August 2020

AUG 28, 2020 – Cyber Charter School Disasters About to Worsen

Recent news reports suggest that more parents and students are flocking to privately-owned-operated online charter schools, presumably due to concerns about the “COVID Pandemic.”

Parents, students, teachers, and the public at large should be aware that the overall “academic performance” of cyber charter schools is consistently abysmal, even by the admission of staunch charter school promoters and school privatizers.

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AUG 31, 2020 – Monday numbers: a closer look at charter school performance in NC

Each year, the Office of Charter Schools combs though thousands of documents to create a report for the State Board of Education showing whether schools are meeting performance goals.

By the numbers, here’s what the most recent report — The 2019 Charter School Framework Report — said about the state’s charter schools.

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AUG 30, 2020 – Charter schools that received up to $100 mil in PPP loans won’t have state funding cut, state auditor says

Arizona charter schools that received up to $100 million in federal Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loans can keep the money and not have any of their state funding cut, the Arizona Auditor General’s Office has determined.

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AUG 28, 2020 – Judge: West Lafayette schools have a case against Indiana’s $1 charter ‘land grab’ law

In the West Lafayette school district’s attempt to overturn a decade-old school reform law – one that gives a charter school first dibs, all for $1, when a public school vacates classroom space – the state has pushed back.

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AUG 27, 2020 – East Valley charter school district won’t say why it received up to $1 million in PPP funds

Companies that applied for PPP funds were expected to be able to show financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Charter schools did not lose any state funding because of the pandemic, though some school operators have cited hardships such as canceled fundraisers.

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AUG 27, 2020 – San Diego’s O’Farrell Charter School Superintendent Fired Amid Misconduct Investigation

The superintendent at The O’Farrell Charter School in Southeast San Diego was fired in June amid reports of misconduct involving a female staffer but still stands to make more than $340,000 in severance and regular pay.

Details about the misconduct allegations against Jonathan Dean, who had been the school’s top administrator for more than a decade, are hard to come by.

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AUG 18, 2020 Wings Academy 2 Audit Contains Findings for Recovery Worth $89,808

Wings Academy 2 opened to educate students in fiscal year 2019, however, it never obtained the required 25 students needed to operate as required by Ohio Rev. Code and the sponsorship agreement between the Academy and its sponsor, Kids Count of Dayton. Therefore, the Academy was placed in suspended status effective October 2, 2018 and officially closed on April 30, 2019.

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AUG 25, 2020 – Epic Charter Schools targets state senator again in pre-election email to parents

Epic Charter Schools’ feud with a state senator who has questioned how it reports some of its student enrollment and attendance has continued through the eleventh hour before Tuesday’s primary runoff election.

In an email to students’ parents sent late last week, Epic called Sen. Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee “a dishonest and relentless critic of our school” and denied being obstructive or engaging in negative campaigning against him.

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AUG 24, 2020 – Money for nothing: Pa. cyber charters rolling in pandemic aid while school districts scrounge (opinion)

Under the recently enacted state budget, charter schools will receive $15 million in state health and safety grants to address COVID-19-related health and safety needs. This is much needed funding for public schools and brick and mortar charter schools that are offering some sort of in-person learning this fall. Here’s the best part. Every individual cyber charter school in Pennsylvania, schools that offer their instruction virtually, stands to receive $90,000 for health and safety needs! Virtual instruction – real money! 

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AUG 24, 2020 – State and KIPP charter school at odds on virtual opening. Now a change of plans.

Looks like we set off a rumble sharing news Sunday that the Kipp Delta Elementary, a much-touted charter school in Helena long supported by the Walton Family Foundation, had announced it would open all-virtual for the first three weeks of the year beginning today.

This made a lot of people unhappy. Other school districts, Little Rock included, wanted to open virtually for health concerns, but were denied. A charter school announced it was getting special treatment.

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AUG 22, 2020 – Kenneth Gatten: We must amend Pa.’s charter school law now (opinion)

In a recent report, Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale called Pennsylvania’s charter school law “the worst in the nation” because it prevents the state from “performing full reviews of charter management companies.”

Indeed, a 2016 report by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) finds the PSBA had to take charters to court to force them to divulge how they were spending taxpayer money.

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AUG 22, 2020 – Private schools get millions in federal aid, aren’t tied to same reopening rules as public campuses

Charter schools, which are a third type of school that are approved and funded by public districts, but operated by private companies, also received both types of funding.

“It seems to me they kind of wear two hats — the private hat and the public hat, depending on which one helps them more,” said public school advocate Anne Hartley, adding “It strikes me that it’s unfair to public schools that this is the case.”

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AUG 19, 2020 – Titusville charter school ordered shut down for third time as parents scramble days ahead of new school year

Brevard County Public Schools sought to have the charter campus, located at 1923 Knox McRae in Titusville, shut down this week because it failed to meet academic and fiscal standards, according to court documents.

Besides a decline in student performance, a formal audit pointed to an ongoing lack of progress maintaining federally required standards involving special needs students.

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AUG 18, 2020 – Hundreds of charter school students learned they were no longer enrolled on the first day of school

Yvonne Lau, Interim Executive Director with the Charter School Commission, said Ka Waihona school officials “Called us late last week, asking questions: ‘Hey, we’ve got almost 900 kids (enrolled).’ I was like, ‘What? Wait, wait!’” 

Lau says Ka Waihona’s contract with the commission allows for 650 students, plus 100 slots for the online blending program.

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AUG 16, 2020 – N.J. charter schools got millions in federal aid that traditional districts couldn’t touch

Unlike conventional public schools, charters were also in line for millions of dollars in small business aid under the Paycheck Protection Program, another piece of CARES. And get in line they did, with at least 39 charter schools in the Garden State quietly receiving hefty forgivable loans from PPP, a review by NJ Advance Media showed.

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AUG 13, 2020 – Advisory board advances plan to expand struggling virtual charter schools during the pandemic

The state’s two virtual charter schools should be shining examples of remote learning. But instead of basking in the glow of high demand, the schools are facing tough questions about their students’ academic performances. 

For the fourth consecutive year, NC Cyber Academy  and NC Virtual Academy both have performance ratings of “D.”

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AUG 13, 2020 – Charter school groups behind ads attacking Castor Dentel in Orange school board race

Florida’s leading charter school companies have helped pay for political ads attacking Karen Castor Dentel as she seeks re-election to the Orange County School Board.

The glossy political mailers — one calling the former elementary school teacher “public enemy #1″ — were sent to voters in Castor Dentel’s district 6.

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AUG 13, 2020 – Oklahoma County judge imposes $500,000 fine on Epic Charter Schools’ nonprofit

An Oklahoma County district judge leveled a $500,000 fine against the nonprofit overseeing Epic Charter Schools on Wednesday.

Judge Cindy Troung sanctioned Community Strategies Inc. for filing a libel and slander lawsuit against state Sen. Ron Sharp last year. Truong dismissed the lawsuit in February. On Wednesday, she ruled the case was an attempt to censor Sharp’s free speech.

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AUG 11, 2020 – State audit questions finances of former KC charter school

A state audit of the Pathway Academy charter school in Kansas City, Missouri, says the school improperly paid bonuses and had questionable credit card policies.

The Missouri Auditor’s office gave the charter school, which closed at the end of the 2018-19 school year, a grade of “poor” for paying more than $25,000 in bonuses to employees in violation of state law.

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AUG 06, 2020 – Wildomar charter schools seeks to be classified as day care to reopen classrooms

A Wildomar charter school is forging ahead with plans to resume in-person learning despite orders from Gov. Gavin Newsom that schools in counties on the state COVID-19 watch list can’t reopen without a waiver.

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AUG 06, 2020 – Zoom bombing disrupts charter school board meeting, ignites debate over school environment

The termination of a principal at The Ethical Community Charter School has outraged parents and students and has many fearing the school may not survive.

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AUG 03, 2020 – City Charter that Won $1.5M Federal Grant, Closes Final School

A Baltimore City charter school group that won a $1.5 million federal grant to expand, has closed its final school.

Northwood Appold Community Academy, or NACA, won a $1.5 million expansion grant from the U.S. Department of Education in the fall 2017. At the time, it had two schools with the hopes of opening a third. Today, NACA has no schools. They’ve all closed.

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AUG 03, 2020 – Feds Send Millions in PPP Loans to Charters as Upstate Districts Scramble to Manage Cuts, COVID Expenses

Most school districts across the state, which put their budgets up for a public vote in June, have had to make deep cuts to next year’s budget because federal stimulus has, so far, not been forthcoming.

But rather than making cuts, charter schools in New York are reaping the benefits of a different kind of federal money: the Paycheck Protection Program.

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