Friday, August 30, 2013

Will charters dwindle in 2015?

Anyone who wants to open a charter school in North Carolina in 2015 must file a letter of intent by noon Sept. 6.

Eddie Goodall, executive director of the N.C. Public Charter Schools Association,  worries that the "little-known cutoff date" will eliminate prospective operators.  The letters for 2014 applications weren't due until January 2013.

Joel Medley,  director of the N.C. Office of Charter Schools, disagrees.  The deadline has been posted on the web site and publicized to anyone who has inquired about opening a school since last November, he said.

If there's a drop in applications,  Medley said he's more likely to blame a new application fee.  Lawmakers set a range of $500 to $1,000; the state Board of Education will soon decide what the fee will be.  Medley said he doesn't know how the money will be spent: "We did not propose that."

Bottom line:  North Carolina is still trying to sort out a system for granting large numbers of charters every year.  When the state authorized charter schools -- public schools run by independent nonprofit boards,  rather than school districts -- in the late 1990s,  it capped the total at 100.  For years, the only openings were for a handful of spots that came open when an existing school closed.

Two years ago legislators lifted the cap,  creating a surge of new schools, especially in the Charlotte region. Twenty-three opened this summer, six of them in Mecklenburg and surrounding counties.

Applicants must work their way through an evolving process.  Those who file letters of intent follow up with full-fledged applications that detail their plans for education, spending and governance.  Those are reviewed by an advisory panel  --  legislators just created a new board to handle that work  --  and sent to the state Board of Education for final approval.

Last time around,  the charter office got 156 letters of intent and 70 actual applications.  The old advisory council recommended 26 for approval, and the Board of Education voted in August to consider six more.  The board is scheduled to vote on the final list next week.


Anonymous said...

I highly doubt Charter School application will fall. As CMS continues to stumble and fall in love with Project LIFT more demand will be in place for Charter,Private School options. With the state supporting a voucher system for families it further inidcates growth for options. CMS cannot handle the growth or basics and struggles to simply retain staff to start with. The Mcgovenator is going to help that with his terrible education plans for teachers.

Wiley Coyote said...

Nationally, public school enrollment is declining in many cities.

...Enrollment in nearly half of the nation's largest school districts has dropped steadily over the last five years, triggering school closings that have destabilized neighborhoods, caused layoffs of essential staff and concerns in many cities that the students who remain are some of the neediest and most difficult to educate.

While the losses have been especially steep in long-battered cities like Cleveland and Detroit, enrollment has also fallen significantly in places suffering through the recent economic downturn, like Broward County, Fla., San Bernardino, Calif., and Tucson, according to the latest available data from the Department of Education, analyzed for The New York Times. Urban districts like Philadelphia and Columbus, Ohio, are facing an exodus even as the school-age population has increased.

Enrollment in the New York City schools, the largest district in the country, was flat from 2005 to 2010, but both Chicago and Los Angeles lost students, with declining birthrates and competition from charter schools cited as among the reasons.

Because school financing is often allocated on a per-pupil basis, plummeting enrollment can mean fewer teachers will be needed. But it can also affect the depth of a district's curriculum, jeopardizing programs in foreign languages, music or art.
... July 2012

Anonymous said...

Reduce the bloated admin now.

Anonymous said...

I am an educator of 17 years. Sadly the only thing I have ever received from front office administrators is OBSTACLES.

It is always a process of obstacles that make my work more time consuming and non efficient.

Every once in awhile they make back me in a parent conference, but in general it has been a long hard road.