Insight Online

February 2015

 

A message from Dr. Darlene Chambers, President and CEO

 

The new year is off to a busy start!

 

Governor John Kasich has addressed growing concerns about charter school accountability in his 2016-2017 budget proposal, as two legislators (Rep. Kristina Roegner, R-Hudson and Rep. Mike Dovilla, R-Berea) have introduced charter reform legislation (H.B. 2) in the Ohio House of Representatives. Senator Peggy Lehner (R-Ketterington) continues to call for a "rewrite" of Ohio's charter school laws and is expected to introduce legislation in the coming weeks.

 

Misperceptions continue about charter school accountability and performance. My outreach to policy makers and media on behalf of charter schools has focused on correcting these misperceptions with "just the facts," which has been a common theme in my conversations.

 

Asked to provide a presentation on charter school accountability to the Ohio House of Representatives Education Committee on January 28, I used two key documents - one outlining the oversight roles and responsibilities of each of the four key charter stakeholders, and one summarizing recent changes to Ohio law aimed at increasing sponsor accountability - as the basis for the presentation.

 

Tough questions from minority party members of the committee served as an opportunity to correct and clarify charter school accountability that currently exists and is defined by law.

 

We know that the conversation around charter school accountability and performance will continue - particularly over the course of the next five months as the state biennial bill process unfolds. OAPCS is committed to serving as a reliable source of information to policy-makers and media throughout the policy debate.

 

Advocacy is a key priority for OAPCS, and I'm pleased to announce that a new Director of Government Affairs has joined the team. Trint Hatt, who recently served as legislative aide to the former chair of the House Education Committee, Rep. Gerald Stebelton, understands the legislative process and Statehouse culture. He's a great addition to our team and will be an excellent resource for OAPCS members.

 

The old saying, "there is strength in numbers" is certainly true with respect to advocacy. As OAPCS membership increases, so too will our profile and credibility at the Statehouse. We extend thanks to those of you who are currently OAPCS members and invite those who are not to join us. Unity is so very important now, and will remain so in the future.

 

I welcome your questions/comments and will continue to share your commitment to the nearly 125,000 students enrolled in Ohio's charter schools.

 


Schools Encouraged to Support OAPCS Facilities Initiative

In an effort to advocate for significant increases in charter school facilities funding, last week OAPCS launched an important initiative in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education and the Colorado League of Charter Schools.

 

All charter school leaders in Ohio have been invited to take our online facilities survey. Additionally, our team has begun the process of contacting schools to schedule site visits and answer questions about the survey.

 

We are pleased to introduce Dave Pontious, who is serving as the Project Manager for this initiative and will be the lead point of contact for scheduling. Dave has worked for both Teach for America and the KIPP Foundation, and is an advocate for school choice. He can be reached directly at (740) 704-2368 or dpontious@oapcs.org.

 

Similar surveys have been conducted in 14 other states. The results have been compiled and used to achieve increased facilities funding and legislative changes beneficial to charter schools. Review other states' reports and learn more about the initiative at: www.facilitiesinitiative.org.        


Legislative Update: 130th General Assembly Lame Duck Legislative Recap

 

The 130th Ohio General Assembly came to a close on December 31, 2014. Prior to adjournment, the House of Representative and the Senate passed legislation addressing a wide range of education issues including changes to the Ohio Achievement Assessments, Fiscal Accountability and school safety drills. The key provisions of interest to charter school stakeholders are as follows:

 

House Bill 367 - Omnibus education bill package

  • Schools must administer the Ohio Achievement Assessment (OAA) for English language arts to all third grade students.
    • Sections 7 and 8
  • Students entering the ninth grade for the first time between July 1, 2014 and July 1, 2015 will have the option to take either physical science or biology end-of-course exams. Students entering the ninth grade on or after July 1, 2015 will be required to take the biology end-of-course exam.
    • R.C. 3301.0712(B)(8)(a) 
  • Exempts from an end-of-course examination students who received high school credit for an applicable course prior to July 1, 2015, rather than July 1, 2014, if the examination was not available for administration prior to July 1, 2015. Students exempted from the end-of-course exam must choose to either be considered to have attained a "proficient" score or use the student's course grade in lieu of a score.
    • R.C. 3301.0712(B)(6)(a)
  • Allows school districts or schools that utilize integrated mathematics instructions to replace the required Algebra I end-of-course exam for an integrated mathematics I end-of-course exam and replace the required geometry end-of-course exam for an integrated mathematics II exam.
    • R.C. 3301.0712(B)(7)(c)
  • Specifies that student scores on state assessments for the 2014-2015 school year be sent to districts and schools by November 15, 2015, instead of within 60 days of administration or June 15 as under current law.
    • R.C. 3301.0711(G)
  • Removes the September 30 deadline for the administration of the language and reading skills portion of the diagnostic assessment to be administered to students in kindergarten through third grade
    • R.C. 3301.0715(A)(2) and 3313.608(B)(1)
  • Requires the assessment to measure college and career readiness to be given in the spring and increases the options from one to multiple nationally standardized assessments to choose from.
    • R.C. 3301.0712(B)(1) 
  • Requires one half unit of instruction in World History and civilizations as part of the social studies curriculum in high school. Prohibits the State Board of Education and the Department of Education from developing or administering an end-of-course examination in the area of world history.
    • R.C. 3313.603(B)(7) and (C)(7)- R.C. 3301.0712(B)(8)

House Bill 10 - Fiscal Accountability bill

  • Requires the fiscal officer of a community school to be suspended when the public school is declared un-auditable, until the Auditor of State or a public accountant has completed a financial audit of the public school.
    • R.C. 3313.30(B), 3314.51(B), 3326.211(B), and 3328.37(B)
  • Requires sponsors of community schools to provide to the governing authority and fiscal officer of the school a written report regarding the review of the financial and enrollment records of the school not later than ten days after each monthly review.
    • R.C. 3314.023
  • Sponsor of a community school declared un-auditable is prohibited from entering into contracts with any additional community schools. If the school fails to make progress to bring its accounts into auditable condition, the Ohio Department of Education is required to cease making payments to that public school.
    • R.C. 3314.51(C)
  • Prior to opening a community school, a governing authority must post a surety bond or cash deposit as a cash guarantee in the amount of $50,000 with the Auditor of State.
    • R.C. 3314.50

House Bill 178 - School Safety bill

  • Requires each public or private school to conduct six fire drills and three safety drills each year, if the school has smoke detectors or a sprinkler system; or nine fire drills and three safety drills each year, if the school does not have smoke detectors or a sprinkler system.
    • R.C. 3737.73(F)
  • Safety drill that include student participation shall be;
    • Conducted with local police or similar chief law enforcement officer
    • Conducted pursuant to the schools emergency management plan
    • At least one of the three safety drills, involve a scenario where students are secured in the school building rather than rapidly evacuated
      • R.C. 3737.73(D)(1)(c) 
  • Require each to conduct one additional "theoretical" safety drill during the school year for faculty and staff.
    • R.C. 3737.73(D)(3)
  • Adds rapid evacuation procedures to school safety drills
    • R.C. 3737.73(D)(1)(a) and (F).

Welcome Aboard

OAPCS welcomes aboard Director Trint Hatt and Associate Director Ben Bundy.

Trint joins the organization as the new Director of Government Affairs. He comes to the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools with a diverse range of skills and experiences. He spent the last two years working for the House Education Chairman where he was responsible for keeping the Representative's calendar, clerking the committee, and serving as the first point of contact for state lawmakers and interested parties. As an aide to the Chairman he gained vital experience and a keen understanding of the legislative process. Most recently, he worked on the Capital Budget bill and the Education Mid-Biennium Review bill.

 

Trint is currently a member of the London City Council in London, Ohio where he is very active serving on numerous boards and volunteering his time. He is a graduate of Capital University with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science. He and His wife Kerri, reside in London, Ohio.

Ben comes aboard as the new Associate Director of Communications and Social Media. He joins the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools after completing a year of service with AmeriCorps VISTA. He spent the past twelve months in Jackson, Michigan with the United Way of Jackson County where he worked with an early childhood literacy program. Ben managed volunteers and communications for the program via social media and website, in addition to gaining experience writing grant proposals and generating funding.

Ben graduated from Spring Arbor University with degrees in International Studies and Spanish. He returns to the world of charter schools, having interned during high school and college with charter school authorizer Ohio Council of Community Schools.


OAPCS Participates in Straight A Day
Thursday, February 5, 2015

 

OAPCS joined the Arts and College Preparatory Academy (ACPA) in the Straight A Day inaugural summit, which occurred at the statehouse this week. The event brought together students, industry thought leaders, educators, legislators, and the business community to share innovative ideas, achievements, and best practices implemented by Straight A grant recipients. More than 40 projects, plus business and community partners, were on display.

 

OAPCS and ACPA showcased the Data Matters Consortium, a group of 17 charter schools supported by OAPCS to implement a data and assessment program to improve student achievement.

 

Tony Gatto, ACPA's Principal, had an opportunity to share the impact of the Data Matters Consortium with many stakeholders, including a conversation with the Governor of Ohio, John R. Kasich. Tony stated that "the professional development provided by OAPCS's Center for Charter School Quality has been invaluable in improving student achievement among the consortium of schools."

 

For more information about the Data Matters Consortium, click here.

 


Save The Date


9th Annual State Conference
Coming of Age - 18 Years and Counting
Ohio Union at The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio
November 12-13, 2015



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