of the schools reported a smooth transition from the NV ASD to the SPCSA, with minimal impact on the families they serve.

Click here to see profiles of each school listed above.

The Board Approved the Charter Contract for Explore Academy

The Board approved a contract with Explore Academy for launch in school year 2020-2021. 

 The following conditions must be met prior to launch:

  • Explore’s founding high school campus in New Mexico (currently “A” rated) must maintain a “C” or better rating on their state’s accountability rating system.
  • The school must launch in 89030, 89031, or 89032. If the school intends to locate outside of these zip codes, a contract amendment must be requested for approval.
  • The school must complete all standard pre-opening requirements.

The Board Terminated the Discovery Charter School Receivership + Approved Reconstitution of its Governing Body 

Discovery Charter School must continue providing quarterly updates and holding regular check-ins with the SPCSA through the end of the 2020 school year.

The school has a new leader in place, plus a newly appointed board that has been vetted by the SPCSA staff.

The Board Heard an Update on Argent Prep’s Receivership

Argent Preparatory Academy provided updates to the Board, which included:

  • Acceptance of a $2.4 million offer on the final asset, a parcel of land.
  • Within 30 days of the sale, exited staff will be paid severance in full (about $90,000 total). Receiver fees and other remaining school debts will also be paid. Remaining funds will go back to the state.

The Board Heard Updates on Nevada Connections Academy

Nevada Connections Academy presented their high school operations metrics for quarter four.


  • The 2019 anticipated high school graduation rate is 67%-69%
  • 95% of students were tested, which meets state participation requirements 
  • The charter is up for renewal in the fall, which will be evaluated based on school year 2018-19 academic data (Nevada School Performance Framework results)

The Board Heard Updates on Nevada Virtual Academy (NVA)

The Board heard a quarterly update on the progress towards closure of Nevada Virtual Academy’s elementary school.


  • NVA filed a complaint with the court challenging the conditions that the Authority Board approved in 2018, when NVA’s charter application was approved.
  • NVA filed an injunction to operate under a court order without a charter contract.
  • A preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled for August 2, 2019. 

The Board Heard a Presentation About 2018-19 School Site Evaluations

Based on trends from site visits completed throughout the 2018-19 school year, the SPCSA team recommended the following opportunities to improve the site evaluation process: 

  • Prepare “campus maps” for evaluators
  • Allow more time for staff to review documents
  • Identify areas of redundancy for schools that have multiple campuses
  • Offer training on the classroom observation rubric
  • Hold office hours for school leaders and stakeholders to ask questions

Click here to download the presentation.

The Board Heard Updates from the Executive Director

The Board heard the following updates from the SPCSA Executive Director: 

  • SPCSA Board Members
    • The first board meeting with new members will be August 30, 2019.
  • Sponsorship Fees
    • The SPCSA changed its sponsorship fee to 1.25% as of August 1st (decreased by .25%).
  • New charter School Contract Applications
    • 9 applications were received 
    • Staff is working with external experts to review the applications, which will be presented to the board in November or December.
  • Charter School Contract Renewal Applications
    • 7 schools are up for renewal this fall 
    • Applications for renewal will be open October 1st through October 15th.
  • School Visits
    • SPCSA staff is developing a strategic plan for school visits this year.
  • General School Support
    • The SPCSA team is attending the Special Education Directors Meeting.

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