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 one 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.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022
State Public Charter School Authority Special Board Meeting
Access the meeting agenda.

What happened at this meeting? 

Public comment 

Members of the public provided comments regarding: 

  • The school mask mandate.
  • Feedback from students about how Coral Academy has supported their education and language development.

Find written public comment here.

SPCSA Annual Overview of the State of the SPCSA

The mission of the SPCSA is to sponsor, support, and oversee “dynamic and responsive public charter schools that prepare all students for academic, social, and economic success.”

Milestones and highlights:

  • SPCSA was authorized through a bill enacted in 2011.
  • The first meeting of the board was held on February 10, 2012 and SPCSA just hit its 10-year anniversary.
  • Melissa Mackedon, the board’s Chair, and staff member Danny Peltier have served with the Authority since its inception and will be honored with a plaque.
  • There are 70 SPCSA-sponsored schools, up from 15 schools in 2012.
  • 66% of schools overseen by the SPCSA are rated as four or five stars as last reported, up from 47% in 2012.
  • SPCSA serves 55,415 students across state-sponsored charter schools, up from 10,706 in 2012.
  • SPCSA serves 11% of public school students in Nevada.
  • Pinecrest Academy – Inspirada Campus was the first Nevada charter school recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School for the category of Exemplary High-Performing in 2021.
  • The graduation rate for 2021 was 86.8% — all but one SPCSA-sponsored high school exceeded the state’s graduation rate.
  • All SPCSA student groups are exceeding their state peers in Math and ELA.
  • 72.2% of SPCSA-sponsored schools are growing the special education student group in ELA faster than the state.

Explore the presentation.

Board Heard Update on New Charter School Campuses for Fall 2022

  • Nevada State High School – North Las Vegas Campus
    • The campus was approved on June 26, 2020. In April 2021, the Authority approved a request by the school to defer opening due to COVID-19. The school anticipates opening in Fall 2022 with 100 students in grades 11-12.

Explore the Nevada State High School update.

  • Coral Academy of Las Vegas – Cadence Campus
    • Coral Cadence Campus was approved with conditions on February 26, 2021. The school anticipates serving approximately 850 students in Pre-K through 8th grade in the initial year. 50% of students that will be served will qualify for FRL.

The board heard a presentation from representatives of Coral Academy about their community engagement initiatives and recruitment strategies. Coral Academy will return with an update on these efforts at the March meeting.

No action was taken by the board on this agenda item.

Explore the presentation.

Board Approved Staff Recommendations on the Financial Performance Framework and Ratings for the 2020-21 School Year

The Financial Performance Framework is a tool utilized to evaluate a charter school’s financial well being, health, and performance as part of ongoing monitoring and the renewal decision making process. Charter schools have the autonomy to manage their finances consistent with state and federal law; however, sponsors must ensure that the schools they sponsor are financially stable. Schools that do not meet standards can be moved to the following interventions: Notice of Concern, Notice of Breach, and Notice of Intent to Revoke. 

The board approved the following recommendations brought forth by SPCSA staff:

  • Accept performance data for all schools included in the presentation.
  • Remove the active Notice of Concern for Nevada Virtual Academy as the school is meeting standards.
  • Request a Targeted Remediation Plan from Explore Academy.
  • Issue a Notice of Concern for Signature Preparatory Academy.

Explore the presentation.

Board Approved Recommendations on Charter School Contract Amendment Applications 

  • Mater Academy of Nevada – Approved (with conditions) for the expansion of Pre-K starting the 2022-23 school year at the East campus and addition of a Dual Credit program.

Explore the recommendation memo.

  • Alpine Academy – Approved (with modifications) to increase the enrollment cap for the school from 140 to 160 for grades 9 -12 and adopt a weighted lottery policy for the 2022-23 school year.

Explore the recommendation memo.

  • Pinecrest Academy of Nevada – Approved (with modifications and conditions) to increase the enrollment caps of the existing Cadence and Sloan Canyon campuses and open Pinecrest Virtual Academy for the 2022-23 school year with an enrollment cap of 80 students in the initial year.

Explore the recommendation memo.

  • Somerset Academy of Las Vegas – Approved to adjust the enrollment cap and modify grade levels from K-8 to K-5 at the North Las Vegas campus for the 2022-23 school year as well as adopt a weighted lottery policy.

Explore the recommendation memo.

Representatives of the schools were present to share updates and answer questions from board members.

Board Heard Presentation on Charter School Enrollment and Lotteries

Public charter schools:

  • Are free and open to all students.
  • Have no admission criteria. 
  • Do not discriminate in admissions processes in accordance with NRS 388A.453(6) & NAC 388A.538.
  • Have enrollment caps.

If fewer students apply than available seats, public charter schools are not required to run a lottery. If more students apply than available seats, a lottery is required.

Public charter schools conduct a two-part enrollment process for admissions:

  • An application which includes basic information (name, DOB, age, grade, contact info) prior to the lottery.
  • A full enrollment packet with detailed information (health information, IEP, EL, emergency contact) following the lottery.

Public charter schools may have preferences that give some students enrollment priority, such as siblings currently enrolled at the school, children of employees, and students within two miles of the school. The schools may also conduct a weighted lottery to give some students a greater chance of acceptance, such as students who are economically disadvantaged, students with disabilities, students with limited English proficiency, and students experiencing homelessness.

SPCSA monitors enrollment processes and application forms for compliance with SPCSA requirements and state and federal statutes.

Explore the presentation.

Board Heard Presentation on and Approved COVID-19 Update and Plan for the Safe Return to In-Person Instruction

SPCSA staff shared updates regarding:

  • COVID Mitigation Plans: Under Emergency Directive 052, schools can either draft an additional plan that sits alongside their existing plan or draft a revised plan. The plan must include 1) a policy on face coverings, 2) a COVID-19 testing program, and 3) a method for detecting, responding to, and mitigating COVID-19 outbreaks. The plan must be passed along to the Department of Health and Human Services for approval.
  • Face Coverings: Under Emergency Directive 052, face coverings are optional in school settings and charter schools may develop a policy that requires use of them. Masks are still required on all public transportation, including school buses, and schools must continue to follow quarantine guidelines.
  • Ensuring proper handwashing, respiratory etiquette, cleaning and disinfection per CDC guidelines.

Explore the Plan for the Safe Return to In-Person Instruction.

Explore the Governor’s Emergency Directive 052.

Long-Range Calendar (next 3 months):

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

  • A presentation on emergency funds.
  • A presentation by Coral Academy in March on their progress.

Click here to see the long-range calendar.

The next Meeting of the SPCSA Board is scheduled for March 4, 2022 @ 9:00 am. 

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