State Public Charter School Authority (SPCSA)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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, June 23, 2023
State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting
What happened at this meeting?
SPCSA Executive Director’s Report
Highlights from the report include:
- New Charter School Application Update: Eight applications were received, and the initial review of each school has been completed. The team is preparing for capacity interview in July, and from there, review teams will use the rubric to evaluate each application. Recommendations will be presented to the Board in August.
- Charter School Transportation Funding: Assembly Bill 400 provided $7 million per school year for charter school transportation. Schools will submit an application that contains the transportation plan, charter amendment request, and funding request, with the goal of having a streamlined way to implement the plan quickly and efficiently and improve access. Additional information on implementation will be provided at the next board meeting.
Board Heard an Update on New Schools
- Eagle Charter Schools of Nevada – The school currently has 327 students fully enrolled and is following up with 152 students with interest or with missing documentation. Enrollment efforts have significantly ramped up over the last several weeks. The school needs to hire two teachers to fulfill staffing requirements. It is submitting an exemption request for temporary facilities, as its permanent facility will not be ready in time for the beginning of the school year.
- Pinecrest Academy – Springs Campus – There are currently 160 students enrolled, with several events planned in July to boost enrollment and an additional marketing push. A focus is on first and second grade students. The facility remains on track to be completed by early July. Hiring is completed, and the school has applied for Title 1, Title 4, and CSP funds. Explore the presentation.
- Rooted School – School leadership was approved to defer the opening of the school to the 2024-25 school year due to obstacles faced with low enrollment, a shortened planning year, and building community partnerships. Explore the recommendation memo.
- Southern Nevada Trades High School – The facility is on track to be ready on July 7. All faculty have been hired for the school’s current enrollment levels. There are 64 fully enrolled students, and 11 needing to complete documentation. There are an additional 48 interested students. New financial models have been run with the current enrollment scenario and show the financial feasibility of the school. Explore the update.
Board Heard an Update on the Closure of Girls Empowerment Middle School (GEMS)
The school is on track to meet its deadlines outlined by its closure plan. Eighty-five percent of students have committed to other schools, with 14 students outstanding, who were looking independently at options for the next school year. Staff members have been offered networking opportunities and support, and payroll will be consistent through the end of contract period. The building has been mostly vacated, and the school is working through the final steps of releasing the building back to the landlord.
Board Reviewed School Contract Amendment Applications
Equipo Academy was approved to expand its enrollment to 875 students for the 2023-24 school year, 890 students for the 2024-25 school year, 905 students for the 2025-26 school year, and so forth. There will be a new facility, which was previously leased to Battle Born Academy for the 2022-23 school year, but will be vacated for the upcoming school year. Explore the recommendation memo.
Young Women’s Leadership Academy was approved to expand enrollment into the eighth grade for the 2023-24 school year, one year earlier than previously authorized. Explore the recommendation memo.
Eagle Charter Schools of Nevada was conditionally approved to move to a temporary facility at Cambridge Recreation Center for the month of August. This is due to construction delays.
Board Received a Report on Site Evaluations Conducted During the 2022-23 School Year
SPCSA staff conducts site evaluations to gather data, monitor organizational performance, and ensure accountability, as well as build relationships, with charter schools. During the 2022-23 school year, 57 site evaluations were conducted, with 1,288 classrooms observed in total. Most schools found it to be a positive experience, with strong communication and clear expectations identified as important to a meaningful evaluation process.
Staff identified strong leadership, school culture, and climate as common strengths throughout schools. Challenges identified include enrollment, increasing student diversity, chronic absenteeism, opportunity gaps, regressive social-emotional behaviors, challenging behaviors, teacher shortages, and meeting the needs of vulnerable students.
Next steps include reviewing survey information to improve the site evaluation process for next year, finalizing the schedule for the next school year, revising the handbook, and reviewing forms. Explore the presentation.
Board Reviewed Finance Performance Review and Recommendations for the 2021-2022 School Year
Each school earns performance ratings of either Meets Standard Rating, Does Not Meet Standard, or Falls Far Below Standard, which can trigger a Notice of Concern or Notice of Breach.
The Board approved the Financial Performance Framework results presented for CIVICA Career and Collegiate Academy, Explore Academy, and Mater Academy of Northern Nevada. Additionally, Notices of Concern were issued to CIVICA Academy and Explore Academy, requiring each to develop and submit financial improvement plans and provide quarterly status updates. Explore the recommendation memo.
Board Approved Revisions to the SPCSA Performance Framework
Revisions to the Financial Performance Framework include additional clarity for overall projection and enrollment numbers (used for networks, not individual campuses); additional language for Net Liability Considerations to accommodate potential exceptions to both the Total Margin and Debt Service Coverage Ratio calculations; and an updated glossary with additional definitions and technical clarifications.
Revisions to the Organizational Performance Framework include minor language updates for notices and late submissions, annual independent audit submissions, and board member disclosure forms; revised language on the self-certification form; and updating the scorecard in Appendix B.
The Board approved the proposed technical changes to both frameworks. Explore the presentation, Financial Performance technical guide draft, and the Organizational Performance technical guide draft.
Board Received a Summary of the 2023 Legislative Session
Highlights of the presentation on SPCSA-relevant legislation that passed during the session included:
- AB 65 – Requires students be five years of age or older on or before August 1 to enroll in kindergarten
- AB 54 – Changes requirements related to excused absences and chronic absenteeism
- AB 185 – Adds military-connected students to the list of statutorily authorized priority enrollment students
- AB 73 – Students may wear traditional tribal regalia or recognized objects of religious or cultural significance at graduation ceremonies, provided those objects are not likely to cause a substantial disruption or interfere with the ceremony
- SB 80 – New regulations related to head injuries sustained by students during school-sponsored sports
- AB 285 and 330 – Changes requirements related to student discipline; the Department of Education will be issuing guidance regarding these changes in the coming weeks.
- AB 245 – Mandates that school districts and charter schools enter into an MOU with a community-based organization to assist victims of power-based violence
- AB 256 – Changes requirements to background checks and fingerprinting for students at charter schools who participate in internships
- AB 43 – Changes the date when school emergency operation plans must be submitted
- AB 400 – Earmarks $140 million for early childhood literacy program grants; reinstitutes certain provisions of the Read By Three program; allocates $7 million per school year for the next biennium for charter school transportation (among other education provisions)
- AB 274 – Adds one-half unit of credit in economics to include financial literacy
- AB 241 – Requires high school students to enroll in courses to satisfy the College and Career Ready diploma
- AB 52 and AB 219 – Changes several items to Nevada’s Open Meeting Law
Explore the memo.
Board Approved the Updates to the COVID-19 Plan for the Safe Return to In-Person Instruction
Board members approved the updates to the Plan for the Safe Return to In-Person Instruction, as mandated by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Changes include requiring school campuses opening for the 2023-24 school year to establish protocols for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and responding to cases.
Review the updates to the plan.
Board Held Officer Elections
The Board voted Dr. Tonia Holmes-Sutton as Chair of the SPCSA board. Cindi Rivera was voted as Vice Chair. Two board seats will be re-appointed in the coming weeks, as well.
Long-Range Calendar (next 3 months):
Agenda items over the next three SPCSA board meetings are anticipated to include:
- New charter school applications
- Academic Performance Framework
- Review of state assessment and school performance data
- Review of student enrollment and demographics
- Transportation applications
- Project AWARE grant (this item was on the agenda for this meeting but was moved to a future meeting due to a staffing issue)
Explore the calendar.
The next Meeting of the SPCSA Board is scheduled for Friday, July 28, 2023, @ 9:00 a.m.