Meetings
 
District School Board of Pasco County
7227 Land O' Lakes Boulevard Land O' Lakes, Florida 34638 • 813/794-2000
Heather Fiorentino, Superintendent www.pasco.k12.fl.us
 
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Contact :
Nancy Scowcroft, Supervisor of Charter Schools
(813) 794-2408 
DATE: November 22, 2011
TO: HONORABLE SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS
FROM:
Heather Fiorentino, Superintendent
Renalia DuBose, Assistant Superintendent for Administration
SUBJECT: Recommendation to Deny the Classical Preparatory School Charter Application
Introduction:

Pursuant to s. 1002.33(6), Florida Statutes, the School Board is required to timely review and consider all new charter applications submitted annually and, by majority vote, approve or deny each application.  On August 1, 2011, the District School Board of Pasco County received an application for Classical Preparatory School. 

Description:

The Classical Preparatory School application proposes a Kindergarten - grade 10 charter school with a focus on classical education.  The school would serve 156 students in Kindergarten – grade 6 in year 1; 214 students in Kindergarten – grade 7 in year 2; and 276 students in Kindergarten – grade 8 in year 3, 342 students in Kindergarten – grade 9 in year 4; and 408 students in Kindergarten – grade 10 in year 5.  The anticipated location would be along SR 54 between Trinity and Land O’ Lakes.

The District’s Charter Application Review Committee (“Committee”) held the Classical Preparatory School applicant interview on September 1, 2011.  The interview was attended by the founding board members of the charter school.

The Committee conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the application utilizing the Florida Department of Education’s Model Florida Charter School Evaluation Instrument.  The Committee identified deficiencies in 7 of the 18 applicable sections in the evaluation instrument.  (Note:  An application section that was determined to be “Partially Meets the Standard” or “Does Not Meet the Standard” was identified as deficit.)

The Classical Preparatory School charter application failed to satisfactorily meet the minimum statutory requirements for approval in the following areas:

Budget and Financial Management and Oversight

Pursuant to F.S. 1002.33(6)(a)5 and F.S. 1002.33(6)(b)2, the applicant failed to provide an financial plan that included realistic planning and budgeting as evidenced by the following:

As stated in the application, the start-up budget relies on the Federal Charter Schools Program grant or a $150,000 loan for the start-up period and $10,000 from pre-opening fundraising.  The Federal Charter Schools Program grant and funds from future fundraisers cannot be guaranteed.  Further, no identifying information, letters of commitment or other tangible evidence of funding sources were provided.  Consequently, these funds cannot be considered in the budget review.

The budget failed to reflect sufficient funds for computer hardware necessary for computer-based testing and annual allocations for teacher performance pay in accordance with Senate Bill 736.

Pursuant to F.S. 1002.33(7)(a)9, the applicant failed to provide a reasonable demonstration of the professional experience or competence of the individuals or organizations that would provide financial management services.  Pursuant to F.S. 1002.33(6)(a)5, the application lacked evidence of a clear description of a system of strong internal controls sufficient to safeguard finances.

Curriculum

In accordance with F. S. 1002.33(6)(a)(4) and F. S. 1002.33(7)(a)2, the applicant failed to demonstrate how the school will provide a reading curriculum and differentiated strategies that will be used for students reading at grade level or higher and a separate curriculum and strategies for students who are reading below grade level. Pursuant to F. S. 1002.33(6)(a)4, "A sponsor shall deny a charter if the school does not propose a reading curriculum that is consistent with effective teaching strategies that are grounded in scientifically based reading research. "

The applicant stated that the school plans to utilize the SRA McGraw Hill's Reading Mastery for grades as the core reading program for K - 2, but failed to provide a reading curriculum for students in grades 3 and above that is grounded in scientifically based reading research and aligned to the standards.
 
Further, the applicant failed to identify how the school would provide intensive reading for middle school and high school students who are reading below grade level. Pursuant to F. S. 1003.4156, middle school students who score at Level 1 on FCAT Reading are required to complete an intensive reading course. Those students who score at Level 2 must be placed in an intensive reading course or a content area reading intervention course. Pursuant to Section 1003.428, F. S., high school students who score at Level 1 on FCAT Reading are required to complete an intensive reading course. Those students who score at Level 2 must be placed in an intensive reading course or a content area reading intervention course.
 
The curriculum plan failed to identify an intensive math program for Level 1 and 2 middle school students.
 
The applicant failed to provide a sufficient level of detail necessary to thoroughly review the high school curriculum and determine if the curriculum meets the graduation requirements under F. S. 1003.43. 

Student Performance, Assessment and Evaluation

Pursuant to F.S. 1002.33(6)(a)3, the application failed to provide annual goals and objectives for student progress and specific academic improvement students are expected to demonstrate for each year of the charter.

Further, the application failed to provide evidence that a range of assessments, administered with sufficient frequency, would be used to measure student performance, or how the effective use of data would inform instructional decisions for improved student learning.

Strategic Focus: Prepare students for global citizenship.
Strategic Goal: All students will meet or exceed high academic standards. 
Action Requested:

The staff respectfully requests that the Board deny the Classical Preparatory School charter application based upon statutory good cause. 

Recommendation:
The staff respectfully recommends that the Board deny the Classical Preparatory School charter based upon statutory good cause.
 
Attachment:        Model Florida Charter Application Evaluation Instrument
 
ATTACHMENTS:
Type: Description:
Backup Material Classical Preparatory Evaluation Instrument