During the 17-year reign of the SRC, charter renewals have been approved without any public review. Charters failing to meet standards in academic, financial and organizational areas were routinely renewed without any opportunity for the public to review the Charter School Office evaluations and make meaningful comments.
We have written two letters to the Board asking for them to create a new process for charter renewal, one that is open to the public and is not simply a rubber-stamp for charters that have failed to educate their students. We have also raised the issue in our testimony in Board committee meetings.
So far, we have received no answer to either of our letters.
March 19, 2019
Dear President Wilkerson and Members of the Board:
We write to you concerning the numerous charter renewals that have been postponed indefinitely by the School Reform Commission and the Board over the past three years.
The District has allowed several charters to operate past their 5-year terms. In most if not all cases, this is because the charters have refused to accept the remedies for deficiencies, referred to as “conditions”, that the District has recommended. The Board should discontinue the SRC’s practice of allowing charter operators to use their own refusal to address their schools’ deficiencies as a means of extending their 5-year terms. Several of the schools in question failed to meet academic, organizational, and financial standards. Because of the dearth of public information on these matters, we can only assume that the District has suspended all efforts to have these operators sign new charters. Thus, the idea of a 5-year term for charters becomes meaningless.
In 2016, Universal Audenried and Universal Vare were recommended for non-renewal by the Charter Schools Office. The SRC renewed Vare last year, but Audenried’s non-renewal remains on hold for three years now.
In 2017, twenty-three charter schools were up for renewal (see list below). The SRC voted to renew eight of them at its May 1 Action Meeting. No resolutions were posted for the fifteen who had refused to sign a new charter; thus, no pubic action was taken on them.