Nevada Ed-Watch

The Ed-Watch series is designed to increase access to information on what decisions
are being made regarding public education in Clark County and Nevada.

What is the SPCSA & what are they responsible for? Considered one of Nevada’s school districts, the SPCSA sponsors and oversees public charter schools. The Authority consists of seven appointed members responsible for overseeing educational and operational standards and holding sponsored schools accountable to the academic achievement of students. 

How often does the SPCSA Board meet? The SPCSA typically meets once a month, generally on Fridays. 

Click here for SPCSA meeting schedule and materials.

Can community members engage at SPCSA Board Meetings? While all meetings of the SPCSA are typically held publicly at the Nevada Department of Education building in Carson City and the Nevada Department of Education building in Las Vegas (1st floor boardroom), all meetings are now held virtually due to the COVID-19 crisis. Members of the public may view the meeting online via the link on the SPCSA’s Public Notice web page and the agenda and any supporting materials can be found here. Public comment may be given on any agenda item at the beginning of the meeting, or public comment regarding any matter that is SPCSA-related may be given at the conclusion of each Board meeting. Members of the community giving public comment can utilize the following conference call line: 1-312-584-2401; extension 3952176# with a time limit of three minutes per speaker. Alternatively, public comment may be submitted in writing to, and any such public comment received prior to the meeting will be provided to the Authority and included in the written minutes of the meeting.

Click here for a list of all SPCSA Members.
Click here for a list of all SPCSA sponsored schools.

Friday, March 4, 2022
State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting
Access the meeting agenda and playback.

What happened at this meeting? 

Public comment 

No public comment was provided.

SPCSA Executive Director’s Report

Highlights from the report include:

  • COVID-19 updates: Some schools are still requiring masks, while others have lifted the mask mandate. SPCSA is working on a plan, but at this time, schools are determining their masking requirements.
  • Emergency funds: 38 charter schools have requested emergency funds.
  • Next cycle: There are 14 letters of intent from September that are carrying into the next cycle. Nine letters of intent were received in January. There were 23 total letters of intent in the April cycle.

Explore the letters of intent.

Board Heard an Update on Focus on Schools: Nevada Prep Charter School Transportation

NV Prep discussed school transportation. More than 50 percent of the school’s students ride the bus, and they currently have two (with an additional two buses planned). Currently, charter schools receive no transportation funding from CCSD. The school posed requests and recommendations for assistance with more systemic solutions regarding student transportation equity.

Explore the presentation.

Board Heard an Update on Nevada Connections Academy

The school will be entering its renewal cycle by this summer, with the decision to renew by the SPCSA by the end of 2022.

Current enrollment for the school is 1,316 students, with continuing growth. The school’s performance framework target is a three-star rating and 56 total points across all indicators. The school recently held four ACT boot camps for students. Various student engagement initiatives also continue.

Explore the presentation.

Board Heard an Update on Approved New Charter Schools for Fall 2022 – Coral Academy of Science

Prior to the lottery, 1,793 applications with the Cadence Campus had been submitted for 1,850 open seats. 607 new applications have been received since the February 15 Authority meeting. Final enrollment counts will take place in October.

Community outreach for the 2021-2022 school year included door-to-door routes, flyers, phone calls, media coverage, and bilingual support for various outreach initiatives.

Explore the presentation.

 Board Heard an Update on Approved New Charter Schools for Fall 2022

  • Battle Born Academy: The school began hiring in December and had 60 applicants for 11-12 positions. Enrollment is currently 55 applications, with another 200 interested. There is a delay in a permanent facility, but the school is exploring additional partnerships, including one with Discovery Children’s Museum. No delay is expected regarding school opening.
  • Sage Collegiate: The school met its lottery for third grade, and has a wait list in three grade levels (kindergarten, first, and third). From the most recent parent/guardian survey, transportation remains a barrier for some students. The school’s facility partner is expected to close on the property located at 4100 W. Charleston Blvd., with renovations commencing soon thereafter. The school is on track to meet its July 18 TOC deadline with the authorizer.

Explore Sage Collegiate’s update.

  • Cactus Park: The school has a groundbreaking event in two months and is in the process of hiring. The school is also exploring potential partnerships for funding and enrollment, board governance training, and talent strategy.
  • Strong Start: The school has confirmed its principal/executive director and has received a $1 million grant from the City of Las Vegas. The school has started its application window and lottery approval with the SPCSA, and is working on finalizing a permanent site.
  • YWLA: The school is currently 41 percent at lottery with 60+ scholars. The lease has been finalized for the facility and are currently building a hiring pipeline.

Board Heard an Update on Charter School Recruitment and Enrollment Plans

In 2019, the SPCSA adopted a five-year strategic plan that centers on a vision of equitable access to high-quality public charter schools for Nevada students. Three goals were established regarding that plan: 1) provide families with access to high quality schools; 2) ensure that every SPCSA student succeeds, including those from historically underserved student groups; and 3) increase the diversity of students served by SPCSA schools. While the SPCSA has seen progress towards these goals, it continues to serve a disproportionately low percentage of students in three student groups – students qualifying for free and reduced-price lunch (FRL), students identified as English Language Learners (ELL), and students with disabilities (IEP).

SPCSA recommends requiring certain schools to develop and submit a recruitment and enrollment plan to supplement additional strategies it has implemented to address these discrepancies. It has proposed focusing on one group at a time, beginning with FRL students, as this has the greatest discrepancy. Proposed strategies include comparing each school’s FRL rate to each school in the district; identifying the schools with the most significant FRL rates; identifying the 25 percent of schools that have the most significant gaps in FRL rates compared to the local district; and removing any school that had at least a 25% increase in the FRL rate from the 2021-21 to 2021-22 school years. SPCSA anticipates that 10-15 schools would be identified to submit and develop a recruitment and enrollment plan.

Explore the briefing.

Board Heard an Update on Emergency Grant Funding

In June, NDE provided the SPCSA and other local educational agencies with allocations for approximately two-thirds of the anticipated ARP ESSER funding. The SPCSA allocated this funding to each charter holder based on a straight per-pupil allocation, plus a supplemental allocation for each charter holder with greater than 40% of students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch reflected in the October 2020 data.

SPCSA staff is considering allocation methodologies for the remaining one-third of the funds. Proposed approaches include carrying over the existing methodology from the first two-thirds of the ARP ESSER funding or exploring a set aside for some of the remaining funds to schools most impacted by a reduction in per pupil funding in the Pupil Centered Funding Plan transition.

Through Assembly Bill 495, the Legislature allocated an additional $15 million from the ARP Act Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds (CSFRF) to Title I charter schools. SPCSA staff have been in frequent communication with the Governor’s Finance Office regarding the timeline and process for allocating these funds.

Explore the briefing.

Board Heard a Presentation and Update on the SPCSA Growth Management Plan

SPCSA is required to provide an update for the Growth Management Plan every two years.

The 2022 Growth Management Plan will include gathering input with community working groups on March 30, 2022; meeting with school districts and NDE; and discussion with the Board in March, with possible action at the May Board meeting.

Staff members identified opportunities for revision, including updating enrollment and academic data; conducting a new survey for existing charter holders regarding possible future growth; summarizing key actions by the Authority in the last two years to further strategic goals; reevaluating existing policies and procedures; and considering opportunities for direct engagement with stakeholders to better identify community needs.

SPCSA Board comments were made regarding the importance of outreach and working groups to the plan revisions.

Explore the Growth Management Plan presentation.

Long-Range Calendar (next 3 months):

Agenda items over the next three SPCSA board meetings are anticipated to include:

  • The Growth Management Plan
  • Overview of the renewal process
  • Amendment applications

Click here to see the long-range calendar.

The next Meeting of the SPCSA Board is scheduled for April 15, 2022 @ 9:00 am. 

Sign up to receive a notification when a new Ed-Watch post is published