Notes from the school board meeting re: charter school

What follows is the raw unedited version of the notes I took at the 4.30pm School Board meeting. The purpose of the meeting was for the Review Committee (sometimes abbreviated as RC) to present their recommendation on the Patrick Henry Initiative (PHI). The short of it is: the Review Committee decided that they still had […]

What follows is the raw unedited version of the notes I took at the 4.30pm School Board meeting. The purpose of the meeting was for the Review Committee (sometimes abbreviated as RC) to present their recommendation on the Patrick Henry Initiative (PHI).

The short of it is: the Review Committee decided that they still had some concerns about PHI, most notably where does the money come from. At the end of the meeting the School Board voted to have another meeting on the 15th at 5pm. They will meet with some representatives from PHI and get some answers to outstanding questions. This meeting will be open to the public.


(these were the RC’s five core areas of concern –Ed.)

  • Cirriculum
  • enrolment
  • accountability
  • special education
  • budget


  • A “process” of discussion
  • At the end of the process the review comittee will delivery a recomendation



Suppose equipment breaks, who pays for it? Especially if they replace with “green” or “new equipment.”
It hasn’t been discussed.

500,000 of grant money has been cited in the budget. Where do these grants come from?
No specific commitments have been made on any of those.

Why are the 3rd grader science pass rates so low?
Based on the minimum currently.

Is it legal to throw a child out of public school if their parents don’t volunteer? Aka what happens if parents don’t volunteer.
I don’t know. (Attorney)

ESL will be taught be volunteers?
I don’t know, but there have been instances of other volunteers working for schools

Do they have to follow public procurement laws?

Is it advisable for the PHI board to participate in the hiring of teachers? Aka board vs. principle
Yes it allows PHI board to participate in hiring of teachers

Can a child use NCLB to get in?

Discussed any way of evaluation success of the program?
Review committee is “very concerned” about the accountability. RC also would like to know what kind of reports the SB would like.

If children have certain disabilities they may not be able to serve them, is that discriminating?
Another question of the RC. “Providing equal access.”

Do “continuing usage regulation” apply since there has been a lapse
We don’t know.

Is it true that RPS pays everyone but the custodian?
RPS is going to process all of the payroll, the custodians are contractors so they won’t be handled in the same place. Some employers that fulfill special needs might be part time, where does their money come from.


Is the “time of negotiation” proposed to take place before the next meeting (the vote).
Since it is “unchartered territory” they just don’t know, but they want to do a thorough job.

Can there be more talk / planning after the vote (assuming positive vote)? Aka the board’s vote would be more an approval of the concept of the idea.
Talked a lot about how *if* it was approved etc etc.

When the school opens and “200 new faces” show up does that increase the funds coming to RPS?
Yes, but the money goes directly to PHI. In the agreement it says PHI gets the state and local share. If the school pulls students from other places it lowers funding for other schools. Also for “services” PHI is asking for in-kind donations from RPS. This raises the per-pupil cost at RPS in general, but not at PHI.

Tax credits. Could they do something “like maggie walker” to take advantage of federal tax credits?


How much it costs it Norrel as “Norrell” and how much does it cost to run “Norrell” as “Patrick Henry”
Generally, the financial picture is murky and uncertain. The operating costs of Patrick Henry previously would be comparable, however the personnel costs would not be.

“Spellings” mentioned federal money for charter schools, where was it in the application?
Yes it exist. The process of obtaining it is unclear.

What would be the fundamental difference between Community High / Governor School / CCP and PHI?
It is a program and they are totally bound by the politics/fucntions of RPS. Total governance belongs to RPS in the above examples.

Can we see a copy of the agreement with Community High?
(good idea) They are going to look for it. Braxton thought it was a good idea too.

Can we do a provisional approval?
possibly, but the application is the foundation for the contract. So the application needs to be good.

How does CCP differ from PHI?
The SB retains the services of CCP, but it still must submit to the mighty authority of the SB. Charter schools do not submit to the SB


Do the parental contracts increase segregation
The parental contracts do not increase segregation. This was a hilarious conversation — wouldn’t it be awful of the first charter school increased segregation? Like wtf!?

The school is open enrollment after family/staff members are admitted, right?
True. Lottery, waiting list, etc.

Who pays special needs, etc, etc.

Do anyof the historic tax credits (to rennovate the building) exist?
They don’t think so

What are the actual numbers for staffing?
It is in the appendix. rtfa.

Are RPS teachers trained in multisensory things?


Since the staff’s children get preference is that going to be kosher with the federal grants?
That is a RC question.

What about transportation?
Not included in the budget.

They are requiring surpuls equipment, does any exist? Does anyone wnat it?
No one knows, they need to do an inventory

If a child has special needs or transfers away, what happens to the money? Does it get reallocated?
rtfa, depends — typically at the end of the school year. There isn’t a cost of returning them back to the RPS.

To whom do parents/employees they appeal?


Takes issues with that ridiculous segregation comment. “We already have a segregated school system.” OMG A GAVEL WAS BANGED.


The charter school has to do 100% of the work but receives less than 100% funds. Where does it come from and how can that exist.
Private funds, grants, etc. There are also several components that are missing and provided to PHI by RPS in-kind.

Is the combination of grants and private money enough?
yes. Do have some questions about where the money is coming from.


What is the amount of parental involvement required? What happens when the parent can’t be involved but the child is willing?
There are a variety of ways/people to be involved.

Something something something


When the application comes forth it isn’t going to be in contract form?


Are you proposing the that RC continue to meet and develop the proposal?


It seems like we are running out of time, wouldn’t want to rush things only want to judge something on its merits.
(QUESTION: who caused the whole thing to run behind schedule, or who devised and impractical schedule? –Ed)


Is our policy to vote on the recommendation of the committee? What would be the point of listening to the PHI people?

Thursday May 15th 5pm — 6pm => to discuss with the PHI some other questions.
(The board then took a vote on whether to have another meeting to discuss, directly with the PHI folks, the charter school, the results of the vote are below –Ed.)

  • dawson y
  • bridges y
  • carr y
  • mimms n
  • smith n
  • west y
  • wilson n
  • wolf y
  • braxton y
  • error

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Ross Catrow

Founder and publisher of RVANews.

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