Testimony of Diane Payne to the Board of Education, May 30, 2019

The convoluted trail of pending charter school decisions is a labyrinth that is impossible for the public to follow. Yet, it is public tax dollars that flow into charter school coffers. On the C.S. webpage, the 18/19 cohort has 12 renewals and the 17/18 cohort has 18 renewals.

Then there are the requests for amendments which could be name changes, location changes and/or requests for increasing enrollment.

18/19 SY – 3 mid cycle requests

17/18 SY – 6 amendment requests with their renewals

17/18 SY – 7 mid cycle requests

16/17 SY – 6 requests

There are 2 reapplications

And finally, 1 MCSO application

To add to the confusion, Belmont is on the list today for renewal even though they don’t appear on C.S. renewal page. Only if you attended the F&F meeting would you know that Belmont wants to buy the building they are in. It is impossible to tell by looking at the C.S. website which schools are operating without signing their renewal agreements. Belmont seems to be one of those schools. They have operated without signing the agreement until now when they want to buy the building. CEO Michael Karp, the real estate developer turned C.S. operator, seems to want to increase his portfolio.

And once again, Audenried seems to have disappeared.

This is a total of 56 pending decisions. These schools are frequently in the Watch and even Intervene Academic category.

Charter School vendors are relentless in their quest for more and why not…so far they have not had to achieve academic standards in the model or even reinforce category to get renewed, increase enrollment and/or open more schools.

Please vote NO on Action Item 79 the reapplication of TACKS @ St. Vincent. They have resubmitted a flawed application, nothing has changed about the questionable location except even more questions, and their existing schools are not performing adequately.

A.I. 75 for Ad Prima’s renewal you will be voting on a school in the Watch category.

A.I. 76 Belmont’s renewal, you will be voting on a school in the Intervene category.

A.I. 77, Esperanza’s renewal, you will be voting on a middle school in the Intervene category and a high school in the Intervene category.

A.I. 78, Mariana Bracetti’s renewal, you will be voting on an elementary school in the Intervene category and a high school in the Watch category. They also have the audacity to ask for an enrollment increase.

It is understandable why parents fight to keep their C.S. open – they are looking out for what they believe to be in the best interest of their child. It is imperative that public officials fight to guard the welfare of all children and spend public dollars on the public good.