LA MARQUE — The La Marque school district will again attempt to turn its Renaissance Academy into a charter school.

The Texas Education Agency rejected the school district’s application for a startup grant to fund the Renaissance Academy as a public charter school for the current school year.

But La Marque school district’s director of college readiness, DelSenna Frazier, told trustees that the district has cleared up the issues that led to the rejection by the state.

The district’s proposal was denied because of its financial situation, Frazier told the trustees.

“But things have changed,” she said. The district has a solvency plan in place and has done the things it needs to do to, Frazier said.

The Renaissance Academy opened last year and is the district’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics program. It is open to fifth- through eighth-graders from around the county.

As a charter school, the Renaissance Academy would have received separate funding from the state and a separate accountability rating. The school would still be part of the La Marque school district, Frazier said.

“I think we are in a pretty good place,” she said.

Contact reporter Christopher Smith Gonzalez at 409-683-5314 or chris.gonzalez@galvnews.com.

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(5) comments

Walter Manuel

These people at LMISD never cease to amaze me....

I suppose that district officials and the incompetent school board members continue to forget that TEA is at the helm of this ship steering it's current and future course?

Have they all forgotten so soon that TEA held up their original solvency plan because of their concern for the 21st Century Learning Center's Grant application funding affecting the 199 budget and ultimately the district's solvency plan?

What will be any different with the charter school grant funding??

The difference is that with the start up funding for a charter school, you take salaries from the Renaissance Academy that are currently being paid by a grant and shift it to the district's 199 budget which will NOT be part of the district's current solvency plan.

This is from TEA's web site regarding use of Charter Start Up Funding Grant money:

" Document entitled Errata #2, under the 2013-2014 Public Charter School Program Start-Up Grant, which states the following:

"ALLOWABLE activities" and use of funds for this grant may include but are not limited to the following:

Program coordinator/director salaries, limited to the planning phase and up to the first 30 days of the initial implementation phase, which starts the day the school begins to serve students, provided that these expenses are associated with initial implementation activities (i.e., as opposed to ongoing operations), such as program and curriculum development and integration, and teacher and staff recruiting

Instructional and administrative personnel salaries, limited during the planning phase and up to the first 30 days of the initial implementation phase, which starts the day the school begins to serve students, provided that these expenses are associated with initial implementation activities (i.e., as opposed to ongoing operations), such as program and curriculum development and integration, and teacher and staff recruiting

"UNALLOWABLE activities" and use of funds for this grant may include but are not limited to the following:

Superintendent or principal salaries beyond the first 30 days of the initial implementation phase of the charter school, which starts the day the school begins to serve students

Other staff salaries or contracted personnel beyond the first 90 days of the initial implementation phase of the charter school, which starts the day the school begins to serve students".

So after the first 30 days of school will the school districts 199 budget be able to afford paying the principal at the Renaissance Academy $100,000 a year and after the first 90 days the teachers salaries of heaven only knows how much?

The next concern we as taxpayers should be looking at is after 5 years when this funding possibly ends will the school district be able to afford keeping the charter school open without this grant money? That IS the expectation from the state by awarding any school district this "start up" grant funding that the district will be financially able to fund this school on their own!

Looks like more of taking from Peter to pay Paul which this district has become quite content and has made a living doing for quite some time!

So are we really in a better place as Del Senna Frazier claims when we still have the same incompetent school board members who will be overseeing the charter school?

Are we still NOT working under a solvency plan and a sworn "Financial Integrity Resolution" signed by the same people who swore to stay within the terms of the solvency plan?

And are we still NOT an academically unacceptable school district 3 years in a row?

PUHLEEZE!

I hardly doubt that we're anywhere closer to being in a better place at this time or any time soon no matter how straight faced someone might appear when their standing their doing their best to lie to us!

This is simply another way to grab more state money in order to try to keep from shutting down the place and with less restrictions from the person giving it to them. [yawn]

Gary Miller

A recent story in the GCDN reported total public school spending inTexas was $11,000 a year per student.
Another GCDN story reported STATE funding per year, per student was $5,100. The $5,900 extra was local tax funding.
With only the states $5,100 per student charter schools provide a better education than public schools
Isn't anyone curious about why public schools spend $5,900 more than Charter schools and produce sub par education?
With over twice the money shouldn't they be twice as good as charter schools?

Doesn't every student in Texas deserve the same state funding? The state provides $5,100 for all public and charter school students. Why do private school students get nothing?

JBG JBG

Because right is bad, and good is wrong in today's society. [smile]

Walter Manuel

Mr. JBG, I agree with you 1000%, you had the perfect response to IHOG's question!

Unfortunately so many people have learned how to work the system to their own advantage and that ain't a good thing.

Charter schools have far less students than traditional schools do, therefore there's a smaller class size for the teacher to have to teach those students, therefore students typically do better with fewer students for teachers to have to be involved with.

The downside of charter schools is that the district can lower their educational standards or qualifications of the teachers that they hire to teach. We're already seeing students not doing well in the districts classes today as a result of new or unqualified teachers teaching our children.

Charter schools also have different academic standards and less rules being mandated by the state regarding their instructional curriculum.

LMISD district officials and board members are obviously living in a fantasy world....

Lyra Mitchell

From the National Assessment of Educational Process
http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pdf/studies/2006460.pdf

A Closer Look at
Charter Schools Using
Hierarchical Linear Modeling

Summary:

“After adjusting for student characteristics, charter school mean scores in reading and mathematics were lower, on average, than those for public noncharter schools. The size of these differences was smaller in reading than in mathematics.”

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