Rocketship facing possible charter revocation over paperwork

Rocketship Delta Prep’s new $14 million charter school on Cavallo Road in Antioch. Photo by Hilbers Inc.

By Allen Payton

After obtaining their charter in 2016, building a new $14 million school and opening to almost 400 mainly Antioch students last August, the Rocketship Delta Prep Charter School is now facing revocation of their charter by the Antioch School Board over a technicality.

After school officials missed a deadline for providing a financial audit report, and the Antioch School Board voted 4-1 to approve the Notice of Violation, Antioch Unified School District Superintendent Stephanie Anello sent Marie Issa Gill, Rocketship’s regional director, the 169-pages of documentation on Feb. 28. Antioch USD-Rocketship Notice of Violation

That stated “that this Notice of Violation is issued based on the following grounds for revocation pursuant to Education Code section 47607(c): 1. Committed a material violation of any conditions, standards, or procedures set forth in the charter. 2. Failed to meet generally accepted accounting principles, or engaged in fiscal mismanagement.3. Violated any provision of law.”

Anello further wrote, “On November 14, 2018 the District notified the Charter School of its failure to adhere to and comply with specific obligations in the MOU. (Enclosure No. 3.) The Charter School was slow to respond and to date, has not addressed all of the District’s concerns, as discussed more fully below:

…on November 14, 2018, the District notified the Charter School of its noncompliance with specific obligations in the MOU including but not limited to the Charter School’s failure to timely provide the District the following:

  1. Its Local Control Accountability Plan (“LCAP”) by July 1, 2018;
  2. Notice of all students disenrolling from the program within ten days of their departure;
  3. Information for all Charter School Directors by July 1, 2018;
  4. Notice of the Charter School’s Board meeting agendas and electronic copies of agenda packet materials;
  5. Its student discipline policies by September 1, 2018;
  6. A copy of written notice to parents of their right to access the full continuum of services, including special day class, nonpublic school, or residential care while enrolled at the Charter School as required by state and federal law and each students’ respective Individualized Education Plan (“IEP”) by September 1; 2018;
  7. Notice to the District’s Director of Student Support Services of the designated employee responsible for Section 504 compliance by September 1, 2018;
  8. Within 72 hours of a Special Education students’ expulsion, withdrawal, or dis-enrollment from the Charter School, the Charter School shall notify the District’s Director of Special Education;
  9. By September 30, 2018, the Charter School shall provide written report to the District containing information for every Special Education student newly enrolled;
  10. By September 30, 2018, the Charter School shall provide a written report to the District containing information for every Special Education student who exited the Charter School during the immediately prior tri-annual period;
  11. Provide a written quarterly report detailing information regarding entering and exiting special education students;
  12. Before September 15, 2018, the Charter School shall provide a current copy of insurance policies;
  13. Provide credentialing information for certificated staff in response to two District requests on September 18, and October 29, 2018.”

Rocketship’s attorney and staff were not allowed to speak at the meeting for more than the five minutes allotted to other public speakers, nor were they given the opportunity to respond to the concerns in the notice or brought up by board trustees.

Gil said the notices were sent to the school instead of to her office in Redwood City, as is required of the district in the Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU). But, she admits the required documents were not provided in a timely manner and once she received the communication from Anello, she responded immediately.

“We…are fully compliant with our MOU,” Gil said at the Feb. 27 Antioch school board meeting.

Nevertheless, the school board voted 4-1, with Trustee Crystal Sawyer-White dissenting, to approve the “issuance of a Notice Of Violation” that stated “the District’s Administration has lost all confidence in the Charter School’s leadership team.”

Under state law charter schools have time to cure and correct any violation of their MOU’s with the district that oversees them. Rocketship had until April 1st to respond to the notice.

“We are in compliance with all 13 points,” Gil reiterated to the Herald. “The main thing is our students are improving in their education, with some of our upper grade students, who came in reading at Kindergarten levels who are now, in less than six months, reading at their own grade level.”

Check back later for updates to this report.

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the attachments to this post:

Antioch USD-Rocketship Notice of Violation
Antioch USD-Rocketship Notice of Violation

Antioch USD-Resolution 2018-19-21 to Approve Issuance of Notice of Violation
Antioch USD-Resolution 2018-19-21 to Approve Issuance of Notice of Violation


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