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FFA charter renewed, school placed on formal review

Family Foundations Academy Charter School will remain open next year after the State Board of Education assented to Secretary of Education Mark Murphy’s decision to renew its charter today. Meanwhile, State Board members also assented to his decision to place the school’s new charter on formal review.

Last month, Murphy deferred making a decision on Family Foundations’ charter renewal application due to additional information the state received fewer than 24 hours prior to the December State Board meeting. As a result of Department of Education monitoring and investigation, the state had obtained a report including serious allegations of financial mismanagement. That report and other information related to the school’s renewal application are available here. Family Foundations’ board agreed to waive the 60-day time period for a decision on its renewal application.

During the past month, the department has reviewed the report and other related information. The State Auditor's Office is completing its own investigation.  Questions related to the State Auditor's investigation should be directed to that office.

The school, which serves students in grades kindergarten through 8, has met the standard under the state’s Academic Framework for the past two years. The issues uncovered through the report and department's review relate to financial and organizational matters.

Murphy decided today to renew the charter subject to several conditions.

The Secretary said he took into consideration some significant changes made by the school, including:

 ·         The termination of the school’s former co-directors

·         Reorganization of the board, including the resignation of the majority of board members and election of five new board members. Two previous FFA board members remaining also have indicated their intention to resign. The new board elected officers, all of whom have experience in the same roles at another charter school.

·         The new board engaged the services of Dr. Lamont Brown, head of school at EastSide Charter, to assist Family Foundations in overseeing the school’s operations.

·         Discontinuance of any state or other credit cards obtained by the school

 The Board assented to the Secretary's decision for renewal as well as his decision to immediately put the school on formal review.

About formal review

The purpose of the formal review process is to see if a school is violating the terms of its charter. It is an investigative tool to see if remedial measures are needed. The State Board must assent to the Secretary's decision to submit a charter to formal review.  

When a charter is under formal review, a Charter School Accountability Committee is appointed by the Secretary. The voting members of this committee may include employees of the Department and community representatives.  Representatives of the Charter School Network and the State Board of Education serve as non-voting, ex-officio members. The Secretary has 60 working days after the notice of formal review is given to the charter school to issue his decision.

 

Alison May
alison.may@doe.k12.de.us
(302) 735-4000