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 once 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, May 20, 2022
State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting
Access the meeting agenda and playback.
What happened at this meeting?
Members of the public shared comments regarding retention of students of color and additional staff training as well as matters of student safety and substance use at Legacy Traditional School.
SPCSA Charter School Governing Body Governance Standards.
The board will return to this agenda item during the June 27 meeting.
Explore the SPCSA Governance Standards.
SPCSA Executive Director’s Report
Highlights from the report include:
- Initiatives Related to Serving All Students Equitably: Last month the Authority voted to require certain schools to submit recruitment and enrollment plans by September 30, 2022. The plans must include specific strategies aimed at serving a student population representative of the school community, particularly those qualifying for free and reduced lunch. SPCSA staff issued guidance to the selected schools for developing their plans, with a suggested process that includes a data review, root cause analysis, and identification of strategies. Three optional virtual working sessions will be offered to support the schools with this process.
- COVID-19 Update: Governor Sisolak formally ended the COVID-19 State of Emergency effective Friday, March 20. All SPCSA-sponsored schools, except those approved as fully distance learning schools, will return to in-person learning. Emergency substitutes will be phased out in Washoe and Clark Counties for the 2022-23 school year but will be permitted in rural communities. The provision that allows a registered nurse to oversee the COVID-19 testing lab for SPCSA schools will expire with the State of Emergency. The SPCSA is looking for a certified director with the approved credentials to continue to keep the lab open. If they are unable to hire one, SPCSA staff will transition schools to other COVID testing programs. The Safe Return to In-Person Learning Plan will remain in place through September 30, 2023.
- New Charter School Applications: Charter school applications are due between April 15-30 each year. This year, five applicants applied, including four schools in Clark County: Mind Your Books (K-8), Rooted School (9-12), Southern Nevada Trades High School (9-12) and The Village High School (9-12). The fifth school, Method Schools of NV, withdrew their application. The next step will include external review of the applications with recommendations brought to the Authority in August. Full applications are posted on the SPCSA website and are open for public comment. One member of the Authority requested first year enrollment for the new schools, which will be available in the posted applications’ enrollment tables.
- 2022 Sponsor Feedback Survey: Last week, SPCSA launched its annual sponsor feedback survey to SPCSA-sponsored charter school leaders, which measures dimensions such as communications with SPCSA staff, the authorizing functions, and school and grant administration support functions. The survey will remain open for one month. The results will be shared at an upcoming meeting. Thus far, 11 respondents have taken the survey.
- Update on New Schools Opening in Fall 2022:
- Battle Born Academy will open with 240 students in grades K, 1, 5 and 6. The Authority approved the school’s temporary location. With necessary modifications on track, the certificate of occupancy is expected by July 8, 2022.
- Sage Collegiate will open with 224 students in grades K-5. Work is being completed on the facility, but construction timelines are tight, so the school is working on contingency plans.
- PilotED – Cactus Park Elementary will open with 351 in grades K-4. The school is working to close the gap in enrollment paperwork. Work is being completed on the facility, but construction timelines are tight, so the school is working on contingency plans.
- Young Women’s Leadership Academy will open with a planned enrollment of 150 across grades 6-9.
- Strong Start Academy is opening K-2 with 180 students. Through a partnership with the City of Las Vegas, the school will open in the City’s three Pre-K centers and then to partner with the City to transition to a single site facility long term.
Each school is on track to open in Fall 2022. In early June, enrollment audits will be conducted, which will result in initial funding. Per pupil funding will be reconciled for schools in November. Additionally, from a facility perspective, schools will be required to provide evidence of temporary or permanent certificate of occupancy after which SPCSA staff will perform walkthroughs of the facilities.
Charter School Contract Amendment Applications
Discovery Charter School requested a good cause exemption and received approval to acquire the current facility at Hillpoint Campus to accommodate a waitlist exceeding 220 students.
Eagle Charter School was approved for a new location at 2025 East Sahara, which is located in the previously approved zip code of 89104. The school anticipates the majority of enrollment to come from this zip code. A Restaurant Depot is currently located in the facility.
Additional materials including each school’s budget and SPCSA recommendation memo can be found here.
Board Approved Revolving Loan Application for Sage Collegiate
Sage Collegiate provided SPCSA staff with a business plan and budget which indicated they would have sufficient funds to make the repayments. Based on this analysis, SPCSA staff recommended approval of the loan, according to repayment terms in the memo.
Board Approved Good Cause Exemption for Pioneer Technology & Arts Academy Nevada
The board approved PTAA Nevada’s request for a good cause exemption to submit a new charter school application outside of the usual application window. Recent revisions to administrative code NAC 388A.260 changed the deadlines for new charter applications from two charter application windows to a single window in April of each year. The code also gives the SPCSA authority to accept an application outside of the annual window upon request and for good cause.
PTAA would submit notice of intent by May 30, 2022, and would then submit an application toward the end of August 2022, which would come to the Authority for approval in December 2022. Staff found good cause to approve submission outside of the April window, also noting that submitting next April would generate approval too late to open in Fall 2023 as planned.
The board also heard updates on ongoing litigation. PTAA filed two lawsuits against the Authority – one of which will be dismissed, and no action will be taken on the second in the next 30 days.
Members of the board shared thoughts on the school’s decision to move forward with a new application as well as the need for both the school and the Authority to reflect on their own process and that the process be balanced on both sides.
Long-Range Calendar (next 3 months):
Agenda items over the next three SPCSA board meetings are anticipated to include:
- Calendar updates due to virtual meetings – the June meeting will be on Monday, June 27 and the August meeting will be on Monday, August 29.
- Amendment applications on the June meeting agenda.
Explore the long-range calendar.
The next Meeting of the SPCSA Board is scheduled for June 27, 2022 @ 9:00 am.