Maine Charter School Commission Meeting - Feb. 7, 2012

Minutes

The State Charter School Commission held meeting on February 7, 2012, at the Cross State Office Building, 111 Sewall Street, Augusta, Maine. The following members were present: James Banks, Sr.; Richard (Dick) Barnes; Lynda Doyle (9:17); Jana Lapoint; Donald Mordecai; and William Shuttleworth.

Excused: Shelley Reed.

Also present were: Jennifer Pooler, Administrative Assistant, Department of Education.

CALLED TO ORDER:

Chair, James A. Banks, Sr., called the meeting to order at 9:00 AM.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

MOVED by Jana Lapoint, seconded by William Shuttleworth, and unanimously voted by those present to approve the January 18, 2012 minutes as written.

OFFICER'S REPORTS:

Chair, James Banks, Sr.:

  • Visited Seacoast Charter School in Kingston, New Hampshire - report later in the meeting
  • Received - Intent to Submit and Charter School Application from NH DOE (Jennifer Pooler copied and distributed to members today)
  • Roberta Tenney from NH DOE Charter School Office was invited to come to a future meeting; she also recommended visiting two other charter schools - North Country Charter School (at-risk) and the virtual education school.

Vice-chair, William Shuttleworth:

  • Nothing to report.

NEW BUSINESS:

  1. Site visit report outs

Jana Lapoint - Seacoast Charter School, Kingston, NH; music & art emphasis

  • 240 students enrolled - have waiting list
  • 27 sending towns - 45 mile radius
  • State provides $5,400/student
  • Do not provide transportation or lunch
  • 13 - 14% special education
    • They talk to parents about what services they can offer; actively counsel out students who need specific services
    • Student:teacher ratio - 22:1 grades 5-8; 18-1 Kindergarten
    • No social worker, no physical education, no nurse, no library, no computers, no guidance
    • Student portfolios are reviewed three times per year
    • Trouble with Board
    • Fundraising is disappointing to the school

Lynda Doyle - Washington, DC charter school; language-based

  • Cannot ask about special education needs
  • Cannot ask about race
  • Cannot ask about behavioral issues
  • Started out K-2, and added a grade annually
  • Strong leadership - finance piece is critical
  1. Small talk while waiting for Sarah Forster: Jim Banks informed the members about a letter he received from an interested charter school group in Cornville. Jana Lapoint doesn't want to rush the process; wants it done right the first time. Jim Banks will forward the email to the group. Donald Mordecai voiced concerns regarding the shortening timeline, lack of support. Jim Banks proposed separating future meeting days into a morning Work Session (presentations) and an afternoon Business Agenda (voting). Judith Jones, MACS, provided comparison between Washington DC's funding and New Hampshire's funding.
  2. Sarah Forster, AG's Office (9:38 - 10:44)
    1. State Charter School Commission Procedures
      1. Looks like the model from the Commission on Governmental Ethics was put into a document with your name
      2. Doesn't fit your Commission - cumbersome for such a small group
        1. Election Process (State Board of Education)
        2. Conducting Commission Meetings (State Board of Education)
        3. Agenda Review Process (State Board of Education)
      3. Several aspects of draft document do not meet legal requirements
      4. Perhaps include a section on who can give the Commission's position/testimony (Jim Banks representing Commission testimony on LD1762)
      5. Have a little time - cannot move forward with SCSC Rules until DOE Rules are adopted

Recommendation - Nominate two members from your group to work with Sarah to draft Rules and Procedures for the SCSC (Jana Lapoint, Richard Barnes, William Shuttleworth).

    1. RFP Process, Policies, Standards and Procedures
      1. Perhaps combine the two Rules into one - internal governing Rules and Procedures and Rules for RFP, application review, etc.
        1. Rules and Procedures - minimum of 60 days once entered the APA process
        2. Issue RFP - at least 60 days
        3. Deadline for RFP - up to 90 days
          1. Sub-committee to review (Section 2407(4))
      2. Work parallel - drafting Rules and Procedures and developing the RFP based solely on the statute, no extra information

Recommendation - Nominate two members from your group to draft RFP- requirements, application, review procedure, contract (none selected - on DOE To Do list).

  1. Hiring Process explanation
    1. Public body must enter into contract or hire people through a public process : wide-spread advertising
  1. Jim Rier, Deputy Commissioner (10:44 - 11:00)
    1. Funding
      1. Pursuant to the charter school law, the EPS Allocation follows the student to charter school (clarified in LD 1783)
        1. Jim Rier will present sample districts EDU 279s and explain EPS "Allocation" (cost of education in each location; has nothing to do with their ability to pay)
          2. Perhaps provide a range of EPS Allocation for regular education and special education
          3. Do not need to provide transportation for 9-12; Mustprovide transportation for K-8
          4. Meals - do you need to provide meals
  2. Temporary Consultant discussion
    1. On hold until supplemental budget is passed
  3. RFP Drafting
    1. Recommendation of the SCSC is to have NACSA prepare the RFP, Application, Evaluation Form, Charter Contract, and the Pre-opening Requirements, Performance Plans, and Monitoring Plans
      1. Jim Banks will contact NACSA to see what this would cost and how soon they could provide it
    2. Need Commissioner Bowen's pre-approved authorization to encumber the funds
    3. New Hampshire's application drafting was prepared by Schoolworks, a Massachusetts based company - schoolworks.com
      1. Talk with Roberta Tenney at NH DOE
  4. Commissioner Stephen Bowen (12:20 - 12:35)
    1. DOE is prepared to support
    2. Provide a To Do list of urgent needs for work and DOE will get it done
    3. Jim Banks to contact NACSA and Schoolworks to see about cost and turnaround time and provide to DOE - the SCSC still will need to make policy decisions; Sarah Forster and Deb Friedman are here to vet that the documents meet the confines of State law, not make policy decisions for the SCSC
    4. Establish needs from across the state and establish a rubric based on those needs
    5. Clarity provided regarding the local school district authorizer oversight
      1. Jennifer Pooler to provide Deb Friedman, Sarah Forster and Commissioner Bowen with the Missouri documents for their feedback
  5. To Do list for DOE
    1. Work with commission to refine rules to guide implementation of charter school legislation
      1. Listening Tour support: advertising, note taking and report from each hearing
        1. Portland
        2. Bangor
        3. Augusta
    2. Need a budget to disseminate information to rural areas of needs, meetings to secure input (listening tour opportunity)
    3. Charter school statewide needs assessment
    4. Support in developing all documents required
      1. Charter School Application - RFP
      2. Charter School Application Evaluation Rubric
      3. Charter Agreement
      4. Creating and Implementing Pre-opening Requirements, Performance Plans, and Monitoring Plans
    5. Have Jim Rier present/explain allocation
      1. Real world examples - range for spec ed and reg ed
    6. Rule making for self-governing of the State Charter School Commission
    7. Communicate and coordinate information to applicants as we garner applications and be the designated conduit for all receiving applications
    8. We need some discretionary money to support commission visits in the field (travel, rental from a meeting room, etc.)
    9. Organize information and charter school applications for Commission review
    10. Coordinate expenses and expense account as approved by Commissioner
    11. Work with the DOE to educate and assist schools and school superintendents in support of charter schools
    12. Liaison support to MEA, MSBA, MACS, MPA, MSMA, MADSEC to keep lines of communication open and positive
    13. Support in developing an advisory committee to review and score applications ( Section 2407 (4))
    14. Draft budgets also attached - revised 2/5/12
  6. Dates for public listening sessions (Portland, Bangor, Augusta)
    1. Portland - March 1, 2012 - Deering High School, cafeteria; 6:30 - 8:00 pm
    2. Bangor - March 8, 2012 - United Technologies Center; 6:30 - 8:00pm
    3. Augusta - not scheduled yet
  7. Review Draft Budgets
    1. 6 month (Jan - June 2012)
    2. One year (July 2012 - June 2013)
  8. Distribution of Sample Documents (Procedures/Applications/RFP)
    1. New York - DOE
    2. Colorado
  9. Workshop only - February 21, 2010 - Cross Office Building, Room 103B; 9:00am - 11:45am

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Submit Expense Account Vouchers to Jennifer Pooler at the end of the meeting

PUBLIC COMMENT:

  • Provide an option for those interested in starting a charter school in rural areas to be involved in the public sessions - perhaps by written input
  • Kim Quinn-Hutchinson introduced Bruce Friend to the SCSC - he has worked with many charter schools, including virtual charter schools. Quite impressed with Maine's charter school law. Recommends the group review South Carolina's charter documents (distributed Jan 18).

ADJOURNMENT:

MOVED by William Shuttleworth, seconded by Richard Barnes, and unanimously voted by those present to adjourn the February 7, 2012 State Charter School Commission meeting at 2:09 PM

Respectfully submitted by Jennifer Pooler