December 2020

DEC 30, 2020 – Court backs School Board terminating charter for Manatee school Lincoln Memorial Academy

An appeals court Wednesday backed a decision to terminate a Manatee County charter school’s contract, pointing to financial mismanagement and a failure to perform proper background screening on employees.

A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal upheld a 95-page ruling last year by Administrative Law Judge Robert Cohen, who agreed with the Manatee County School Board’s decision to end a contract with Lincoln Memorial Academy.

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DEC 21, 2020 – Rejected charter school proposal in Lancaster might have new life thanks to controversial federal grant program

When professional soccer club founder Brian Ombiji proposed a charter school infusing both sports and education in the city, one member of the Lancaster school board called the application “extremely negligent” and a waste of time.

Another called the proposed school a soccer program with a “side hustle in education.”

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DEC 18, 2020 – Charter school laws need to be reformed

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there has been a huge increase in cyber charter school enrollment across the country, including in Pennsylvania, where cyber charter school enrollment is up by 63% to 62,000 students as of Oct. 1.

This trend should have Pennsylvania parents and taxpayers extremely concerned, for two glaring reasons.

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DEC 16, 2020 – Audit reveals Epic Charter Schools has 60 days to pay back millions

State Auditor & Inspector Cindy Byrd publicly released the work papers supporting the questioned administrative costs and improper transfers of funds to California related to her recent audit of Epic Charter Schools.

Governor Kevin Stitt requested the audit and, after reviewing the findings, the State Department of Education is demanding Epic refund the State $11.2 million.

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DEC 14, 2020 – A Failing Charter Hides Behind COVID-19

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) was so concerned about the proposed management of this charter school that the board unanimously denied its approval in 2015. This decision was appealed to the Los Angeles County Office of Education which has a reputation for approving poorly performing schools. Even this board unanimously rejected the appeal. However, the state charter advisory commission, which included the Executive Directors of Granada Hills Charter and the North Valley Military Academy, overturned these decisions and authorized the charter.

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DEC 14, 2020 – Charter schools grow, but fall short of diversity targets set by Legislature

As its enrollment has grown over the past decade, charter schools have faced increased criticism over their lack of diversity. A 2018 analysis by the Current found that charter schools, especially top-ranked ones, were whiter and more affluent than their nearby district schools and the state as a whole.

The newest data, which was presented to the Charter School Board on Friday, shows that still holds true today, but incremental gains have been made over the past three years.

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DEC 11, 2020 – Cornerstone founder Clark Durant accused of self-dealing by charter schools’ biggest private funder

Last week Mark Pulte, the son of Pulte Sr. and a co-trustee of the William J. Pulte Trust, submitted a complaint to the office of Attorney General Dana Nessel. In it he called for an investigation into Durant as, well as the New Common School Foundation (NCSF), a non-profit Durant created to raise funds for the Cornerstone schools, a group of private, religious schools he opened in the 1990s, and subsequently transitioned into public-charter schools.

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DEC 12, 2020 – Families, employees of elementary school express frustration over nearby construction of charter school

Employees and families of a local elementary school are frustrated as construction continues on a new, charter school campus right across the street from their public school.

Now, they’re demanding changes at the state level.

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DEC 10, 2020 – FOX 13 Investigates: Public school with ties to polygamous sect is 100% white

Parents of students at Leman Academy of Excellence in Parker are frantically trying to find a new school after they were informed remote learning would no longer be an option at the school.

“We were notified, ‘You come back in January, 5 days a week, in-person, or you’ll have to find and alternative school,” said one mother who asked to remain anonymous for this story.

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DEC 08, 2020 – Amid Propel Schools Unionization Fight, Organizers Accuse Administration Of Aggressive Tactics

A campaign to unionize educators is underway at one of the region’s largest charter school networks, but organizers say administrators have tried to thwart the effort.

And while officials at Pittsburgh-based Propel Schools say they have simply shared their concerns about unionization, critics accuse them of using misinformation and intimidation in an attempt to dissuade its roughly 400 teachers, education coordinators, counselors, and other staff from organizing.

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DEC 06, 2020 – Caught Red Handed: A Charter School Cherry Picks Their Students

According to the State of Denial report presented to the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board on September 3, 2019, charter schools saved $74.65 million by serving a lower percentage of students with special education needs. This affects every student enrolled in an LAUSD school as these costs must be borne by the District and results in cuts to other programs.

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DEC 05, 2020 – Leader of closed charter school accused of embezzling nearly $400,000 concerns arise

Paramount Charter School opened in the fall of 2015 with a plan to educate kids “to the highest academic and personal standards,” according to its application to the School Board of Broward County.

But parents say the Sunrise K-8 school was riddled with problems from the start.

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DEC 03, 2020 – How a soccer club won a $1.2 million grant from DeVos’s Education Department to open a charter school

In late September 2020, amid the covid-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Education awarded nearly $6 million to five organizations to open new charter schools. One of the five awardees was “The All Football Club, Lancaster Lions Corporation,” located in Lancaster, Pa. The club had no experience running either a private school or a charter school, yet nevertheless pitched the AFCLL Academy Charter School for a grant from the federal Charter School Program (CSP).

The CSP awarded the football club $1,260,750…

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DEC 03, 2020 – Cyber Charter Schools Dramatically Impacting Public School Budgets

With some parents opting to send their children to cyber-charter schools because of the pandemic, school districts in the county are facing mounting financial challenges.

The Mars Area School District school board is contemplating actions for how they’ll deal with a $1.3 million deficit. That’s because the district has to pay cyber-charter schools to teach the students.

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DEC 03, 2020 – University of Houston Charter School may be closing for good

In an email sent to parents, the school’s principal said a resolution to close will be presented to the board of regents on Thursday afternoon during their meeting.

“I think a lot of parents are lost,” said Sara Martinez, a mom of two of the school’s students. “They don’t know what the next step is.”

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DEC 01, 2020 – Report questions why underperforming charter school was renewed

In April, the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board issued a three-year renewal contract to Midtown Public Charter School in Jackson — despite the fact the school has not exceeded a ‘D’ rating since it first opened in 2015. 

Charter schools in Mississippi must meet certain goals to continue to operate and are considered for renewal every five years, according to state law.

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