SBE’s charters report mixed performance results
(Calif.) Among the sprawling network of 27 charter schools overseen by the California State Board of Education, 20 were found to be in good financial health during the 2017-18 fiscal year.
But just nine in the group were found to have either met the state standards for academic progress or exceeded it.
Six schools were found to have met some student performance marks but not others, and two charters were found to be failing.
State law gives the SBE authority to approve a charter application under several conditions, the most common being denial at the local level. Since the early 1990s, the board has considered scores of applications, but only approved a handful prior to the election of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Gov. Jerry Brown, also a strong charter advocate, has also actively endorsed new charter school adoptions by his appointees to the SBE.
To gauge fiscal status, the California Department of Education considers a variety of factors, including the adequacy of cash management, debt levels, trends in enrollment and attendance, revenue and expenditure projections, and assessing the multi-year projected financial position of the charter school.
Additionally, charter schools are required to maintain a cash reserve based on schools of similar size.
Five of the SBE’s sponsored schools were found to be in poor financial shape:
- Academia Avance Charter, Los Angeles;
- Celerity Rolas Charter School, Los Angeles;
- Paramount Collegiate Academy, Sacramento (voluntary closed in February 2018);
- Prepa Tec Los Angeles High, Los Angeles; and
- Rocketship Futuro Academy, Concord.
So far, the CDE has issued letters of concern to each of the charter boards and requested that corrective action be taken. If the charter leadership doesn’t take the requested action or doesn’t otherwise improve their fiscal status, the state board can issue a notice of violation.
To establish a charter’s academic standing, the CDE looked at student scores in the annual state testing. The CDE also looked at the school-wide percentage for all grades to see if it exceeded a standard of achievement distribution.
Finally, the CDE looked at the progress charters had made within the state priorities under the Local Control Funding Formula—both on a school-wide basis and by pupil subgroups.
Two of the SBE-sponsored charters were issued letters of concern:
- Academia Avance Charter, Los Angeles; and
- Anahuacalmecac International University Preparatory of North America, Los Angeles.
An additional six schools were found to have made adequate progress on some LCFF priorities, but not others:
- Barack Obama Charter, Los Angeles;
- Baypoint Preparatory Academy, Hemet;
- Magnolia Science Academy, Santa Ana;
- New West Charter, Los Angeles;
- Ridgecrest Charter, Ridgecrest; and
- School of Arts and Enterprise, Pomona.