Charter School Accountability Committee recommends revocation of Delaware MET's charter
The Delaware Department of Education's Charter School Accountability Committee today recommended the revocation of Delaware MET’s charter in January because of academic, operational, governance and financial problems at the Wilmington school.
A public hearing is scheduled for 5 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Carvel State Office Building at the corner of 9th and French streets in Wilmington. Public comment will be accepted through December 11. After reviewing the full record, Secretary of Education Steven Godowsky will present his decision regarding the school’s future to the State Board of Education for its assent at the board’s December 17 meeting.
Issues considered by the committee include:
· Educational program, specifically:
o Fidelity to the school’s approved curriculum and instructional program, including the Big Picture Learning instructional model, use of technology, participation in various coalitions, and implementation status of project-based learning. Lessons plans submitted to CSAC also were found to be out of alignment with the state’s academic standards.
o Special education services, including the results of a recent monitoring visit by the Department of Education’s Exceptional Children Resources staff that found the school was out of compliance with all 59 of its students’ Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).
· School culture, specifically safety and discipline concerns
· Governing board and leadership capacity, specifically lack of compliance with open meeting laws
· Financial viability, specifically due both to decreased student enrollment and the school’s budget not reflecting full compliance with programmatic requirements, including special education
Delaware MET, which opened this fall, was placed on formal review by the State Board of Education on October 15.
Should Secretary Godowsky and the State Board follow the committee's recommendation to revoke the charter, the school would close on January 22, the end of the second marking period. The state would assist the school’s 210 students and their families in moving to other schools for the rest of the academic year. The children may return to the district schools in their home feeder patterns or choice into another district or charter school that is accepting students. The receiving schools would receive prorated funding for the returning students.
As they look toward next year, families also may fill out the state’s School Choice application for another district or charter school for 2016-17. The application deadline is January 13, 2016.
Delaware MET Formal Review Timeline
· October 16: Formal review notice sent
· November 4: Initial CSAC meeting
· November 9: Initial CSAC report issued
· November 16: Public hearing in Wilmington
· November 24: Deadline for school response to initial report
· December 1: Final CSAC meeting
· December 4: Final CSAC report issued
· December 7: Public hearing, 5 p.m. in 2nd floor auditorium of the Carvel Building, 9th and French streets, Wilmington
· December 11: Public comment period closes
· December 17: State Board of Education Meeting & Decision
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.
Formal review can be prompted by internal concerns, such as questions about finances, or external concerns, such as tips or complaints from the public. Before recommending formal review, charter office staff typically will meet informally with school leadership to present issues and give the school a chance to respond. The State Board of Education must vote to put a school on formal review, typically based on a recommendation from the Secretary of Education, as was the case with Delaware MET.
Once a school is placed on formal review, the Charter School Accountability Committee convenes. It has 90 days to complete its process. The committee, formed by the Secretary of Education, includes voting members who are Delaware Department of Education staff and a community member as well as ex-officio members, such as representatives from the Delaware Charter School Network and the State Board of Education.