Selected readings on US charter schools
Meeting in special session on Tuesday, Jackson Community College trustees agreed 4-3 to authorize a new charter school being proposed for its campus.
Board Chairman Sam Barnes, Vice Chairman John Crist and Trustees Ed Mathein and Phil Hoffman cast votes in favor of JCC authorizing the Jackson Preparatory and Early College. Secretary Sheila Patterson, Treasurer Donna Lake and Trustee Matt Heins voted against it.
JPEC will serve sixth through 12th grades and add a 13th grade so students can graduate with a high school diploma and tuition-free JCC associate’s degree. Students in sixth through eighth grades will be housed in a new building to be built on the JCC campus. Those in ninth through 13th grades will use existing JCC facilities.
JPEC now must get financing in place before it can construct its new building and move forward with plans to open in September.
JCC Provost Rebekah Woods said that no cash will be given from JCC to fund the start-up of the school. And JCC President Dan Phelan said the school will not open in the fall if all things are not in place.
JPEC has the opportunity to apply for a $510,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Education, of which $110,000 would go toward planning and $200,000 each for the start-up of the school and implementation.
JPEC also has received a $650,000 pledge from the Hurst Foundation and is seeking other grants. And, it will receive the $7,000 in per-student funding from the state for every student who enrolls. But those payments don’t come until mid-October.
JPEC also will have to pay JCC tuition for all high school students enrolled in its classes and reimburse JCC for about eight months of research and study into the school, which could total as much as $200,000, Phelan said.
JCC also plans to step up efforts to collaborate with Jackson County’s existing public schools on other ideas for student success beyond the new charter school.
This collaboration could include JCC using the 3 percent oversight fee it will receive from JPEC to hire a liaison to work with other ongoing efforts to improve education, including the Cradle 2 Career initiative and Jackson 2020, Phelan said.
JCC is estimating it would receive $71,000 based on an initial enrollment of 330 students in sixth through 11th grades. A 12th grade would be added in 2014 and the 13th grade in 2015.
“I am concerned about the college’s relationship with the K-12 schools,” Phelan said toward the end of the meeting. “With respect to them and their achievements, it only makes sense to cultivate multiple options. No one has the solution now and it will be difficult for a while, but you do not advance without change.”
The board also established four of five members of JPEC’s governing board. They are Rob Rando, JCC Provost Rebekah Woods, Harry Baltimore and Ted Christoff, who currently is a member of the East Jackson School Board. The fifth member would be the parent of a school student.
By law, enrollment priority would be given to siblings of students already enrolled in the school and to the children of the school’s governing board members. If there are more students than spots, a lottery would take place to determine who gets in. And, once a student is in the school, he or she can’t arbitrarily be removed from the school.
Lake and Patterson voiced concern that the school will not reach at-risk students. Hoffman asked that measurable results be presented to the board to show diversity and student success.
JCC can revoke its authorization of the school at any time if the school is not fiscally responsible or not achieving its education goals. Reports on the progress of JPEC will be presented at the monthly JCC board meetings.
Source: mlive.com – by Leanne Smith