News About Charters & Charters in the News

NEWS ABOUT CHARTERS

Community of Peace, St. Paul, is holding its 5th Annual Signature Fundraising Event (Social and Silent Auction) at Metropolitan State University on Saturday, March 7th.

CHARTERS IN THE NEWS

Lakes International Language Academy, Forest Lake – Sixth graders at the school recently celebrated being halfway to High School Graduation. As part of the celebration students dressed as the professionals they are considering as careers.  – Pioneer Press – 2/8/2015

Laura Jeffrey Academy, St. Paul – 7th grader Julia Nichols was recently recognized with the 2015 Donaldson Science Award at the Science Museum of Minnesota. The $200 award also includes a one-year membership to the Science Museum, is given annually to a minority middle or high school for their involvement in science. Julia was recognized for her science projects in 5th and 6th grade. – Highland Villager – 2/18/2015

CHARTER NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

IllinoisGovernor Rauner has proposed lifting the cap on the number of charter schools in the state.

Maryland - Governor Hogan has introduced legislation  to allow more charter schools, greater autonomy and increased funding.

New York - Governor Cuomo has proposed raising the cap on the number of charter schools by 100 to 560 schools …  The New York City Council Education Chairman has asked all 197 charters in the city to submit copies of board minutes and fraud protection policies and submit to an examination by the city’s Conflict of Interest board of the relationship between charter school board members and developers, following a report that found $28 million in questionable spending.

Washington D.C. – The Public Charter School Board has requested the city council adopt legislation to require more transparency about charter school management corporations, given a recent report on the salaries of charter management executives and school leaders.

New Jersey – A bill has been introduced in the legislature to place charter schools under the salary caps that apply to traditional school districts.

West VirginiaDemocrats in the State Senate blocked a bill to allow county school boards to form charter schools.

AlabamaThe legislature is considering a bill that would allow charter schools – it is one of only 7 states that does not have charter legislation.

Sources: Education Week & The CER Daily Media Clips

Interesting and Innovative Senate Legislation

SF 990 – The Digital Student Achievement Backpack Bill, authored by Senator Wiger would create “a student achievement backpack” meaning for a student from kindergarten through grade 12, a complete learner profile that is in electronic format; follows the student from grade-to-grade and school-to-school; is accessible by the student’s parent or guardian; and is accessible by an authorized local education agency user upon parental authorization.

SF 916 – Teacher Powered Schools Grants, authored by Senator Clausen would provide start-up grants to “teacher-powered schools”, meaning a school site in which the teachers comprise the governance structure of the school, hold the autonomy as specified in subdivision 2 of the site-governed schools law, and assume responsibility for the school’s success.

Comment – SF 916 sounds very much like one of the ideas in the original charter school law. If you remember in the original charter law teachers comprised the majority of the governance structure of the school, and therefore, assumed responsibility for the school’s success.

Fire Marshall School Inspections Legislation Introduced

SF 859 authored by Senator John Pederson and its companion bill HF 326 authored by Representatives Howe, Dehn, Kresha, Hertaus, Heintzman, Torkelson, and Baker would require the State Fire Marshall to implement inspections of every public and charter school facility once every three years and include two follow-up inspections or on-site consultations.

The basic inspection would be paid for by the State of Minnesota rather than schools. However, schools would continue to pay for follow-up inspections and on-site consultations at the current per square foot rate.

The legislation would also eliminate the grandfathered authority of local fire departments to do school fire inspections.

Federal Policy – NEW DIRECTIONS?

According to the February 4th issue of EDUCATION WEEK there could be some new directions in federal policy coming.

TEACHER EVALUATION
The newspaper reports that while there is bi-partisan belief that teacher evaluations are important, that the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is unlikely to require states to use teacher evaluations. It quotes Senator Lamar Alexander, chair of the Senate Education Committee as saying: “… Washington will get the best long-term results by creating an environment in which states and communities are encouraged, not ordered, to evaluate teachers.”
The Senate version of the legislation would also eliminate the provision in current law defining “highly qualified” teacher, but would still require that states guarantee that teachers meet state licensure requirements.

TESTING OF ELL STUDENTS

The newspaper also reports that the US Department of Education is exploring how “to ease the burden of testing for English-learners and their teachers.” The newspaper quotes Libia Gil, head of the US Department of Education’ office of English-language acquisition, as stating: “Too much testing that’s not meaningful and not helpful, we don’t support that. What we do support is very clear, precise measures. The challenge is to determine what are the most reliable and credible assessments.”

Elementary School Recess Requirement Introduced in Senate

SF 553 authored by Senators Torres Ray, Bonoff, Kiffmeyer and Stumpf would require school districts as part of the WELLNESS Policies to have a policy on recess. The policy would have to include the total number of minutes of recess each day for students in elementary school – grades K-5. The Recess policy would need to be posted on the school’s website.

The legislation is unusual in that it lays out findings that are the philosophical basis for requiring recess for students. I encourage you to read the findings.

Senate File 553 

Immunization Exemption Modification Legislation

HF 393 authored by Rep. Freiberg and 14 other House members and its companion bill SF 380, authored by Senator Eaton and 3 other senators would modify exemption procedures related to immunizations.

The legislation would require parents to submit a certificate to the school or child care facility that contains: 1] specification of the particular vaccine(s) for which an exemption is sought; 2] a statement from a physician verifying that the physician has reviewed the risks and benefits of vaccines with the parent; 3] an acknowledgement that the child may be prohibited from attending school during an outbreak of the disease which the child is not immunized; and signature of the parent/guardian. There would also be a requirement to renew the certificate prior to entering grade 7.

The legislation would replace the current requirement of a notarized statement of a parent/guardian stating that they have conscientiously held beliefs regarding immunizations.

2015 Minnesota Charter School Compensation Survey Report

Every two years the Association conducts a Compensation Survey of Minnesota’s Charter Schools. The Report based on the Survey provides salary and benefit information based on the size of charter schools. There are four school size categories: Schools under 100 students; 101-250 students; 251-500 students; and 501 or more students.

The 2015 Report will be published over the next week in seven-parts.

  • Part 1- Salary Information for Administrative Staff and Teachers is now available.

http://www.mncharterschools.org/resources/articles-detail.php?ID=3441

  • Part 2 – Salary Information for Other Professional Staff and Support Staff –  available Feb. 3rd
  • Part 3- – Salary System Informationavailable Feb. 3rd

Part 4 – Health Insurance
Part 5 – Other Insurance and Benefits
Part 6 – Leave Options for Full-Time Employees
Part 7- Leave Options for Part-Time Employees

NOTE: The Report is available to member schools and to non-member schools that participated in the Survey