Friday, September 14, 2012

PPSD in-district charter process - the questions

This post is a recap and expansion of the questions I asked yesterday about the in-district charter school process that is now unfolding within PPSD. In subsequent posts, I'll share answers and information as it becomes available.
  • What are PPSD's specific motivations for introducing in-district charters?
  • Why is this happening so hastily? Teachers found out about this in some (all?) schools with almost no time to consider before voting to move forward. Potential partner organizations had a week to respond to indicate interest in the partnership possibility, which may have limited the capacity for strong potential partners to respond.
  • Are schools submitting applications to become in-district charters in the 2013-2014 school year, or 2014-2015?
  • Why is this happening with a lack of clear information from the district? What are PPSD's plans for putting out a FAQ or other document that clearly briefs the public on this process?
  • What's the specific plan and timeline for parent/family involvement in terms of finding out more, collaborating with school-based planning teams on the charter applications, and, of course, voting. 
  • What are the specific requirements for parent votes? RIDE regulations say that more than 50% majority parent vote is required for a school to convert to charter. What is the mechanism of the vote - is it 50% of parents/family members who show up for a meeting or 50% of all parents/family members? When in the process does the vote occur - before, simultaneous with, or after the faculty vote?
  • What happens to the neighborhood status of these schools? Do they become schools that have no neighborhood zone and to which any student in the district can apply?
  • What will be the governance structure for these in-district charters? Will they have their own boards or be part of PPSD and the Providence School Board?
  • How will the teachers of these in-district charters be represented by the PTU? Will they negotiate individual school-based contracts with the district?


  1. Hi Jill,
    There will be more info. coming from PPSD later this week. Please let the MLK families know on your FB page that NATHAN BISHOP has applied but under the condition it remain a neighborhood school (80/20) this misperception needs to be clarified so those planning on going to NB next year don't stress! In-District Charters are different than standard RI Charters so this is where the confusion is stemming from. PPSD will publish an FAQ. Some schools will do 2013-21014, and some 2014/15. This is a RACE to the top so to speak as by doing a few schools quickly Providence will get more federal dollars. This is exciting and brave and I am myself a bit stunned those words would be used to describe PPSD (by me). The in district Charters will be more like Site Based Managed schools (Vartan Gregorian was) than what the general public see's as Charters (or maybe something in the middle). Giving school autonomy, teachers flexibility to enhance their teaching and giving all kids a better shot at a great education. And, unlike standard charters these teachers are our same union teachers. Important to get this info. from PPSD but between now and then lets stay positive and hopeful as this could be a super important first step to improving providence schools. Thanks, Kira Greene

    1. RIDE said this during the AF campaign: "In accordance with the statute, all students in application pool will have an equal opportunity to enroll."

      Here's the relevant regulation:

      "C-5-2. Enrollment Lotteries. -- (a) When fewer students apply than there are seats
      available, all applicants shall be offered enrollment into the school. When more students
      apply than are seats available, the school shall conduct a random lottery to determine
      enrollment. For Charter schools that do not have defined enrollment percentages from
      their sending districts in their Charter, lotteries shall be held no later than a date set by the
      Commissioner in the school year before the year in which students are to enroll. Charter
      schools shall use a lottery application developed by the Commissioner. Weighted lotteries
      are permissible if the Commissioner deems it necessary to fulfill statutory requirements."

      I think it is very unlikely you can spin this into maintaining the 80/20 thing, or by trying to define an enrollment pool smaller than the district as a whole.

      Basically, you can have a neighborhood school or a district charter, but if you try for anything between, it will be a legal war on unfavorable ground.