Nevada Ed-Watch: 1/18/19

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 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? SPCSA members meet once monthly (three times in June)– 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, January 18, 2019
State Public Charter School Authority – Board Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda 

What happened at this meeting?

Board Hears SPCSA Staff Reports From Each Team (Authorizing, School Support, Finance & Operations & Legal)

The Authorizing Team provided an update on the SPCSA Performance Framework revisions. The academic and organizational frameworks will be presented to the Board in February. The team also reported receiving 12 notices of intent to apply, and 1 completed application for school authorization.

The School Support Team reported completing several school site visits. Additionally, the staff is attending multiple professional development and learning opportunities, and providing technical assistance to schools.

The Finance and Operations Team shared updates around the Governor’s recommended budget for 2019-2021, which had many changes since the original budget released by former Governor Brian Sandoval (including 5 positions needed to implement SPCSA’s Local Education Agency status– see legislative session agenda item below). Click here to see the 2019-21 budget.

The Legal Team shared updates regarding the approved charter school renewal contracts (3 contracts have been filed). They also shared a recently-issued Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law in response to an Open Meeting Law complaint. Click here to see the Findings of Fact & Conclusions of Law.

Board Selects Candidates to Interview for SPCSA Executive Director Role

SPCSA staff updated the Board on the recruitment and search process for a new Executive Director. The Board selected candidates to be interviewed for the position at the March 8th board meeting. From there, the Board will vote on 3 candidates who will be submitted to the Governor’s office for final selection.

The following candidates, in alphabetical order by last name, will be interviewed at the March 8th board meeting:

    • Eve Breier-Ramos
    • Rebecca Feiden
    • Mark Modrcin
    • Katherine Poulos
    • Sami Randolph
  • Brian Scroggins

Updates on Legislative Session and Status of Senate Bill 78 Language

The SPCSA is revamping SB78 alongside Education Committee Chairs, and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, to include:

    • Accountability measures both for schools and authorizers
    • Equity for students receiving special education
  • Expansion of the SPCSA portfolio to serve higher needs geographical areas

The Board had a brief discussion regarding 5 Local Education Agency (LEA) positions that were cut from the governor’s budget. The SPCSA staff and State Superintendent are in conversation with Education Committee chairs to ensure that policy decisions and budget appropriations are aligned.

Click here to see an overview of bills that the SPCSA is monitoring.

Board Approves Charter Contract Amendment

The Board approved an amendment to American Leadership Academy – Summerlin’s charter contract to change its name to Signature Preparatory Academy. 

Board Approves Modifications to Financial Performance Framework

SPCSA staff provided the Board with information related to the SPCSA’s Financial Performance Framework, including recommendations to modify the framework to more accurately assess the financial health of SPCSA-sponsored public charter schools. These modifications will take effect July 1, 2019.

Updates were made to the following Indicators and Measures:

Indicator 1: Near Term Measures

    • Unrestricted Days Cash-on-Hand Ratio
  • Enrollment Forecast Accuracy

Indicator 2: Sustainability Measures

    • Total Margin
    • Debt to Asset Ratio
    • Cash Flow
  • Debt Service Coverage Ratio

Click here to see full details on the updates.

Click here to see the full presentation.

Presentation on SPCSA Schools’ Graduation Rate (2017-2018 School Year)

SPCSA staff presented about the graduation rate for SPCSA-sponsored public charter schools for the 2017-2018 school year.

The data show the SPCSA is the fastest-improving district in the state, and that 6 schools have a 90% or higher graduation rate.

Click here to download the full presentation.

Presentation on Nevada Connections Academy

Nevada Connections Academy representatives provided the Board with information on required quarterly reports on Nevada Connections Academy’s elementary school and high school, including the following highlights:

    • Graduation rate increased from 45% to 63% (goal was 49% for 2017-18). The 2018-19 graduation rate is projected to range between 60%-68%.
    • The elementary school implemented a new, more rigorous curriculum in social studies and science. School representatives described experiencing an “implementation dip” in scores, with math and social studies slightly down (2-3%), and science down 10%.
  • The staff also provided updates on Professional Development, Contact with Students, and School Culture.

Click here to see a summary provided by NV Connections Academy.

Updates on Quest Preparatory Academy & Argent Academy

The board heard and discussed updates from the Court Appointed receiver for Quest Preparatory Academy and Argent Academy regarding each school’s financial and legal statuses, as well as each school’s insurance policies in place to cover costs related to board mismanagement.

Public Comment

    • Testimony about the progress of the Founders Academy elementary school and its professional development progress and contracts.
  • Testimony about the alleged misalignment of official graduation data, due to database malfunctions and miscommunication between the state office and schools. 

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