Sie sind auf Seite 1von 31

RESOLUTION A RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS OF THE NORTHWESTERN LEHIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT DENYING THE CHARTER SCHOOL

APPLICATION OF CIRCLE OF SEASONS CHARTER SCHOOL WHEREAS, on May 18, 2012, the Circle of Seasons Charter School, (Applicant or COS) submitted a Charter School Application (Application) to the Northwestern Lehigh School District (District or School District) in accordance with Act 22 of 1997, (24 P.S. 171701-A et. seq.) known as the Charter School Law (CSL) seeking a charter to operate the COS Charter School commencing the 2013-2014 school year; and WHEREAS, pursuant to Section 17-1717-A of the Charter School Law, the Board of School Directors (School Board or Board) is required to hold at least one public hearing within forty-five (45) days of receipt of the Application; and WHEREAS, pursuant to Section 17-1717-A of the CSL, the hearing must be conducted by the Board under Act 93 of 1998, also known as the Sunshine Act, as amended 65 Pa. C. S. 701 et. seq.; and WHEREAS, pursuant to the Sunshine Act, public notice of the date, time and place of the hearing was posted at the building where the hearing was held, the Districts Administration Building and published on May 26, 2012 in the Morning Call newspaper, a newspaper of general circulation distributed in an area that includes the District; and WHEREAS, the legal notice posted and published provided that the hearing would take place on June 28, 2012 commencing at 7:00 p.m. at the auditorium in the Northwestern Lehigh Middle School, 6636 Northwest Road, New Tripoli, Pennsylvania (SD-1)1; and WHEREAS, the duly advertised public hearing was held on June 28, 2012; and WHEREAS, under the Charter School Law, Section 1717-A (d) & (e), the Board is required to evaluate the Application and grant or deny the Application within a time period that is not less than forty-five (45) days from the date of the first public hearing and not later than seventy-five (75) days from the date of the first public hearing; and

1

The School District exhibits are referenced as SD-# and the Applicants exhibits are referenced as A-# throughout this document.

WHEREAS, under the Charter School Law, Section 1717-A (e) (2) the Board is required to evaluate the Application based on criteria including, but not limited to, the following: (i) The demonstrated, sustainable support for the charter school plan by teachers, parents, other community members and students, including comments received at the public hearing held under subsection (d). (ii) The capability of the charter school applicant, in terms of support and planning, to provide comprehensive learning experiences to students pursuant to the adopted charter. (iii) The extent to which the application considers the information requested in section 1719-A and conforms to the legislative intent outlined in section 1702-A. (iv) The extent to which the charter school may serve as a model for other public schools. WHEREAS, the Board has reviewed the Application, the hearing transcript and other information submitted by COS prior to July 20, 2012 based on the criteria set forth in the Charter School Law and all pertinent provisions of the Charter School Law and other statutes, regulations and case law; and WHEREAS, the Board finds and concludes that the Applicant has failed to satisfy the requirements of the Charter School Law. NOW, THEREFORE, the Board of School Directors of the Northwestern Lehigh School District denies the Application to operate Circle of Seasons Charter School and sets forth below the reasons for denial and a description of the deficiencies in the Application. I. THE APPLICANT HAS FAILED TO MEET THE CRITERIA FOR DEMONSTRATED, SUSTAINABLE SUPPORT FOR THE CHARTER SCHOOL PLAN BY TEACHERS, PARENTS, OTHER COMMUNITY MEMBERS AND STUDENTS AS REQUIRED BY SECTION 17-1717A(e)(2)(i) OF THE CHARTER SCHOOL LAW. The charter school will be located within the Northwestern Lehigh School District. (A-1, p. 85) However, as per the Applicant, While Circle of Seasons will be located in the Northwestern Lehigh School District boundaries, we believe that Circle of Seasons will serve a regional community of families encompassing Lehigh County, Northampton County, Berks County, Bucks County, Montgomery County, Carbon County, Monroe County, Schuylkill County and beyond. (A-1, p.85) The Application further states that the District is located in
2

the semi-metropolitan region known as the Lehigh Valley, which is made up of Lehigh and Northampton Counties, and home to the three cities of Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton. With nearly a million residents (821,623 according to 2010 census data), it is the third largest metro region in Pennsylvania. (A-1, p. 93) An issue in this matter is the statutory meaning of the term community as used in the Charter School Law. Whenever the interpretation of a statute is in question, the Statutory Construction Rules must be employed. The applicable Rule that guides how the above statutory words are interpreted is found in the Statutory Construction Act, Section 1903, 1 Pa.C. S. 1903. This Section provides as follows: 1903. Words and phrases. (a) General rule. --Words and phrases shall be construed according to rules of grammar and according to their common and approved usage; . . . (b) General restricted by particular words. --General words shall be construed to take their meanings and be restricted by preceding particular words. Based on the wording of the statute, it is reasonable to conclude that the support must be from within the community and not outside the community. This conclusion is derived from rules of grammar as applied to the wording of the CSL. The statutory language requires support by teachers, parents, other community members and students. The use of the word other as a modifier of the word community members grammatically compels the conclusion that the support from the teachers and parents must be from within the community. Furthermore the words other and community grammatically modify the word students, which also compels the conclusion that the support from the students must be from within the community. Assuming that all agree that the support must be from within the community, the question is what are the boundaries of the community? There is no statutory definition of the word community. Section 1903 of The Statutory Construction Act requires that words be construed according to their common and approved usage. To determine the common and approved usage resort to a dictionary is permissible. The word community carries many different definitions. Perhaps the definition that is most appropriate to the COS Charter Schools use of the word community is as follows: A unified body of individuals as c: an interacting population of

various kinds of individuals (as species) in a common location. Merriam-Webster On-Line Dictionary 2012. Unfortunately, the definition still leaves open the question of what is the common location for the community. It is the School Boards position that the community is composed of those diverse populations of people that live within the borders of the Northwestern Lehigh School District. In support of this conclusion, the Application dedicates two pages describing the communities of Heidelberg Township, Lowhill Township, Lynn Township and Weisenberg Township, all of which are located within the School District. (A-1, p. 94-95) Although it is legally permissible for residents from other school districts and other municipalities to enroll in the COS Charter School, this broader enrollment should not dictate from where the community support must come. When community is defined as individuals, businesses, community groups, etc. located within the Northwestern Lehigh School District, the Application does not demonstrate sustainable support from within the community for the following reasons: (1) Page 85 of the Application states that the Applicant has received positive However, other feedback on our vision and mission from community members in the form of letters (emails), contributions, and offers of human resources and volunteering. (A-1, p.85) than this bald and vague statement in the Application, absolutely no documentation or evidence of this support such as emails, letters of support, or petitions signed by individuals supporting the COS, was provided by the Applicant. (2) The Application makes reference to Pre-enrollment forms submitted by parents interested in having their children attend the COS. (A-1, p. 98, 133). Appendix H sets forth specific pre-enrollment data. Of the 263 families who pre-enrolled children, only 5 families with a total of 7 children, are from the Northwestern Lehigh School District. For grades K-8, approximately 1550 students attend the District. Thus, less than 1%, or more specifically, .45% of District students have pre-enrolled in COS; (3) Even assuming, arguendo, that the term community includes the Lehigh Valley area and not only the District boundaries, the support of 263 families from a metro area with almost one million residents is not overwhelming support; (4) Page 92 of the Application states the age of admission is 5 years old. (A-1, p.92) Of the 361 children who are pre-enrolled, 115, or approximately 28%, will be unable to attend
4

COS in the 2013/2014 school year. Almost 15% of the pre-enrolled children are not eligible to attend COS for at least 2 years; (5) Page 99 of the Application states that professors and faculty members from 10 colleges in the greater Lehigh Valley area have expressed support for and specific interest in partnering with COS. (A-1) There is no description of the nature of the support shown or any partnership agreements that may have been tentatively reached either orally or in writing. There are surely no commitments based on the wording of the Application. No documentary evidence of this support or proposed partnership such as emails or letters was provided by the Applicant. No educational institution representative, speaking on behalf of the educational institution, testified in support of the COS at the public hearing. Additionally, none of the colleges listed are within the Districts geographical boundaries. (6) Page 100 of the Application makes reference to informational sessions being held at the Lehigh Carbon Community College. (A-1) However, there is no information about the persons who attended the sessions. No sign-in sheets documenting the location of the residences of the parents or the ages of their children were attached to the Application or presented to the School Board at the hearing or thereafter. (7) On pages 101-102 of the Application, a list of individuals, businesses, educational institutions, organizations and other groups from whom the COS Charter School has received support and with whom discussions of partnering has occurred is set forth. (A-1) However, none are identified as being community members. At the public hearing, Mr. Arnold testified that only 3 of these individuals and entities are located within the Northwestern Lehigh School District. (N.T. 104) In addition there is no description of the nature of the support coming from these entities and persons or the nature of the discussions involving potential partnerships. There is no description of any partnership agreements that may have been tentatively reached either orally or in writing. There are surely no commitments based on the wording of the Application. Furthermore, no documentary evidence in the form of letters or emails were provided to evidence this support and absolutely no evidence was provided at the public hearing of otherwise regarding a partnership between COS and these educational institutions. Mr. Arnold testified that he could get the individuals and entities to confirm their support in writing. (N.T. 103) However, no such documentary evidence was provided between the date of the public hearing

and July 20, 2012, the date for the submission of supplemental information from the Applicant to the Board. (8) Of the 22 Founding Members set forth on pages 105 and 106 of the Application, the residency of 15 of the founding members could be determined by reviewing the Preenrollment forms at Appendix H. (A-1) Of said 15 founding members, only 3 (2 of whom are married) reside within the NWLSD. (A-1) (9) (10) Only 1 teacher within the NWLSD is a Founding Member and Pre-enrolled his Pages 111 through 114 lists a number of schools, educational programs, children in COS. businesses, non-profits and other entities/groups which whom partnership arrangements have been made in principal by the Applicant. (A-1) However, none are identified as being community members. A careful review of the list reveals that the majority of these individuals and entities are not located within the Northwestern Lehigh School District or the Lehigh Valley. There are surely no commitments based on the wording of the Application and no descriptions regarding the discussions held or the nature of the partnership contemplated. No documentary evidence of this support or proposed partnership such as emails, letters of support, or letters of intent, was provided by the Applicant. No representative from the schools, educational programs, business, non-profits or other entities/groups listed on pages 111 through 114 testified on behalf of said entities in support for COS at the public hearing. (N.T. p. 111-143.) (11) The Application dedicates one full page dedicated to its marketing efforts. (A-1, p.97) The fact that the COS Charter School has reached out to market its school does not equate to community support for the school. (12) The Applicant was provided an opportunity after the public hearing to provide supplemental information and materials for the Boards consideration in determining whether to approve or deny the COS Application. Such supplemental information could include documentary evidence of support such as emails of support, letters of support from individuals and entities, letters of intent for the alleged partnerships in principal, a petition of support, etc. Applicant submitted only one letter of intent to partnership with COS from Therapy Bridges, LLC, for the provision of special education related services in the charter school. (A-4) (13) Of the approximately 46 individuals who attended the June 28, 2012 public hearing, only seventeen (17) offered public comment, including Mr. Arnold. (N.T. 8, 111-43).
6

Of the seventeen, approximately 4 were residents or graduates of the District. (N.T. 111-43). One resident of the District did not support the COS during public comment. (N.T. 125-27). Of the others offering public comment in support of COS, five were either Founding Members of the COS or candidates for the COS Board of Trustees. (A-1, Appendix D, N.T. 120, 132-37, 139). Almost every non-District resident who testified offered comments regarding the special education concerns of their own children, rather than comments supporting the Waldorf methods or pedagogy for mainstream students. (N.T. 113-15,118-24). (14) District. (15) Of the businesses, non-profits and other entities/groups set forth on pages 101-102 and 111 -114 of the Application, the overwhelming majority are eco/environmental/EPA oriented academia, the majority of which are located outside Pennsylvania. (A-1) There is little or no support listed from industrial, service or commercial businesses found in the Lehigh Valley. In all of the appellate court decisions that have addressed community support, there has been more presented on the record than what the COS Charter School has presented to the School Board. See Brackbill v. Ron Brown Charter School, 777 A.2d 131 (2001); Central Dauphin School District v. Founding Coalition of the Infinity Charter School, 847 A. 2d 195 (2004); and Montour School District v. Propel Charter School-Montour, 889 A. 2d 682 (2006). Perhaps a case that is most similar to the COS Charter School Application as it relates to community support is Mckeesport Area School District v. Propel Charter School, 888 A.2d 912 (2005). In this case the charter school had submitted names, addresses and grades of 168 preenrollment applicants. The Court held that such was sufficient to show the level of support in the aggregate as required by the Charter School Law. However, unlike the COS Charter School Applications, the pre-enrollments were accompanied by Petitions signed by 497 persons of which 237 were parents who requested enrollment information and 210 of the parents and 423 of all signers were residents of the McKeesport Area School District. In contrast, COS Charter School presented no signed petitions and only 7 students from the District are pre-enrolled. Of the 16 resumes of Board of Trustee candidates (A-1, Appendix D), none are residents of the Northwestern Lehigh School District. Only one candidate is a teacher of the

II.

THE APPLICANT HAS FAILED TO EVIDENCE, IN TERMS OF SUPPORT AND PLANNING, THAT IT WILL PROVIDE COMPREHENSIVE LEARNING EXPERIENCES TO STUDENTS AS REQUIRED BY SECTION 17-1717-A(e)(2)(ii) OF THE CHARTER SCHOOL LAW AND THAT IT WILL IMPROVE PUPIL LEARNING AND INCREASE THE LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL PUPILS IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE LEGISLATIVE INTENT SET FORTH IN SECTION 17-1792-A OF THE CHARTER SCHOOL LAW. A. The Curriculum and Instruction are Not Aligned with State Academic Standards. Section 1732-A sets forth the statute and regulations applicable to charter schools.

Subsection (b) states that charter school are subject to Section 5.4 (relating to general policies) of Title 22 of the Pennsylvania Code.2 (As explained in the footnote below, Section 5.4 will herein be referred to as Section 4.4). Section 4.12, 4.21, 4.22 and 4.23 and the appendixes that have been adopted by the State Board of Education pursuant to Section 4.12 sets forth the academic standards for content areas and the requirement that all schools design educational programs to attain the academic standards. The District finds and concludes that the COS Charter School fails to comply with Section 1732-A of the CSL, and more specifically, Chapter 4 of 22 Pa Code, Sections 4.11, 4.12, 4.21, 4.22 and 4.23 and the related appendixes adopted pursuant to Section 4.12, all of which address the State academic standards. Section 4.11 of 22 Pa Code describes the purpose of education and provides in pertinent part as follows: (a) This section and 4.12 and 4.13 (relating to academic standards; and strategic plans planning) describe the purpose of public education, the academic standards, their relationship with one another and strategic plans. (d) The academic standards describe the knowledge and skills which students will be expected to demonstrate before graduating from a public school. Section 4.12 of 22 Pa Code describes academic standards and states: (b) In designing educational programs, school entities shall provide for the attainment of the academic standards under subsections (a) and (c). Subsection (a) of Section 4.12 provides in part as follows: (a) School entities may develop, expand or improve existing academic standards in the

2

Section 1732-A (b) of the School Code makes reference to section 5.4 of 22 Pa Code (relating to general policies). This reference to 5.4 appears to be a typographical error since Chapter 5 of the state regulations is reserved and general policies is found under Section 4.4 of Chapter 4 of 22 Pa Code.

following content areas: (1) Science and technology. (2) Environment and ecology. (3) Social studies. (4) Arts and humanities. (5) Career education and work. (6) Health, safety and physical education. (7) Family and consumer science. (8) Through June 30, 2013: Reading, writing, speaking and listening. and (9) Mathematics. Subsection (c) of Section 4.12 provides in pertinent part as follows: (c) School entities shall prepare students to attain academic standards in mathematics, reading, writing, speaking and listening as contained in Appendix A and incorporated here by reference and additional standards as may be adopted by the Board and promulgated as amendments to this chapter. The additional standards adopted by the Board include all of the areas mentioned under Section 4.12 (a) above. Specifically, the State Board has adopted in addition to Appendix A, Appendixes B, C, D and E. Appendix B includes academic standards for Environment and Ecology and Science and Technology; Appendix C includes academic standards for Social Studies under the categories of History, Geography, Economics, and Civics & Government; Appendix D includes academic standards for Family and Consumer Sciences, Health, Safety and Physical Education, and Arts and Humanities; and Appendix E includes academic standards for Career Education and Work. Subsection (d) of Section 4.12 provides as follows: (d) A School entitys curriculum shall be designed to provide students with planned instruction needed to attain these academic standards. Finally the pertinent part of Subsection (e) provides as follows: (e) School entities shall apply academic standards for students in all areas described under subsection (a) and (c). Section 4.21 of 22 Pa Code addresses elementary education: primary and intermediate levels. Subsection (a) provides in pertinent part as follows: (a) the primary program shall ordinarily be completed by children who are approximately 8 years of age. Subsection (b) of Section 4.21 provides in pertinent part as follows: Curriculum and instruction in the primary program must be standards-based. Subsection (c) of Section 4.21 provides as follows: (c) The intermediate level program shall ordinarily be completed by children who are approximately 11 years of age. Subsection (d) of Section 4.21 provides in pertinent part as follows: Standards based curriculum and instruction in the intermediate level must enable all students to reach proficient level on the local assessment system and the Statewide assessment system. Academic standards will guide the focus on learning specific subject matter content. Subsection (e) of Section 4.21 provides in pertinent part as follows: (e) Planned instruction
9

aligned with academic standards in the following areas shall be provided to every student every year in the primary program. The areas listed for the primary grades are as follows: (1) Language arts, integrating reading, writing, phonics, spelling, listening, speaking, literature and grammar, and information management, including library skills. (2) Mathematics, including problem-solving and computation skills. (3) Science and technology education, involving active learning experiences for students. (4) Environment and ecology education, involving active learning experiences for students. (5) Social studies (civics and government, economics, geography and history). (6) Health, safety and physical education, including instruction in concepts and skills which affect personal, family and community health and safety, nutrition, the prevention of alcohol, chemical and tobacco abuse, knowledge and practice of lifetime physical activities, personal fitness, basic movement skills and concepts, motor skill development, principles and strategies of movement, and safety practices in physical activity settings. (7) The arts, including active learning experiences in art, music, dance and theatre. Subsection (f) of Section 4.21 provides in pertinent part as follows: (f) Planned instruction in the following areas shall be provided to every student every year in the intermediate level program. The areas listed for the intermediate grades are as follows: (1) Language arts, integrating reading, writing, spelling, listening, speaking, literature and grammar. (2) Mathematics, including problem-solving and computation skills. (3) Science and technology, including instruction about agriculture and agricultural science. (4) Environment and ecology, including instruction about agriculture and agricultural science. (5) Social studies (civics and government, economics, geography and history). (6) The arts, including art, music, dance and theatre. (7) Understanding and use of library and other information sources. (8) Health, safety and physical education, including instruction in concepts and skills which affect personal, family and community health and safety, nutrition, the prevention
10

of alcohol, chemical and tobacco abuse, knowledge and practice of lifetime physical activities, personal fitness, basic movement skills and concepts, motor skill development, principles and strategies of movement and safety practices in physical activity settings. Subsection (g) of Section 4.21 provides in pertinent part as follows: (g) Planned instruction aligned with academic standards in the following areas shall be provided to every student at least once by the end of elementary school. The areas listed are History of the U.S., History of the Commonwealth, Geography, and Civics. It is clear that a charter schools curriculum and instruction must be based on and aligned with State academic standards in the listed areas and comply with the listed standards set forth in each of the Appendixes adopted by the State Board of Education. The State academic standards approved in the form of regulations and the incorporated appendixes for all of the subject areas listed above address what students should know and be able to do by the end of multiple grade levels beginning for some in the 3rd grade and for others in the 4th grade. Each of the appendixes referenced above sets forth the details of the standards that are required by the State regulations. Appendix A, B, C, D, and E are incorporated by reference in Section 4.12 (c) of the regulation (as well as additional standards as may be adopted by the State Board and promulgated as amendments to Chapter 4). The COS Charter Schools curriculum and instruction must be based on and aligned with the above mentioned standards. On page 10 of the Application, Applicant states that the charter school will use PA state standards and Common Core State Standards (as currently drafted) for language arts and math and PA State Standards for science and social sciences. (A-1). Mr. Arnold testified that Appendix A-1 represents the COS Waldorf curriculum as aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)3 and Appendix A-2 represents the COS Waldorf curriculum as aligned to the Pennsylvania academic standards scope and sequence. (N.T. 28-29) Mr. Arnold further explained that COS will follow the standards in effect at the then current time. (N.T. 30) A careful review of the Application as a whole and Appendix A-1 and Appendix A-2 evidence that the COS Charter Schools curriculum is not aligned with the Common Core State Standards. Specifically, there are content areas missing from the Application at all grade levels and

3

The state Board of Education unanimously approved the Common Core State Standards for English language arts and math in 2010. Pennsylvania must comply with the CCSS in English language arts and math as of June 30, 2013.

11

significant non-alignment with the Common Core State Standards at all grade levels.4 Thus, the COS has failed to demonstrate that it will provide a comprehensive learning experience for students, will improve or create learning opportunities for pupils to improve learning, will serve as a model for other public schools and will hold itself accountable for meeting measurable academic standards. The following is a summary of the discrepancies between the CCSS for English language arts and math and the COS curriculum. While the Kindergarten Supplement to Appendix A-1 (A-6) is, overall, a good representation of the CCSS, the discrepancies between the CCSS and the COS standards as listed in Appendix A-1 for Grades 1 8 are quite extensive. Specific examples of discrepancies for each grade level are listed below:5 (1) CCSS Writing standard #6 is not included in A-6. This standard states that students will be able to with guidance and support from adults, explore a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers. (2) The following standards are some examples of CCSS English Language Arts Grade 1 standards that are not included in Appendix A-1 in Grade 1: CCSS Reading Foundational Skills standard #4: This standard states that students will read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension; read onlevel text with purpose and understanding; read on-level text orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings; use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary. CCSS Writing Standards #1 3: These standards require students to write opinion pieces, informative/explanatory texts, and narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events. In each, students will introduce the topic, state

4

It should be noted that reviewing the alignment of the Applicants content areas and core subject areas with the State standards was problematic because in most cases the nomenclature used by the Applicant does not match up with the nomenclature used in the state regulations. This disconnect between nomenclature used in the State standards and the nomenclature used in the standards described by the Applicant is seen in all grades. Despite these limitations and difficulties related to inconsistent use of terms, the School District was able to conduct a careful review of the COS Charter School standards in comparison to the State mandated standards and has determined that COS Charter Schools standards, curriculum and instruction do not align with the State academic standards. 5 Please note that the discrepancies between the COS proposed curriculum and the State standards and CCSS as set forth in this Resolution are merely a sampling. Other discrepancies exist which are not necessarily listed in this Resolution.

12

an opinion, provide reasons/facts/details, use temporal words to signal event order if necessary, and provide some sense of closure. Similar to Kindergarten, CCSS Writing Standard #6 is not included for Grade 1: This standard states that students will be able to with guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers. CCSS Language Standards #1, #2, and #4 are also not included: These standards require students to demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar, usage, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing or speaking. Detailed expectations for this grade level include, but are not limited to use of various types of nouns, pronouns, verbs to convey a sense of time, adjectives, conjunctions, determiners, prepositions, and the ability to produce and expand complete simple and compound declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory sentences in response to prompts. (3) The following Mathematics standard listed in Appendix A-1 under Grade 1 is found in the CCSS Mathematics standards in earlier grade levels: The COS Appendix A document states that for Grade 1 in Mathematics, the qualities, quantities, and writing of the numbers 1-12 will be explored. The CCSS Mathematics document requires that students write numbers from 0-20 at the Kindergarten grade level. (4) Standards included in the CCSS Mathematics Grade 1 but missing from Appendix A-1 Grade 1 include the following requirements for students: (5) Use place value understanding and properties of operations to add within 100 Tell and write time in hours and half-hours using analog and digital clocks, Organize, represent, and interpret data with up to three categories All of the CCSS standards for Geometry in Grade 1 The following Language Arts standards listed in Appendix A-1 under Grade 2 are

found in the Grade 1 CCSS English Language Arts standards. Page 13 of the COS Appendix A-1 includes the following three writing standards for Grade 2: Given examples written on the board, students will properly include initial
13

capitalization, capitalization of proper nouns, periods, commas, quotation marks and question marks. Given an imaginative story and examples, students will master writing and recognition of lower case letters. Given oral and written statements and questions, students will discriminate between statements and questions. The Common Core sets the expectations for mastery of these standards in Grade 1. Page 14 of the COS Appendix A-1 includes the reading standard that Given phonics, principles, games, practice and review, students will identify sounds for letter combinations and develop word-attack skills in sounding out words. The correlating standards in the CCSS are found in Grade 1, under Foundational Skills #2, and Language Standards #4. (6) The following standards are some examples of CCSS English Language Arts Grade 2 standards that are missing from Appendix A-1 in Grade 2: CCSS Reading Standard for Literature #6 (Acknowledge differences in the point of view of characters.) CCSS Reading Standard for Literature #10 (By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories and poetry, in the grades 2-3 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.) CCSS Reading Standards for Informational Text #5, 6 and 7. These standards require students to be able to know and use various text features to locate key facts or information efficiently, to identify the main purpose of a text, and to explain how specific images contribute to and clarify a text. CCSS Reading Standards for Informational Text #10 (By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 2-3 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.) Since textbooks will not be used until later grades, these standards cannot be met. As in Grade 1 listed above, CCSS Reading Foundational Skills standard #4 is missing (Reading on-level texts with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension). As in Kindergarten and Grade 1 listed above, CCSS Writing Standard #6 is not found in the COS document for Grade 2 (using digital tools to produce and publish writing).
14

(7) -

The following Mathematics standards listed in Appendix A-1 under Grade 2 are The COS Appendix A document states that for Grade 2 in Mathematics, given an array of different length objects, students will order them correctly according to lengths. The CCSS Mathematics document requires that students order objects by length in Grade 1.

found in the CCSS Mathematics standards in earlier grade levels:

The COS Appendix A document states that for Grade 2 in Mathematics, given rhythmic practice and games, students will count to 100 by ones, twos, fives, and tens. The CCSS Mathematics Grade 2 requires students to count within 1000; skipcount by 5s, 10s, and 100s.

(8) -

Standards included in the CCSS Mathematics Grade 2 but missing from the COS Using addition and subtraction within 100 to solve one- and two-step word problems involving situations with unknowns in all positions, and by using symbols for unknown numbers.

Appendix A-1 Grade 2 include the following requirements for students:

(9)

Solve word problems involving money (dollars and cents). Use data to create line plots, and bar graphs. All of the CCSS standards for Geometry in Grade 2 The following Language Arts standard listed in COS Appendix A-1 under Grade

3 is found in the Grade 1 CCSS English Language Arts standards: children will learn basic punctuation including initial capitalization, periods, and question marks. Through practice writing and dictations the children will learn the difference between a simple statement and a simple question. (10) The following standards are some examples of CCSS English Language Arts Grade 3 standards that are missing from COS Appendix A-1 in Grade 3: CCSS Reading Standard for Literature #4 (Distinguishing literal from non-literal language) CCSS Reading Standard for Literature #6 (Distinguish their own point of view from that of the narrator or those of the characters.)

15

As in Grade 2 listed above, CCSS Reading Standard for Literature #10 (By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, at the high end of the grades 2-3 text complexity band independently and proficiently.)

As in Grade 2 above, CCSS Reading Standards for Informational Text #4 7, and #10. Since textbooks will not be used until later grades, these standards cannot be met.

As in Grades 1 and 2 listed above, CCSS Reading Foundational Skills standard #4 is missing (Reading on-level texts with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension).

As in all prior grades, CCSS Writing Standard #6 is not found in the COS document for Grade 3 (using technology to produce and publish writing, as well as to interact and collaborate with others).

(11) -

The following Mathematics standard listed in COS Appendix A-1 under Grade 3

is found in the CCSS Mathematics standards in earlier grade levels: The COS Appendix A document states that for Grade 3 in Mathematics, students will learn to count by 5s and 10s in learning to read a clock. The CCSS Mathematics document requires that students tell and write time to the nearest 5 minutes in Grade 2. (12) Standards included in the CCSS Mathematics Grade 3 but missing from the COS Appendix A-1 Grade 3 include the following requirements for students: Solve two-step word problems using all four operations, using a letter for the unknown quantity Solve word problems involving time to the nearest minute intervals All of the CCSS standards for Geometry and Geometric Measurement (area and perimeter) in Grade 3 Creating scaled graphs All of the CCSS standards for Number and Operations - Fractions The following Language Arts standards listed in COS Appendix A-1 under Grade

(13)

4 are found in the CCSS English Language Arts standards in earlier grade levels.

16

Page 39 in COS Appendix A-1 states that alphabetizing of words will be requiredas a precursor to use of the dictionary. The CCSS sets the expectations for use of a dictionary in Grades 2 & 3.

Under Grammar Skills, Appendix A-1 indicates that students will be required to classify and write simple declarative, interrogative, exclamatory and imperative sentences. As stated previously, the CCSS sets this expectation at Grade 1.

Appendix A-1 also includes that students will understand parts of speech. Most of those listed on page 39 are found in Grades 1, 2 or 3 in the CCSS English Language Arts standards.

(14) -

The following standards are some examples of CCSS English Language Arts

Grade 4 standards that are missing from COS Appendix A-1 in Grade 4: CCSS Reading Standards for Literature #5 (explaining differences between poems, drama, and prose) CCSS Reading Standard for Literature #6 (Comparing and contrasting the point of view from which different stories are narrated) As in Grades 2 & 3 above, most of the CCSS Reading Standards for Informational Text, since textbooks will not be used until later grades. As in all prior grades, CCSS Writing Standard #6 (use technology, including the internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient keyboarding skills) CCSS Writing Standards #7 & #9, requiring students to conduct short research projects and draw evidence from other texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. CCSS Language Standard #5 (demonstrate understanding of figurative language) The following Mathematics standards listed in COS Appendix A-1 under Grade 4 (15) -

are found in the CCSS Mathematics standards in earlier grade levels: Page 40 in Appendix A-1 includes that students are introduced to various concepts concerning fractions. This is found in Grade 3 of the CCSS Mathematic standards. Page 40 states that the concepts of area and perimeter will be introduced in Grade 4. The CCSS sets this expectation of understanding in Grade 3.

17

Standards involving Word Problems are included in Grade 4 in the COS Appendix. However, the requirement of CCSS is that word problems are taught starting in Grade 1.

(16) -

Standards included in the CCSS Mathematics Grade 4 but missing from the COS

Appendix A-1 in Grade 4 include the following requirements for students: Extending understanding of fractions (multiplication, decimal notation) Geometric Measurement (angles) All of the CCSS standards for Geometry in Grade 4 The following Language Arts standards listed in COS Appendix A-1 under Grade

(17) -

5 are found in the CCSS English Language Arts standards in earlier grade levels. Page 52 includes that Given a dictionary, students will be able to find words as needed for writing. The CCSS sets the expectations for use of a dictionary in Grades 2 & 3. Appendix A-1 includes that students will understand and use correct grammar and syntax, with examples found on pages 53-54. Most of the elements listed can be found in Grades 1 through 4 in the CCSS English Language Arts standards. (18) The following standards are some examples of CCSS English Language Arts Grade 5 standards that are missing from COS Appendix A-1 in Grade 5: CCSS Reading Standards for Literature #6 & #7 (analyze how points of view and visual and multimedia elements influence and contribute to the meaning, tone, and beauty of a text) As in Grades 2 through 4 above, most of the CCSS Reading Standards for Informational Text, since textbooks will not be used until later grades. As in Grade 4 above, CCSS Writing Standards #7 through #9, requiring students to conduct short research projects and draw evidence from other resources to support analysis, reflection, and research. (19) The following are a few examples of Mathematics standards listed in COS Appendix A-1 under Grade 5 (pages 54-56) which are found in the CCSS Mathematics standards in earlier grade levels: Addition of multi-digit whole number columns with carrying (Grade 4 in CCSS) Operations using simple fractions with common denominators (Grade 4 in CCSS)
18

Finding common denominators (Grade 4 in CCSS) Ordering decimals and fractions by value (Grade 4 in CCSS) Standards included in the CCSS Mathematics Grade 5 but missing from the COS

(20) (21) -

Appendix A-1 in Grade 5 include the following requirements for students: Measurement Conversions Interpreting and Analyzing Data (using graphs) Geometric Measurement (volume) All of the CCSS standards for Geometry in Grade 5 The following Language Arts standards listed in COS Appendix A-1 under Grade Appendix A-1 includes that students will understand and use correct grammar and syntax, with examples found on pages 68-69. These competencies are an expectation in Grades 4 and 5 the CCSS English Language Arts standards. Page 69 lists that students will research then develop simple outlines emphasizing main ideas and supporting details to write a report. The CCSS sets the expectations for conducting short research projects in Grades 4 & 5. (22) (23) (24) The following standards are some examples of CCSS English Language Arts CCSS Reading Standards for Literature #7 (Compare and contrast the experience of reading text to listening to or viewing an audio or video version of the text) As in all prior grades, CCSS Writing Standard #6 (use of technology in writing and collaboration) CCSS Speaking and Listening Standard #5 (including multimedia components in presentations The following Mathematics standard listed in COS Appendix A-1 under Grade 6 The majority of the items listed under Geometry in the COS Appendix A-1 for Grade 6 are found in Grades 1 5 in the CCSS Mathematics Standards. Standards included in the CCSS Mathematics Grade 6 but missing from the COS Rational Numbers
19

6 are found in the CCSS English Language Arts standards in earlier grade levels:

Grade 6 standards that are missing from COS Appendix A-1 in Grade 6:

is found in the CCSS Mathematics standards in earlier grade levels:

Appendix A-1 in Grade 6 include the following requirements for students:

(25) (26) (27) (28) (29) -

Algebraic Equations Working with Variables Statistical Variability and Distributions The following standards are some examples of CCSS English Language Arts As in all prior grades, CCSS Writing Standard #6 (use of technology in writing and collaboration) CCSS Writing Standards #7 9 (conducting research to build and present knowledge) CCSS Speaking and Listening Standard #5 (including multimedia components in presentations The following Mathematics standard listed in COS Appendix A-1 under Grade 7 Students will evolve an introductory understanding of algebraic forms given practice in solving simple equations (Grade 6 in CCSS) The majority of the items listed under Geometry in the COS Appendix A-1 for Grade 7 are found in Grades 1 6 in the CCSS Mathematics Standards. Standards included in the CCSS Mathematics Grade 7 but missing from the COS Solving real-world problems using Proportional Relationships Solving real-life problems involving two-and three-dimensional shapes All of the CCSS Standards for Statistics and Probability in Grade 7 The following standards are some examples of CCSS English Language Arts CCSS Writing Standard #1 (writing arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence) As in all prior grades, CCSS Writing Standard #6 (use of technology in writing and collaboration) Standards included in the CCSS Mathematics Grade 8 but missing from the COS Irrational Numbers Radicals and Integer Exponents
20

Grade 7 standards that are missing from COS Appendix A-1 in Grade 7:

is found in the CCSS Mathematics standards in earlier grade levels:

Appendix A-1 in Grade 7 include the following requirements for students:

Grade 8 standards that are missing from COS Appendix A-1 in Grade 8:

Appendix A-1 in Grade 8 include the following requirements for students:

(30)

Solving Linear Equations Functions Pythagorean Theorem All of the CCSS Standards for Statistics and Probability in Grade 8 On pages 21 26 of the Application, there appears to be no mention of

technology until Grade 6. (A-1) The PA State standards address technology starting in the primary grades under the Standards for Science, Technology, and Engineering Education. The PA Standards require the teaching of technology concepts beginning in grade 3. In particular, concepts included under Standard 3.4C (Technology and Engineering Design) and Standard 3.4E (The Designed World) are not found within the Application, nor are they found in Appendix A-1 or A-2. Additionally, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English Language Arts includes specific standards on using technology starting in Kindergarten as part of student writing. Writing Standard #6 in the CCSS states that students should understand and be able to use technology, including the internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others by the end of grade 5. The use of technology for writing in grades K 5 is completely absent from the Application and Appendices. (A-1) B. COSs pedagogy is not different and/or innovative from the teaching techniques generally utilized by public schools and specifically utilized by the Northwestern Lehigh School District. On Pages 4 and 5 of the Application, the Applicant states that . . . COS will be a progressive Waldorf-Methods school . . . using theories of Multiple Intelligences by Howard Gardner and the educational paradigm of eco-literacy . . . (A-1). Whole Child Education is not a new innovative learning strategy exclusively found in Waldorf Methods or Multiple Intelligence theories. The District, as well as many public schools in the Commonwealth, provide a multi-sensory approach and context for teaching intellectual concepts. Differentiated instruction is a best teaching practice and has been utilized by the District for years. For example, the Districts K-4 Developmental Guidance Program Description and Goals state As an integral part of the school curricula, as educators strive to teach the whole child. It helps teachers and others to recognize those unique and individual characteristics of children in planning learning experiences that will allow for and be appropriate to the differences in development, learning and behavior found in every classroom. The Districts Elementary Parent Handbook states with regards to language arts: This concept of an integrated approach
21

to the instruction of the Language Arts is the basis upon which the Northwestern Lehigh School District strives to develop and deliver instruction in the basic language curriculum. With regards to Social Studies, the Handbook states: Beyond teaching history and geography, this program helps to develop thinking and learning skills and encourages children to see the total environment and how it has affected human behavior. In short, the redundant references throughout the COS Application to the whole child, multi-sensory, diverse, holistic to describe the curriculum and mission of the charter school is neither exclusive to Waldorf schools nor innovative. C. Special Education evidences a lack of compliance with the IDEA, Federal and State regulations and standards. The COS Charter School Application is deficient in the area of special education for the following reasons: (1) follows: (a) To enable the Commonwealth to meet its obligations under 34 CFR 300.111 (relating to child find), each charter school and cyber charter school shall establish written policies and procedures to ensure that all children with disabilities who are enrolled in the charter school or cyber charter school, and who are in need of special education and related services, are identified, located and evaluated. (b) Each charter school's or cyber charter school's written policy must include: (1) Public awareness activities sufficient to inform parents of children applying to or enrolled in the charter school or cyber charter school of available special education services and programs and how to request those services and programs. Written information shall be published in the charter school or cyber charter school handbook and web site. (2) Systematic screening activities that lead to the identification, location and evaluation of children with disabilities enrolled in the charter school or cyber charter school. On pages 36 and 37 of the Application there is a section that addresses Student Identification for special education. (A-1) The Application sets forth a protocol for identifying special education students based on seven triggering mechanisms. All of the triggers are internal methods which in some way directly relate to the students personality or performance levels.
22

Under the State regulations governing special education in charter schools,

Section 711.21 of 22 Pa Code addresses child find. Specifically, Section 711.21 states as

Although the triggering events included in the Application are helpful in identifying a particular student who manifests a need for special education, the Application is deficient to the extent that it fails to identify a written policy that is aimed at identifying students in need of special education from the general population. Such a universal method for identification is required under the regulations specifically applicable to charter schools. Section 711.21(a) & (b) of 22 Pa Code requires that such universal screening methods be adopted in the form of policy. (2) school. 22 Pa Code Section 711.23 (a) also identifies universal screening techniques that must be implemented to identify students from the general population of students enrolled in the Section 71.23 (a) & (b) provide in relevant part as follows: 711.23. Screening (a)Each charter school and cyber charter school shall establish a system of screening which may include prereferral intervention services to accomplish the following: (1) Identification and provision of initial screening for students prior to referral for a special education evaluation, including those services outlined in subsection (c). ... (3) Identification of students who may need special education services and programs. ... (b) The screening process must include: (2) Screening at reasonable intervals to determine whether all students are performing based on grade-appropriate standards in core academic subjects. (c) Each charter school and cyber charter school may develop a program of prereferral intervention services. In the case of charter schools and cyber charter schools meeting the criteria in 34 CFR 300.646(b) (2) (relating to disproportionality), as established by the Department, the services are required and include: (2) For students with academic concerns, an assessment of the student's performance in relation to State-approved grade level standards. Such universal screening required by the above regulations is not set forth in the Application. Pages 78 through 79 of the Application describe the assessments which will be given to the students. (A-1) The PSSAs, which do indicate whether all students are performing based on grade appropriate standards in core academic classes are only given in 3rd to 8th grade for reading and math, 5th and 8th grade for writing and 4th and 8th grade for science. The
23

Quantitative Reading Inventory is given grades 1 through 8. The math assessment, which is based on the Waldorf-Methods criteria, is not tied to the state standards as described more fully above. Universal screening is necessary to assist in identifying students in need of a multidisciplinary evaluation. With the exception of reading and math, no universal screenings are set forth in the application for other core academic subjects until the PSSAs are given in writing and science in grades 5 and 8 and 4 and 8, respectively. The lack of awareness by the Applicant concerning identification is noted also in the Applicants description of the First and Second Grade Readiness Assessments referenced on pages 76 and 77 of the Application. (A-1) If the assessment demonstrates that the student is not ready to move to the next grade from First or Second grade, there is no mention of the possibility that the student may be a candidate for special education. More importantly, the First and Second Grade Readiness Assessments are not standardized, normed or tied to any measurable objectives to determine whether a child is performing in comparison to same-age peers, on grade-appropriate standards or whether the child should be referred for an evaluation to determine whether the child has a qualifying disability and is in need of specially designed instruction as per the IDEA. The major pillar of special education is early intervention and intervention as quickly as possible. Thus identification in the early years becomes crucial. Moreover, the Applicants testimony of special education screening and Child Find evidences a lack of understanding regarding the identification of students with disabilities. Page 36 of the Application states The determination that a student is eligible for Special Education and/or support services begins with the initial screening process upon admission. (A-1) At the public hearing, Mr. Arnold testified that COS would not be screening students for special education at admission as this is illegal. (N.T. 41-42) However, Mr. Arnold explained that upon enrollment, students would be screened to assess where they are functioning socially, emotionally, physically, cognitively, kind of getting a whole picture of who they are. (N.T. 42) COSs legal counsel further stated that as the COS has a Child find responsibility under the Charter School Law, COS would need at some point at least in the first few months to conduct come child finding activity. (N.T. 43). This lack of clarity regarding when screenings will occur and for what purpose raises concerns in the Boards collective mind as to whether the Applicant understands its legal and educational obligations, and the steps necessary to fulfill them, for students with disabilities.
24

In addition, the Application is deficient to the extent that there is no reference to the use of assessment instruments required by Section 711.23 (c) (2) to assure that students are performing in relation to State-approved grade level standards. Although the COS Charter School uses assessments to measure the students progress based on state standards, there is no mechanism within the standardized assessment process to conduct a more comprehensive evaluation to determine whether the student is in need of special education. This becomes a more critical issue because of the fact that the COS Charter School will not be totally aligned with State standards. If a child is assessed as being below basic or basic because of the slower pace of the COS Charter School curriculum, under special education regulations that child needs to be evaluated for identification. This evaluation may not occur under the curriculum as presented by the Applicant. (3) 22 Pa Code Section 711.23 (c) (7) provides as follows: (c) Each charter school and cyber charter school may develop a program of prereferral intervention services. In the case of charter schools and cyber charter schools meeting the criteria in 34 CFR 300.646(b) (2) (relating to disproportionality), as established by the Department, the services are required and include: (7) A determination as to whether the student's needs exceed the functional ability of the regular education program to maintain the student at an appropriate instructional level. The description of the special educational program does not address the education of students with significant functional needs. Page 35 of the Application states that Special education services will be provided in an inclusive setting as much as possible and appropriate. Keeping LRE in mind, students will not be pulled out for the Resource pull-out program unless decided by the IEP team to do so. (A-1) After noting that the Resource pull-out program will be helpful for students who may have severe behavioral issues, it is stated that Pull out may be brief or long enough to teach learning strategies so that student is successful in the regular classroom, if that is best for the students. What the Application fails to provide is any reference to a special education program for students having significant functional needs who must be instructed in a supplemental or full time special education classroom. Also, the Application does not set forth any criteria or policy that establish when a students needs exceed the functional ability of the regular education program to maintain the student at an appropriate instructional level as required by Section 711-23 (c) (7).
25

(4)

22 Pa. Code 711.3 sets forth the IDEAs federal regulations with which a

charter school must comply. Specifically incorporated in Section 711 is Sections 300.115 to 300.117 of the Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations regarding the continuum of alternative placements for special education students. Section 300.315 requires each LEA must ensure that a continuum of alternative placements is available to meet the needs of children with disabilities for special education and related services which much include alternative placements listed in the definition of special education under Section 300.38 (instruction in regular classes, special classes, special schools, home instruction and instruction in hospitals and institutions) and must make provision for supplementary services (such as resource room or itinerant instruction). 34 C.F.R. 300.315. In pages 35 through 43 of the Application which describes how COS will meet the educational needs of students with disabilities, the only special education placements addressed are the regular education classroom with supports and a pull out Resource Room. (5) Special education and related services must be based on a students individualized needs. 34 C.F.R. 300.320, 300.321. Page 40 of the Application describes the various teaching models which will be used for students having certain eligibility categories. However, the eligibility category is not solely determinative of the type of instruction which is appropriate to address the particular students individualized needs. In short, the Application sets forth a cookie cutter approach to special education, which is not individualized. (6) Pages 41 to 42 of the Application states that Parental requests for an evaluation and screening should be made in writing to the school administration and/or Special Education teacher. However, according to 22 Pa Code 711.24, if the parent orally requests an evaluation to any professional employee or administrator, then a copy of the permission to evaluate form must be provided by said individual to the parents within 10 days. This process restricts parental due process rights. (7) 22 Pa Code 711.44 sets for the requirements for charter schools with regards to determining whether a student requires Extended School Year Services. Page 160 of the Application states it has not been determined yet whether we will have extended morning hours and/or after school hours or extended year programming, any such additional hours or programming will not be considered part of the official school day/school year and thereby will not require any special transportation. A committee will be formed to review the possible needs
26

and options of such programs. This is not in compliance with COSs requirement to provide ESY to eligible students based on the criteria set forth in 22 Pa Code 711.44. Other than the statement on page 160 of the Application, there is no further mention of ESY in the entire Application. III. THE APPLICANT HAS FAILED TO INCLUDE INFORMATION REQUIRED BY SECTION 17-1719-A OF THE CHARTER SCHOOL LAW. A. The Application fails to include information required by Section 17-1719A(9) and Section 17-1717-A(e)(2)(ii). Section 17-1719-A(9) of the Charter School Law states An application to establish a charter school shall include all of the following information: (9) The financial plan for the charter school and the provisions which will be made for auditing the school under section 437. Applicants original budget was set forth in Appendix C of the Application. (A-1) The Applicant revised its budget and submitted it to the Board as Applicant-2. Applicant-2 is inadequate for the following reasons: (1) There is no amount budgeted for contingencies to off-set unrealized revenue projections or to prepare for unexpected expenses, such as special education, emergency repairs, emergency maintenance, or unfunded mandates from new legislation. In the original budget (A1, Appendix E) $23,976, or 2%, of the budget was reserved for contingencies. However, no contingency funds are included in the revised budget (A-2). (2) In the revised budget, the enrollment projections were changed to anticipate more students from schools with higher tuition rates and fewer students from schools with lower tuition rates. (Compare A-1, Appendix E and A-2) These substitutions were not supported by revised enrollment data. In total, according to the following chart, the revised enrollment projections resulted in an unsubstantiated increase in COSs budget: School District Allentown Bethlehem Catasauqua # Students Application 20 10 4 # Students Revised Budget 18 8 5
27

Total # Changed (2) (2) 1

Regular Tuition Rate $8,610.23 $8,538.82 $10,951.47

Budget Projection Change (-$17,220.46) (-$17,077.64) $10,951.47

Quakertown Saucon Valley (3)

4 3

6 4

2 1

$10,856.14 $11,560.92

$21,712.28 $11,560.92

According to Section 17-1724-A of the Charter School Law, [e]very employee

of a charter school shall be provided the same health care benefits as the employee would be provided if he or she were an employee of the local district. Under the current budget, this requirement could not be sustained. Even after the submission of revised materials, the Applicants health care rates are one year behind the rates of the insurance offered by the District. (See Appx. E, Applicant -2.) For year 1, the Applicant is under budget by approximately $17,500; for year 2, the Applicant is under budget by approximately $27,000. Therefore, the Applicants budget is off by a corresponding 9% over the course of 5 years. (4) Special education services are not properly accounted for in the Applicants budget. During the 2011/2012 school year, for 5.5 hour-long days of service, the District paid approximately $70,000 for the services of a speech therapist. However, COSs budget only allows $35,000 for contracted special education services, which would include both a school psychologist and related services. There is no budget for special education placement outside of the charter school.6 (5) The budget underestimated the PSERS contribution rates. The Applicant submitted revised PSERS contribution rates. However, the revised rates underestimated the published rate for PSERS, 16.75 as of June 30, 2011. The inaccuracy of the Applicants projected PSERS contributions was consistent throughout the budget, which resulted in a $3,000 deficiency in year 1, and, by year 5, a $16,000 budgetary deficiency. (6) For classroom equipment, there is only $10,000 budgeted for year 1. Assuming that a desk and chair will be needed for each of the projected 110 students and 5 teacher desks and chairs, the Applicant is approximately $15,300 under-budget. (7) In year one, there is only $15,000 budgeted for computers. COS is required to electronically submit student and staff information for Pennsylvania Information Management

At the hearing, the Applicant acknowledged that the law could require private school placement for children with disabilities whose needs exceed the capabilities of the charter school. (N.T. at 43-44); See also 34 C.F.R. 300.325.

28

System (PIMS) and teacher information for Teacher Information Management System (TIMS). Therefore, the budget is insufficient to comply with the PIMS and TIMS obligations. B. The Application fails to include information required by Section 17-1719A(4) of the Charter School Law. Section 17-1719-A of the Charter School Law states An application to establish a charter school shall include all of the following information: (4) The proposed governance structure of the charter school, including a description and method for the appointment or election of the members of the board of trustees. The School District concludes that the Application does not adequately include a description and method for the appointment or elections of members of the board of trustees as required by Section 1719-A (4) of the School Code. Beginning on page 115 of the Application, the Applicant states the charter school will be governed by a Board of Trustees with day to day management functions being delegated to the schools administration. (A-1) Page 115 and 118 of the Application sets forth the roles and responsibilities of the COS Board. (A-1) However, neither the Application itself nor the bylaws (A-1, Appendix C) describe how successor Board of Trustee members are to be determined. Page 117 discusses the continuity between the Founding Members vision and the Board of Trustees. Page 117 states, as Board members leave and new Board members are added. (A-1) Section 2 of the bylaws describe the initial appointment of trustees and sets forth their terms. (A-1, Appendix C) Section 7 of the Bylaws discuss nominated candidates attending an orientation session. It is unclear who is doing the nominating of potential Trustees when terms of the original Board of Trustees expire. Section 8 of the Bylaws state that each Trustee, after the initial Trustees, shall hold office . . . . the term of office of each Trustee shall be for a period effective upon appointment and qualification and ending 3 years after the expiration of the term in which such Trustee is appointed to fill or until a successor is duly elected. In short, the contradictory language and lack of clarity regarding the process for selection of Board of Trustee members following the initial selection of the first Board signals a lack of planning and uncertainty on the part of the Applicant.

29

In addition, as of the date of the public hearing, it was unknown the number of Board of Trustee members COS would have. Mr. Arnold testified that the Board of Trustees would consist of 5, 7 or 9 members. (N.T. 75) The School Board believes that it, and more importantly COS, should know at least how the successor Board of Trustees will be selected. To the extent that the Application fails to set forth this information, the Application does not satisfy the requirement of Section 1719-A (4) of the CSL. C. The Application fails to include information required by Section 17-1719A(8). Section 17-1719-A of the CSL states: An application to establish a charter school shall include all of the following information: (8) Information on the manner in which community groups will be involved in the charter school planning process. 24 P.S. 17-1719-A. The Applicants response to this requirement appears on page 115 of the Application. The Applicant states as follows: The CFMT has been meeting with parents and community organizations throughout the Lehigh Valley about the Charter School. The CFMT also plans to continue hosting Information Nights and community meetings in the Northwestern Lehigh School District community to include parents and community members in supporting the start-up of the charter school as well as providing information about Waldorf-Methods Education. (A1) This vague statement does not describe how community groups will be involved in the planning process. More importantly, this language does not even confirm that community groups are and have been involved in the planning process. Other areas of the Application support the Districts interpretation that community groups have not been involved in the planning process. For example, when describing Parents involvement with the Charter School, the Applicant states on page 86 of the Application COS intends to develop solid parent participation programs . . . On page 119 of the Application, Applicant states the Circle of Seasons Charter School will provide a variety of avenues for parents, community members and students to offer input on issues concerning the Charter School. This does not comport with Section 17-1719-A(8), which sets forth an affirmative duty for the Applicant to include community groups in the school planning process.

30

CONCLUSION The Board concludes that each of the deficiencies identified above is sufficiently serious to warrant denial of the charter Application, and certainly in the aggregate, dictate that the Board must deny the Application. NOTIFICATION TO APPLICANT This Administration is directed to provide a copy of this Resolution to the Applicant, as well as provide a copy to the Secretary of Education pursuant to Section 1717-A (e) (5). RESOLVED this 15th day of August, 2012. NORTHWESTERN LEHIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT ATTEST: By: _______________________ By: ______________________________ Darryl S. Schafer, President Northwestern Lehigh Board of School Directors

[SEAL]
F:\Users\KingSpry Clients\N\NORTHWESTERN LEHIGH SD\CHARTER SCHOOLS\Circle of Seasons 2012 02041-51\Revised Resolution to Deny Charter School Application - NWLSD 20120813.docx

31