Presentation on theme: " Best Practices in Charter School Authorizing. Presentators Mike McHugh – Executive Director, Sarasota County Schools (Retired), President – McHugh."— Presentation transcript:
Presentators Mike McHugh – Executive Director, Sarasota County Schools (Retired), President – McHugh and Associates, LLC
Best Practices in Charter School Authorizing The Good The Bad The Ugly
The Benefits of High Quality Authorizing Practices A high quality authorizing process promotes high quality applications A high quality authorizing process increases confidence that approved schools will be successful A high quality authorizing process builds positive and mutually respectful relationships between the sponsor, applicants and charter school operators
The Benefit of High Quality Authorizing Practices (Cont’d) A high quality authorizing process increases the likelihood of poorly crafted applications being withdrawn, improved and resubmitted in future application cycles. A high quality authorizing process strengthens the district’s ability to defend application denials in the event of appeals to the Charter School Appeals Commission
Problems Created by Poor Quality Authorizing Procedures A poor quality authorization process does not support high quality applications A poor quality authorization process does not provide a high level of confidence that approved schools will be successful A poor quality authorization process can lead to negative relationships and distrust between the district, applicants, and charter school operators.
Problems Created by Poor Quality Authorizing Procedures (Cont’d) A poor quality authorizing process does not create the trust level needed to support withdrawal and resubmission of poorly designed applications A poor quality authorizing process significantly impairs the district’s ability to defend application denials in appeals before the Charter Schools Appeals Commissioners
High Quality Authorizing Practices Common Elements High quality authorizing procedures are not necessarily identical from sponsor to sponsor Although not identical, high quality authorizing procedures share common elements
Common Elements of High Quality Authorizing Practices Comprehensive and detailed applicant training/orientation that: Clearly defines the district’s authorizing process including timelines Clearly specifies new application requirements pursuant to any recent legislative changes Clearly specifies the information required in each section of the application Clearly identifies the criteria by which each section of the application will be evaluated
Common Elements of High Quality Authorizing Practices (Cont’d) A comprehensive and detailed application training/orientation that: (Cont’d) Identifies where, and from whom, applicants may access technical assistance or support in the preparation of their applications
Common Elements in High Quality Authorizing Practices (Cont’d) A rigorous and comprehensive review of each application by a review team of staff with expertise in each area addressed in the application including curriculum and instruction, finance and budget, student assessment, human resources, special needs populations (e.g. ESE, ELL), governance and management, etc.
Common Elements in High Quality Authorizing Practices (Cont’d) A capacity interview with governing board members and any identified schools staff to: 1) clearly identify the applicant group and ensure their capacity to operate the proposed school, 2) ensure that the school’s governing board (rather than an ESP or Management Company) is the decision making body of the proposed school, and 3) to address any questions or concerns raised during the application review Final recommendations to the Superintendent and School Board for application approval or denial
Common Elements in High Quality Authorizing Practices (Cont’d) Feedback to each application regarding the strengths and weaknesses of their respective applications and the rational for the approval or denial recommendation Formal action by the district school board to approve or deny each application Contract negotiations with approved applicants
Common Elements in High Quality Authorizing Practices (Cont’d) Provision of timely written notification to applicants whose applications have been denied including: A clear statement of the statutory good cause for denial of the application Notification to the applicant of their right to appeal and the process and timelines for filing an appeal
What’s New In Charter School Authorizing New National Emphasis Authorizing Challenges More Applications Less Staff to Support Quality Authorizing Practices New Florida Non-Profit Rules ESP/Management Company Issues
Suggested Criteria for Governing Board/ESP Relationships Source: Greg Richmond, President/CEO, National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), Educational Week Article, July 14, 2010 Members of the governing board should not be employees of the management organization nor should they be compensated for their service or selected by the management company The charter school governing board should have an independent attorney, accountant and auditing company working for it, not the management company.
Suggested Criteria (Cont’d) The governing board and the ESP/management company should enter into a contract that defines each party’s rights and responsibilities. That contract must lay out the specific services provided by the ESP/management company and the fees for those services. It must also allow for board to terminate the ESP/management company services under defined circumstances and without “poison pill” penalties. All public funds should be paid to, and controlled by, the governing board, which in turn pays the ESP/management company for its services.
Suggested Criteria (Cont’d) All equipment and furnishings purchased with public funds must be the property of the school, not the ESP/management company. All loans from the ESP/management company to the school such as facility loans, or those for cash flow, must be appropriately documented and at market rates.
Questions/Discussion Questions and Discussion