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Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Report: Hawaii charter school academic performance ‘mixed’
By News Release @ 6:37 PM :: 1666 Views :: Education K-12, Hawaii Statistics

State Public Charter School Commission 2015-2016 Annual Report

News Release from State Public Charter School Commission, December 6, 2016 (excerpts)

The State Public Charter School Commission is pleased to present its annual report for school year 2015-2016, pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes (“HRS”) §302D-7….

As specified by HRS §302D-7, this report addresses:

1. The Commission’s strategic vision for chartering and progress toward achieving that vision;

2. The academic performance of all operating public charter schools overseen by the Commission, according to the performance expectations for public charter schools set forth in HRS Chapter 302D, including a comparison of the performance of public charter school students with public school students statewide;

3. The financial performance of all operating public charter schools overseen by the Commission, according to the expectations set forth in HRS Chapter 302D;

4. The status of the Commission’s public charter school portfolio, identifying all public charter schools and applicants in each of the following categories: approved (but not yet open), approved (but withdrawn), not approved, operating, renewed, transferred, revoked, not renewed, or voluntarily closed;

5. The authorizing functions provided by the Commission to the public charter schools under its purview, including the Commission’s operating costs and expenses detailed in annual audited financial statements that conform with generally accepted accounting principles;

6. The services purchased from the Commission by the public charter schools under its purview;

7. A line-item breakdown of the federal funds received by the Department of Education and distributed by the Commission to public charter schools under its purview; and

8. Concerns regarding equity and recommendations to improve access to and redistribution of federal funds to public charter schools.

The Hawaii State Public Charter School Commission’s annual report presents an assessment of individual schools’ performance based on data calculated through performance frameworks as stated in the Hawaii state statute HRS Chapter 302D. The frameworks are utilized by the commission to provide oversight, evaluation, and information in contracting and renewal of charter schools. This report provides an overview of the Commission’s performance measures and contains data collected by both the Commission and the Department of Education. It is not a holistic review or report of schools’ mission, vision, accomplishments, outcomes, and contributions to public education….

  *   *   *   *   *

Executive Summary (excerpt)

…Overall, individual charter school academic performance continues to be mixed. Charter-wide averages in achievement and growth in English Language Arts, math and science continue to be slightly below the statewide average. However, in college readiness measures charter schools outperform the state. 48% of eleventh graders attending charter schools are on track to be successful in college according to ACT scores and 64% of charter school graduates enroll in college, compared to the statewide rate of 62%. Charter schools also held the top two graduation rates statewide and the two highest percentages of students scoring 19 or above on the ACT.

Schools were generally in fair financial position as of June 30, 2016, but with continued deterioration in their positions for some measures from last fiscal year. Last year, when the individual measures were analyzed on a consolidated basis, the data indicated that challenges lay ahead because there were issues with schools reaching standards for long term sustainability indicators. Data that the schools have provided for the 2015-2016 fiscal year suggest that this continues to be a risk. While there was overall 11 improvement in some near-term measures, schools still show signs of struggling to meet targets for these longer-term measures.

Performance on the most telling financial indicator, Year-End Unrestricted Days’ Cash on Hand, shows a relative steadiness over the past three years, which speaks well of the schools’ financial management in providing services with limited resources. As a result of operating appropriations to the DOE, on which per-pupil funding to charter schools is based under a statutory formula, and as a result of a statutory clarification enacted at the Commission’s behest that the Commission’s budget is to be appropriated separately from, and in addition to, funding for the charter schools, per-pupil funding, the most important source of charter school funds, has increased from about $6,315 in 2014-2015 to 6,840 in 2015-2016, the year addressed by this report. Per-pupil funding is expected to be approximately $7,089 for fiscal year 2016-2017. However, the data suggest that in the longer term, charter school funding will need to increase further and/or greater cost savings will need to be realized in order to meet the cost obligations of schools, especially when it comes to facilities.

For the Organizational Performance Framework, the Commission conducted its first comprehensive assessment of all charter schools in the 2015-2016 school year. This assessment incorporated an annual overall rating for the framework, which represented the Commission’s continued effort to develop a manageable accountability system that reduces the administrative burden on the school while at the same time ensures that compliance requirements continue to be met. As a part of this assessment, the Organizational Performance section, with assistance from other Commission staff, conducted school site visits of all 34 charter schools from December 2015 through May 2016. This first assessment found that 32 of the 34 charter schools met the standard for the Organizational Performance Framework, a clear indication that charter schools have been earnest in the effort to fulfill their compliance requirements.

Continued progress by Hawaii’s charter school sector on academic, financial, and organizational performance will help ensure that our public charter schools are able to fulfill the Commission’s strategic vision of providing excellent and diverse educational options for Hawaii’s families, preparing our students for future academic or career success, and, ultimately, contributing meaningfully to the continued improvement of Hawaii’s public education system as a whole.

read … Entire Report (325 pages)

WHT: Report: Charter schools making progress

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