Charter Schools and the Local Control Funding Formula – Public Policy Institute of California

By Iwunze Ugo and Laura Hill

School funding for both traditional public schools and charter schools underwent a major change in 2013, with the implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). Seeking to focus on high-need students—those who are economically disadvantaged, English Learners (EL), or foster youth1—and expand local authority and accountability over education spending, the new funding formula shifted away from the system of revenue limits and categorical programs, which had long been criticized as outdated and overly restrictive.2 The LCFF provides funding to school districts and charter schools through uniform base grants that are augmented by two levels of additional funding for high-need students: the supplemental grant, which provides added funding based on a district’s share of high-need students, and the concentration grant, which provides even more funding for districts in which more than 55 percent of students are identified as high need.

Before the LCFF, charter schools received less per pupil funding than traditional public school districts because some categorical funding was not available to them (Estrada 2012).3 Charter schools are now incorporated into a unified structure where they are treated much like school districts in terms of funding and accountability. There is, however, a provision in the LCFF that limits the amount of funding that some charters receive. While districts receive concentration grant funding if their share of high-need students is above 55 percent, the grant for a charter school is calculated based not on that school’s share of high-need students but on the share in the local district—if it is lower. This provision—which aims to discourage districts from trying to relieve pressure on their budgets by converting schools with many high-need students into charters, thus isolating them from less-disadvantaged students and communities (Fensterwald 2013, Cabral and Chu 2013)—lowers the amount of funding allocated to some charter schools. Charter schools serve more than 565,000 students4—many of whom are high need—and these somewhat arbitrary disparities have the potential to impact a substantial number of them.

Source: Charter Schools and the Local Control Funding Formula – Public Policy Institute of California

Another denial for Vaca charter school – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

In a close 4-3 vote, the Solano County Office of Education governing board on Wednesday denied a petition by directors of the Vacaville-based Heritage Peak Charter to align themselves with the county as Pacific Valley Charter Academy.

Trustee of Area 2, Amy Sharp of Vacaville confirmed the outcome in an email to The Reporter, as did Paul Keefer, who heads the Sacramento-based Pacific Charter Institute, the operator of several independent charter schools, including Heritage Peak on Parker Street, but most of them are in the Sacramento area and aligned with school districts there.

Source: Another denial for Vaca charter school

Another denial for Vaca charter school – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

In a close 4-3 vote, the Solano County Office of Education governing board on Wednesday denied a petition by directors of the Vacaville-based Heritage Peak Charter to align themselves with the county as Pacific Valley Charter Academy.

Trustee of Area 2, Amy Sharp of Vacaville confirmed the outcome in an email to The Reporter, as did Paul Keefer, who heads the Sacramento-based Pacific Charter Institute, the operator of several independent charter schools, including Heritage Peak on Parker Street, but most of them are in the Sacramento area and aligned with school districts there.

Heritage Peak is a K-12 independent charter, meaning it is governed by its own board of directors and largely accountable to the state Department of Education. It has 225 students, from a wide regional geographical arc, 15 teachers on staff and annual budget of more than $2 million.

Source: The Reporter

Former superintendent eyes creation of charter school network – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Former district superintendent Ramona Bishop sent a letter last week to the Vallejo school board announcing her plans to open a charter school in the district.

In the short communication, Bishop gives notice that Elite Public Schools will be petitioning the Solano County Office of Education to operate a K-12 charter school within the Vallejo City Unified School District boundaries.

“We have not identified a specific site, but will be submitting a Proposition 39 request to the district for facility,” the letter states.

A state law passed in 2000, Prop. 39 requires school districts provide space in an area where charter schools want to locate. The space must be reasonably equivalent to the district’s school sites.

Reached by phone Monday, Bishop said her group of educators, parents, and community members are eyeing a network of charter schools in Solano County. They are seeking to open Elite Public Schools in the Vallejo, Fairfield-Suisun, and Vacaville school districts, she added.

 

Source: Former superintendent eyes creation of charter school network

Kairos agenda: One-time employee pay, board and director goals – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

One-time staff bonuses for eligible employees, 2017-18 board goals and executive director goals are on the agenda when Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy leaders meet tonight in Vacaville.

Among those eligible for the one-time pay, agenda documents indicated, are full- and part-time teachers, full- and part-time classified (or school-support) employees, said the executive director, Jared Austin.

Full-time teachers, classified employees and Austin will receive 1 percent of their 2016-17 base salaries; and part-time employees will receive .085 percent of their previous year’s base salaries.

Board of director goals for the new year include making sure the independent charter school (which is aligned with Vacaville Unified) remains fiscally sound; that academic growth and excellence are continued (the school, which has some 550 students in grades TK-8, typically posts high scores on state standardized tests); that stakeholders continue to “actively engage in positive community service”; and strategies “are developed to deal with the considerable student wait list. The goals are expected to be approved.

Source: On Kairos agenda: One-time employee pay, board and director goals for 17-18

Among local schools, Kairos leads way in Hurricane Harvey relief – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The leader of Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy on Tuesday said students are being encouraged to aid Hurricane Harvey disaster victims by donating money to the Houston Food Bank, becoming the first school in Vacaville to formally begin relief efforts to help people affected by the unprecedented Texas Gulf Coast storm and subsequent flooding.

Jared Austin, the co-founder and executive director of the TK-8 independent charter school, which is aligned with Vacaville Unified, said the effort is in keeping with the school’s mission of preparing its 550 students to be responsible citizens.

“We want to use this disaster to show our scholars how they can help make a difference in tragic times,” Austin said in a press release. “The Houston Food Bank is working very hard to support the huge needs of all the families affected in the Houston area.”

He said the school’s Innovative Scholars Foundation will be collecting tax-deductible donations of any amount during this week and next.

Source: Among local schools, Kairos leads way in Hurricane Harvey relief

Denied in Vacaville USD, charter leader petitions SCOE – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Leaders of Heritage Peak Charter School in downtown Vacaville, their petition denied less than two months ago by Vacaville Unified trustees, are now seeking to align the independent study learning center with the Solano County Office of Education.

Paul Keefer, who heads the Sacramento-based Pacific Charter Institute, the operator of several independent charter schools, most of them in the Sacramento area, presented a petition for newly named Pacific Valley Charter during a public hearing Wednesday night at county education offices in Fairfield.

The SCOE governing board will either approve or deny Keefer’s petition at a Sept. 13 meeting at the county agency’s 5100 Business Center Drive offices.

Source: Denied in Vacaville Unified School District, charter leader petitions county ed board

Kairos Public School offers way to recycle solar eclipse eyewear – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

OK, so maybe you know of some solar eclipse eyewear lying around collecting dust and won’t be used again in the United States until 2024.

But they could be used again elsewhere, as soon as 2019.

To that end, students at Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy are seeking donations of used eclipse glasses, to donate to Astronomers Without Borders, an organization which will distribute them, as needed, to school students in the path of the next total solar eclipse, in two years, in Asia and South America.

“This will provide an opportunity for scholars in developing countries to safely view a future eclipse,” Jared Austin, the independent charter school’s co-founder and executive director, noted in an email to The Reporter.

Source: Kairos Public School offers way to recycle solar eclipse eyewear

Kairos leaders to discuss board goals, review 45-day revised budget – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy leaders, when they meet tonight, will hold a workshop on board of directors goals, hear updates on facilities and enrollments, review the 45-day revised budget, and discuss staff bonuses for eligible employee groups.

The independent charter school’s seven-member board will consider its goals for the 2017-18 academic year, and, once developed, the goals will be adopted at a future board meeting.

Among the proposed goals are fiscal soundness; academic growth and excellence; and pursuit of strategies to increase student diversity.

Jared Austin, co-founder and executive director of the 129 Elm St. campus, which is aligned with Vacaville Unified, will lead the update about facilities, including the Kairos Innovative Scholars Program, or KISP, the TK-8 school’s independent study and home-schooling program, housed on Alamo Drive.

Source: Kairos leaders to discuss board goals, review 45-day revised budget

Kairos leader extols charter school’s positives – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy, an independent charter school aligned with Vacaville Unified, has grown by nearly 100 students since its founding three years ago, has some of the highest standardized test scores in Solano County, and will remain on a firm fiscal footing this year and the next two.

Those are among the facts Jared Austin, co-founder and executive director of the Elm Street campus, offered the Vacaville Unified governing board during his annual update presentation Thursday in the Educational Services Center.

Source: Kairos leader extols charter schools’ positives

Vacaville Unified to receive Kairos update, consider CBO contract – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

An update on Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy, an independent charter school, and an employment contract for Jennifer Stahlheber, the new chief business officer, are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet Thursday.

Jared Austin, co-founder and executive director of Kairos, which is aligned with Vacaville Unified and in its fourth year of operation, will make the presentation.

According to agenda documents, he will offer data on demographics, including enrollments by race, English learners, foster youth, number of homeless, economic status and special education numbers; state standardized test results; physical fitness test results; attendance rates; number of community service hours; suspension and expulsion rates;

Source: Vacaville Unified to receive Kairos update, consider CBO contract

Understanding California charter schools: a quick guide | EdSource

By Mikhail Zinshteyn

Charter schools are frequently in the news, but it’s not always clear how they compare to traditional public schools. EdSource has compiled the following FAQ to give readers a quick and clear primer on these public schools that are often the subject of heated political debates. Find out how many charters are in California and in the U.S., what the major fault lines are between charter schools and their opponents, and what some of the functions of charters are that make them distinct from traditional public schools.

What are charter schools, who runs them and how are they different from traditional public schools?

Charter schools are public schools that get funding from the state and enjoy flexibilities in hiring, curriculum and management. Unlike traditional public schools that are run by school districts with an elected school board and a superintendent it appoints, most charter schools are run by organizations with their own self-appointed boards.

Source: Understanding California charter schools: a quick guide | EdSource

VUSD leaders deny Pacific Valley Charter petition – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

To no one’s overwhelming surprise, Vacaville Unified leaders on Thursday denied a petition for Pacific Valley Charter School Academy, currently called Heritage Peak Charter School, an independent study learning center housed at 354 Parker St.

The unanimous 7-0 vote was the second time in four years that trustees rejected the school’s charter petition from the Sacramento-based Pacific Charter Institute, which, headed by executive director Paul Keefer, operates several independent charter schools, most of them in the Sacramento area.

The governing board’s decision — barely meeting a 60-day deadline to take action on the petition — followed a one-hour block of time that included a district staff presentation to recommend denial of the petition, Keefer’s rebuttal and clarifications, pro-petition remarks by Heritage Park teachers and parents, and trustee comments.

 

Source: VUSD leaders deny Pacific Valley Charter petition

VUSD leaders expected to nix charter school petition – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A possible denial of a charter school petition, several large contracts, from auditing services to crossing guards to food services, and formal approval of two Local Control Accountability Plans and the 2017-18 budget are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet Thursday.

According to agenda documents, the seven-member governing board will vote to deny or approve a petition to establish the Pacific Valley Charter Academy, currently called Heritage Peak Charter School, an independent study learning center housed at 354 Parker St.

There will be a staff presentation, a presentation by Paul Keefer, executive director of the school’s parent organization, the Sacramento-based Pacific Charter Institute, which operates several charter schools, followed by trustee questions and comments.

But the district already appears ready to deny Keefer’s petition, as a formally worded resolution to do so was included as part of the agenda.

 

Source: VUSD leaders expected to nix charter school petition

Budget, suicide-prevention policy on Kairos agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy leaders, when they meet Monday in Vacaville, are expected to approve the 2017-18 annual budget and accompanying Local Control Accountability Plan, to meet a June 30 deadline mandated by the Solano County Office of Education.

The board of directors, led by Executive Director Jared Austin, also is expected to approve a board policy and administrative regulation concerning suicide prevention, as required by Assembly Bill 2246, enacted last year. Authored by Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, the bill requires school districts to adopt formal suicide-prevention, intervention and follow-up plans for all middle and high school students, including provisions that specifically address the needs of “high-risk groups.”

Source: Budget, suicide-prevention policy on Kairos agenda

Interviews for Buckingham principal job underway – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Job interviews for the principal opening at Buckingham Charter Magnet High School are being held this week in the wake of the resignation of Mike Boles, a Vacaville Unified official has confirmed.

Boles, who worked at the Bella Vista Road campus for the past two years, announced in an email sent to staff just hours after the school’s graduation ceremony Friday morning that he would “be moving to another position within the school district.”

Jennifer Leonard, the district’s public information officer, was unsure where Boles, also a former head football coach at Wood High, would be assigned because it is a decision that, ultimately, will be determined by the district’s governing board.

The job opening was posted on the district’s website, www.vacavilleusd.org, May 18 and it closed May 31.

 

Source: Interviews for Buckingham principal job underway

Kairos directors hear draft of suicide-prevention policy – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy leaders heard the first draft of the charter school’s suicide-prevention policy, which, in accordance with state law, must be adopted by July 1.

In a board of directors meeting Monday, Pat Broughton, the education services director, introduced the three-page policy and the accompanying two-page administrative regulation.

Such policies, under Assembly Bill 2246 enacted last yearare required by every California school district, and, as an independent TK-8 charter school, — a school largely governed by its own board of directors and the California Department of Education — Kairos is, essentially, its own school district.

Authored by Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, the bill requires school districts to adopt formal suicide-prevention, intervention and follow-up plans for all middle and high school students, including provisions that specifically address the needs of “high-risk groups.”

 

Source: Kairos directors hear draft of suicide-prevention policy

New charter school petition aired during Vacaville school board meeting – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Just how local education leaders on June 29 will vote on a proposed and newly named independent charter school is unknown, but a Sacramento-area charter school group director who has once again petitioned Vacaville Unified officials to have its downtown Vacaville school be aligned with the district faced a spate of pointed questions Thursday night.

Paul Keefer, executive director of Pacific Charter Institute, a nonprofit charter company that operates four charter schools, made a 15-minute presentation during a packed governing board meeting in the Educational Services Center, touting the independent charter school’s standardized test results, suspension rate, education model and demographics.

But during a question-and-answer session with trustees, he at times appeared to stumble at providing quick answers from board members, especially Whit Whitman, and could not provide some sought-after financial information about Heritage Peak, the learning center at 354 Parker St. in downtown Vacaville. (If the petition is approved, it will be renamed as Pacific Valley Charter Academy.)

 

Source: New charter school petition aired during Vacaville school board meeting

Solano Community Foundation bestows Nelson Scholarships – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Solano Community Foundation has awarded sizable scholarships to 10 Vacaville high school seniors, it has been announced.

Seven students received Harry and Eleanor D. Nelson Scholarships, five from Will C. Wood High, including Dylan Nute, Ian Kitamura, Mercedes Hall, Willow Rigney and Hailey Milsaps; one from Buckingham Charter High, Mikayla Canales; and one from Vacaville High, Cassidy Aberson. Each four-year award is worth $14,000, or $3,500 per year.

Cassiel Nortier-Tilly of Vacaville High School received the Grace B. Powell Vacaville High School Scholarship, a one-time award of $5,000. Powell was principal of Vacaville High and promoted academic achievement. An annual citywide spelling bee is named after her.

Kristoffer Hernandez of Vacaville High and Rita Zughbaba from Buckingham Charter will receive an Auldin Briggs Achievement Scholarship of $2,500 each for one year. Briggs was a sheet metal worker at Mare Island, and later taught mechanical drawing at Solano Community College.

Source: Solano Community Foundation bestows Nelson Scholarships

New charter school petition on Vacaville Unified agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A petition from an independent charter school in Vacaville, two Local Control Accountability Plans from a pair of dependent charter schools in Vacaville, and a nearly $1 million construction contract are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet tonight in Vacaville.

Already rebuffed once, the leader of a Sacramento-area charter school group has once again petitioned Vacaville Unified leaders to have its downtown Vacaville school be aligned with the 12,500-student district.

The governing board will hear a presentation by Paul Keefer, executive director of Pacific Charter Institute, then seek comments and questions from the public and trustees.

The governing board — which, in July 2013, rejected the charter submitted on behalf of Heritage Peak, the PCI charter school at 354 Parker St. — will take action on the petition, an up-or-down vote, as required by law, at its June 29 meeting.

 

Source: New charter school petition on Vacaville Unified agenda