DK Haney Roofing

Joyce Foreman has seen how public charter school growth has affected Dallas ISD in recent years, how a new campus can starve an existing neighborhood school, and how the spread of charters has withered the district's student enrollment.  Now, the DISD trustee wants the city to do something about it.  At a Dallas City Council committee meeting this week, Foreman asked the council for help, requesting a city-commissioned study on the overall impacts of charter schools on their communities. She also asked for a moratorium on new charters in her trustee district, which covers southwest Dallas. view article arw

Jan Resseger writes that ECOT—the $1 Billion black hole of Ohio charters—has collapsed, but charters continue to defund public schools that most children attend. “Because of the way Ohio funds charter schools, not only the state but also the local school district loses money when a student leaves for a charter school. In Ohio the money follows the child to the charter right out of the general fund of the school district in which the child resides. Many districts lose more money to charters than they receive in state aid. As the Columbus Dispatch‘s Jim Siegel reports: “Ohio does not directly fund charter schools, instead subtracting the money from individual districts based on where a charter student lives.  view article arw

Comparing them to villains from a Charles Dickens novel who steal from the poor, a federal judge on Friday sentenced Varnett charter school founders Marian Annette Cluff and Alsie Cluff Jr. to 10 years and 3 years in prison, respectively, for running an embezzlement and tax scheme that bilked low-income parents. ollowing a nearly-five-hour hearing, during which victims lamented their financial losses and the Cluffs pleaded for mercy, U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon sentenced the married couple to the maximum sentences outlined in their plea agreements and ordered $4.4 million in restitution. view article arw

A new charter school, set to open for the 2018-2019 school year, sets its goals on language, leadership, service and physical fitness. International Leadership of Texas -- ILTexas -- will open its 17th campus in College Station in August, and had its final informational meeting Thursday at the Brazos Center. Around 100 interested parents attended the meeting to ask questions of school officials. Among the topics discussed was Spanish and Mandarin Chinese taught along with English at the free public charter school and an emphasis on service. view article arw

Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath has approved applications from two new Houston-area charter school operators, which are planning to open elementary campuses south of downtown Houston.  Morath gave the green light Monday to Bloom Academy Charter School and Réve Preparatory Charter School, which both aim to open two campuses within the next several years. The two networks were founded by fellows from Building Excellent Schools, a national nonprofit that trains future charter school leaders. view article arw

On Monday, the commissioner of education approved the applications of three charter schools that are largely funded and supported by an out-of-state organization, Building Excellent Schools, Inc. (BES), which receives millions of dollars annually from Walmart’s pro-privatization Walton Family Foundation. The BES schools named “Reve Preparatory” and “Bloom Academy” would be located in Houston and “Promesa Academy” would be located in San Antonio. Both of these cities are among 13 “target” cities the Walton Foundation has chosen to further its school privatization agenda. view article arw

Low-income students who won a lottery to attend private school via vouchers in the District of Columbia score lower on math tests, even after two years, according to a federal analysis from the Institute of Education Sciences. Washington has the only federally-funded voucher program in the country.  view article arw

Midland ISD held a conversation on Tuesday about the future of Travis Elementary, and that conversation involves the potential of the first in-district charter. The school in southeast Midland has struggled academically for years. Superintendent Orlando Riddick said the district has an opportunity to dramatically change the school, and on Tuesday he presented that opportunity to interested parents as part of a conversation about ideas to improve the quality of education at Travis. view article arw

History has shown us that true visionaries, like Steve Jobs and Thomas Edison, saw things the rest of us didn’t. And history is marked with episodes of their frustration as they tried to tell the public of their grand plans to no avail. And so it is in that context that we approach the seemingly off-the-wall request by PSJA ISD Superintendent Dr. Daniel King to convert his entire school district into a “charter school” status by the start of school in the fall, in a quirky and innovative play for more state funding. view article arw

Four finalists will be interviewed by TEA and SBOE members today and tomorrow, which the commissioner will consider for approval, subject to a SBOE veto at their June 15 meeting.  The Generation 23 application cycle is now entering the Interview stage.  The interviews are scheduled to take place on May 21st and May 22nd; a detailed schedule (PDF, 110 KB) is also available. The applications may be found on the Subchapter D & E Applications .   read more arw

A statewide education advocacy group says traditional public schools outperformed charter campuses in North Texas last year. About 45 percent of area school district campuses earned A's and B's while only 27 percent of charter schools got those top marks in an annual report released Wednesday by Houston-based Children At Risk. The Children At Risk grades could be a preview of what's to come as the state begins issuing its own grades for the first time in a new A-F accountability system. The state will start grading districts this year and individual campuses the following year. view article arw

On Monday, we released a report that disclosed five K12 (NYSE:LRN) schools that are closing or at risk of closing after this school year and a first ever union contract for the California Virtual Academies. We estimate that the lost revenue and increased expenses will cause pre-tax earnings to decline $20 Million and lead K12 to lose money in fiscal 2019 and beyond. view article arw

PHOENIX (AP) — More than 100 Arizona charter schools showed financial warning signs last year with dozens at possible risk of closing, according to a newspaper's analysis of charter school finances across the state.  Operators representing 138 of the state's 538 charter schools failed three of four measures reported in financial performance dashboards for the 2016-17 school year, The Arizona Republic reported .  Charter holders of 62 schools failed all four measures. The charter holders of 41 schools were flagged by their auditors over concerns that closure was possible within a year. view article arw

Texas charter schools are sometimes private and sometimes governmental — a legal framework that has helped them avoid costly lawsuits. In 2006, in Dallas, a construction company sued a charter school, alleging that the school stiffed workers on a building contract to the tune of a couple hundred thousand dollars.  Eight years later, in Houston, a third grade teacher sued the charter school where she worked, alleging that it had falsified test scores, that it failed to properly provide for students with disabilities and that mold in her classroom had made her sick. Their claims did not make it very far. view article arw

In the latest U.S. News & World Report ranking of the top public high schools in America, seven of the top 10 are test-in schools. Students have to be “gifted and talented” or come armed with high test scores and grades as well as teacher recommendations and the ability to write a great essay on demand. And then there are the three BASIS schools that ranked second, third and sixth. They are all Arizona charter schools with no admissions tests. The only requirement is an application for the lottery. view article arw

Long before the groundswell of demands for higher teacher pay that led to a school walkout in Arizona, one of the state's high-profile charter schools found a novel way to boost teachers' income: Push parents to pay. Basis Charter Schools Inc., one of the state's fast-growing charter organizations, gets tax money to run its Arizona campuses as public schools. They're open to any family, tuition-free. view article arw

In a move intended to send an angry message about new state laws governing the creation and funding of new charter schools, Florida’s Leon County School Board recently voted unanimously to reject applications from two groups hoping to open new schools in the Tallahassee area. “It is time for the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Legislature to fix this flawed system,” Schools Superintendent Rocky Hanna wrote in a commentary published in the Tallahassee Democrat. “Until then, I will not be recommending the approval of any new charter school applications.” view article arw

Largely lost in the loud, raucous debate last week over what the Houston Independent School District should do with 10 failing schools, a concern was raised about the HISD proposal that would have handed the schools to a charter school group the district’s union president described as a “real estate scam.” Houston Federation of Teachers chief, Zeph Capo, suggested that an Energized For STEM Academy school chief is profiting from rented buildings paid for by tax dollars.

Waco Independent School District trustees have approved an application and contract to build an in-district charter system with Prosper Waco, taking another major step to prevent the state from closing five underperforming schools. view article arw

Not everyone on the Waco Independent School District Board of Trustees agrees with partnering with Prosper Waco. One board member saying she doesn't think it will help. But the Waco ISD Superintendent thinks otherwise. view article arw

ast year, the Orlando Sentinel exposed scandals, violations and gaffes galore at voucher schools in this state.  There were teachers without degrees, schools caught falsifying safety reports, schools run by people accused of crimes and schools that were such financial messes they were evicted from their campuses in the middle of the school year.  Demonize public schools all you want. There won’t be a day when you take your kid to an Orange County school only to find the school is no longer there. view article arw

Houston ISD leaders will not turn over control of their 10 longest-struggling schools to any outside organizations, district leaders announced Wednesday, a decision that shifts enormous power over HISD's future to the Texas Education Agency. The move, in all likelihood, means HISD must receive accountability or sanctions waivers from TEA Commissioner Mike Morath for the district to avoid forced campus closures or a state takeover of its locally elected school board. The potential punishments follow HISD's failure to improve performance at the 10 schools and the bipartisan passage of a new education law in 2015 designed to propel academic improvement. view article arw

A charter school in Texas apologized on Friday after students were asked to write a list of the positive aspects of slavery.  In a Facebook post, Aaron Kindel, the superintendent of the Great Hearts academies in Texas, apologized for the eighth-grade history class assignment, saying that the incident was limited to just one teacher at one particular school. "In the 8th grade American History class students were asked to reflect on the differing sides of slavery," the Facebook post reads. "To be clear, there is no debate about slavery. It is immoral and a crime against humanity." view article arw

Tension is brewing between students, teachers and school leaders at Fort Worth's Academy of Fine Arts. Teachers claim they've been bullied and board members keep resigning, while students protested for more transparency and communication when their principal of 12 years left abruptly.  view article arw

Faced with a $4.4-million restitution bill stemming from an embezzlement case, Varnett charter school founders Marian Cluff and Alsie Cluff Jr. have dropped the list price of their south Houston mansion by $1 million in an effort to sell the estate faster, court records and online listings show.  The Cluffs, a husband-and-wife duo who admitted to embezzling $2.6 million in school-related funds and failing to disclose the money on federal tax returns, are seeking buyers for their six-bedroom, 7,000-square-foot estate as they try to pay back the government and local victims. After originally listing their Riverside Terrace mansion at $3.5 million, the Cluffs gradually have dropped the price to $2.5 million — still the most expensive listing in a 2.5-mile radius, according to the Houston Association of Realtors’ website. view article arw

When I read about the demise of Toys “R” Us in the New York Times, I was reminded of the business books I read to understand the corporate raiders who caused the collapse of many iconic American businesses. Michael Milken, junk bond king and founder of the online charter chain K12 Inc., bought control of undervalued businesses, broke them up into parts, kept the profitable parts, discarded the unprofitable parts, and loaded them up with debt. The investors made money but the company disappeared under a mountain of debt. view article arw

(July 2015)  HOUSTON – A federal grand jury has returned a 19-count indictment against the founding superintendent of The Varnett Public School and her husband alleging charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, tax evasion and obstruction of justice, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson along with Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner of the FBI, Special Agent in Charge Lucy Cruz of Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and Special Agent in Charge Neil Sanchez of the U.S. Department of Education - Office of Inspector General.  Marian Annette Cluff and Alsie Cluff Jr. are expected to surrender to authorities and make their initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Johnson later this week.  view article arw

Don't miss this line:  Bright said students will ask the board to have more public meetings and post online audio, like any other school system. - js - FORT WORTH One of Fort Worth's most successful public schools is going through its own little drama.  Faculty changes and the forced removal of a school board member have rocked the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts, home of Broadway stars and ranked the 11th best school in Dallas-Fort Worth by niche.com.  After the departure of the high school principal and some faculty members, about 40 students are pictured wearing black in protest on social media pages called “Join Our Movement.” view article arw

It’s official — Puerto Rico will move forward with plans to reshape its public education system through charter schools and private school vouchers, reform efforts that have proved highly controversial as the island confronts hurricane recovery efforts and a devastating financial crisis. Six months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island last September, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló signed into law last week sweeping legislation to inject the tattered public education system with school choice, among other changes. And while public officials have been in talks with leading education reform groups from the mainland U.S., Education Secretary Julia Keleher said she expects their reform efforts to be “uniquely Puerto Rican.” view article arw

Less than 2 months after Houston ISD in-district charter school Victory Prep North abruptly closed after running out of money, Victory Prep South notified Houston ISD officials that it did not have enough funds to finish out the school year.  Houston ISD's board voted 7-0, with two trustees absent, to spend $300,000 to keep the school open through June. The school will close its doors permanently this summer. view article arw

Trustees at San Antonio Independent School District voted to hand operations of one of the district’s most troubled campuses to a charter school organization. This fall, New York-based charter network Democracy Prep will take over Stewart Elementary School on San Antonio's southeast side. The move stalls interventions set to take place by the Texas Education Agency in August, making Stewart Elementary eligible for a two year reprieve for improvement. view article arw

In the aftermath of a controversial decision to hand operations of Stewart Elementary School to Democracy Prep Public Schools, leaders of the New York-based charter network spent part of last week in San Antonio looking to mend fences.  Teachers and some parents vociferously oppose San Antonio Independent School District trustees’ decision March 19 to contract with Democracy Prep to take over Stewart next school year. The board acted to prevent the state from closing the school, which has failed to meet Texas accountability standards for five consecutive years. Opponents have raised concerns about the charter’s discipline policies and lack of a bilingual program or contracts for teachers. view article arw