Friday, March 18, 2011

Charter School Business Manager's Network Meeting

Charter school business managers from across Colorado met to discuss a number of pressing issues, including how they would deal with impending budget cuts. Here's a summary of the day's meeting.

* The stimulus money (federal ARRA and EduJobs) goes away this year.

* The teacher salary results (63 of ~160 responding):
a. Highest range of full-time teacher salaries was in the $25,000 to $43,999 category.
b. Lowest full-time teacher mean was $30,000. Lowest range from $13,650 to $40,000.
c. Highest full-time teacher $47,000 mean. Lowest range from $30,000 to $76,688.
d. There were no trends for more mature charter schools or for charter school size.
e. Next teacher salary survey should be percentage of district salary. Plus, survey what benefits schools do pay for.
f. The salary survey will be open through the end of next week (April 1).

* School Fees
a. Should be on fee sheet if the fee is mandatory or optional and if it is optional, what the student will not receive if the fee is not paid.
b. No fees are required (may opt out of any) and the student will not be penalized or not able to graduate or advance to the next grade level.

* Security Systems
a. Some volunteer security systems include instant background checks that identify people with restrictions from accessing a school building.
b. A couple of the schools presenting cover the cost of background checks on their volunteers. Some schools have the parents/volunteers.

* Legislative Update

a. HB 1055: Charter school access to available school property. Will be heard in State Affairs on Wednesday.
b. HB 1089: Grant Opportunities. Headed to the Governor’s desk for signature. Allows charter schools to use the collaborative law to apply for federal competitive grants.
c. School Food Authorities. Will be added to Rep. Massey’s omnibus bill (HB 1277).
d. Timely Access to School Data. Will also be added to Massey’s bill. Data should be distributed to charter schools within two weeks of the district receiving it.
e. HB 1253: Charter School and At-risk Funding. Bill was killed.
f. Change BEST formula. Change the matching fund formula for charter schools.
g. Next year’s charter school capital construction will be around $83 per student (as projected by the JBC).
h. SB 188: Moral obligation bill. Previous version died in the Senate (SB 132), but was reintroduced.
i. HB 1277: Massey’s omnibus bill, which includes changes to online school reporting, overage and under credit student funding changes and School Food Authorities.
j. Senator Bacon is holding a public hearing on public education issues with a goal of generating media attention. Representatives from charter schools are invited to speak at the hearing.

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