October 2020

OCT 30, 2020 – For DeVos, the Pandemic Is Another Opportunity for Profit

While the focus should be on how to keep students, teachers, and staff safe—while still providing some form of quality public education—DeVos is using the pandemic as an opportunity to support private and charter schools, despite their not being a feasible option for many. 

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OCT 30, 2020 – Charter schools’ unexpected windfall: They got funds from two federal government programs; public schools only got from one

Not only did charters get a share of the main CARES Act provision for schools, called the Elementary and Secondary School Stabilization Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. Because they are non-profit corporations, Congress also allowed them to receive forgivable loans under the Payroll Protection Plan (PPP).

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OCT 29, 2020 – DeVos will let religious groups apply for charter grants, opening up new legal battlefront

The law is clear: In order to be eligible for federal charter grants, charter schools must not be “affiliated with a sectarian school or religious institution.”

But Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said earlier this week that she will no longer enforce this prohibition. Religious organizations should feel free to apply for federal money to open charter schools, she said, and a recent Supreme Court ruling is on her side.

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OCT 29, 2020 – Ross Valley School District report: Reject charter renewal

A new report from the Ross Valley School District reaffirms allegations of fraud and false statements by Ross Valley Charter school regarding its handling of a $270,000 federal coronavirus relief loan earlier this year.

The 247-page staff report, published late Monday on the district’s website at rossvalleyschools.org, recommends the school district deny the Fairfax charter school’s petition for a five-year renewal of its charter.

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OCT 22, 2020 – Rose State Considers Another Charter School as its Oversight Ability is Questioned

Rose State College, which was criticized by state auditors for providing weak oversight of Epic Charter Schools, is considering authorizing another charter school. 

That school is currently named St. John Christian Heritage Academy, a private religious school in northeast Oklahoma City operated by St. John Missionary Baptist Church.

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OCT 23, 2020 – Suit alleges abuse of power at a top-ranked SC Midlands charter school

Pinnacle Charter School Management Group LLC filed suit in Richland County against Charter Institute at Erskine accusing the institute of defaming Pinnacle in an attempt to prematurely sever a contract to run several charter schools including Gray Collegiate Academy in West Columbia and Legion Collegiate Academy in Rock Hill, according to court documents.

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OCT 22, 2020 – One Of Chicago’s Largest Charter Schools Accused Of Failing To Dismantle Culture Of Racism

Teachers and parents at Acero Schools, one of the largest charter school networks in Chicago, say school leaders are not doing enough to eradicate what they describe as a culture of racism that doesn’t do enough to support its mostly Hispanic students.

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OCT 19, 2020 – Nearly a third of New Orleans charter schools being considered for renewal have D or F grades

Five of the schools received grades of D or F from the Louisiana Department of Education in the 2018-19 school year. New grades are not being given this year because coronavirus-forced school closures prevented the state from giving the standardized tests last spring used to calculate scores and grades.

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OCT 19, 2020 – El Paso ISD superintendent, former school board president named in lawsuit

The lawsuit stems from a criminal case in California that includes the original investors in the Texas-based online school.

Cabrera and Fenenbock approached a charter school company in California in 2018 with plans to develop a for-profit school, according to the lawsuit.

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OCT 19, 2020 – Newly opened – then closed – charter school may reach settlement Tuesday with Lee school board

The Collegiate School of Fort Myers might close permanently this week.

A settlement with the newly opened charter school is set to go before the school board Tuesday. The board is being asked to take back its move to immediately terminate the school’s contract, giving the school the chance to voluntarily shut itself down

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OCT 17, 2020 – State appeals $23M court ruling in favor of Dayton Public Schools

Last month, Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Gina R. Russo ruled that the state improperly calculated funding tied to charter school enrollment from 2004-05 through 2006-07, resulting in the Dayton, Cleveland and Toledo school districts getting less funding than called for in the state formula.

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OCT 16, 2020 – Now-terminated charter school sues San Jose Unified for the third time. They want $2 million.

Promise Academy is not going away easily.

Despite forfeiting its long-awaited goal of opening a charter school, Promise Academy is stepping up its battle against San Jose Unified — filing its third lawsuit in three years against the district for forcing it to surrender its charter and leaving prospective parents scrambling to find a new school just days before the school was supposed to open.

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OCT 15, 2020 – Statewide Virtual Charter School Board member is relative of Epic co-founder

The lone member of the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board to vote no on termination proceedings against Epic Charter Schools this week is a family member of one of the school’s two co-founders who have reportedly become millionaires through their deal to manage the school.

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OCT 13, 2020 – Epic Charter School ordered to pay $11.2 million to the state

Oklahoma’s top school board has demanded Epic Charter Schools repay $11.2 million in state funds that auditors say was illegally used and falsely classified in financial reports.

The Oklahoma State Board of Education unanimously voted Monday to order Epic to pay within 60 days of receiving notice. The amount of $11.2 million is based on material findings from an audit by the Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector’s Office.

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OCT 10, 2020 – Villages Charter School stops reporting COVID-19 cases as outbreak hits

Despite an outbreak of COVID-19 among students and staff, The Villages Charter School is no longer reporting the number of new cases of the potentially deadly virus at its facilities to the Sumter County School District.

The decision to stop reporting daily COVID-19 numbers – like every local school funded by taxpayer money – comes at the height of an apparent outbreak involving eight students and three staff members.

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OCT 09, 2020 – Online school keeps doing business with a company it suspected of stealing student info

Cheri Kiesecker of Colorado-based, Parent Collation for Student Privacy, reviewed a lawsuit filed by the Utah Online School of Utah against a company called K12 Inc.

Kiesecker says she was stunned by what she read.

“Honestly, I find it disturbing that companies can access student information and use it for marketing purposes,” says the student privacy watchdog.

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OCT 07, 2020 – Legitimate or ‘side hustle’? Lancaster school board members question merits of sports-centered charter school proposal

School District of Lancaster board members expect to vote on an application for a soccer-infused charter school in the city later this month.

The proposed charter school’s fate, however, may already be sealed.

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OCT 06, 2020 – The corruption of charter school funding in Alaska

How do Alaska charter schools manage to keep their class sizes smaller, send their teachers out of state for specialized training, upgrade their buildings and purchase the latest and greatest technology? It’s simple: They use money originally allocated for high schools to do this.

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OCT 04, 2020 – A Charter School Faced Another Allegation of Endangering Children

The former Pinecrest campus that Granada Hills Charter purchased for $5.6 million in 2016 was built in 1958. Given the year of its construction, it should be expected that asbestos was used in its building materials. It should, therefore, not be surprising that when a quote was obtained to repair some of the air conditioning units in this facility, it included the cost of moving ceiling tiles “to ensure asbestos would not be disturbed and inhaled by students, teachers, or other staff members.”

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OCT 02, 2020 – ‘Deeply concerning’ investigative audit of Epic Charter Schools released

A partial investigative audit of Epic Charter Schools has revealed millions of dollars in questionable expenditures that will be referred to the FBI, state attorney general and other authorities for further action, State Auditor Cindy Byrd announced Thursday.

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