Connecticut State Board of Education Votes to Initiate Revocation Process for Path Academy Charter
(HARTFORD, CT)—The Connecticut State Board of Education (SBE) today held a special meeting at which it considered and voted to begin the process of revoking the charter of Path Academy based on several significant issues of concern which are detailed in a memorandum board report presented to the SBE by the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE). Today’s vote by the SBE was not the final determination on the revocation of the school’s charter, but rather a vote to begin the process to consider revocation.
“Over the past several years, we have adopted policies that have strengthened oversight of the governance and management of charter schools to ensure that they remain accountable and are fulfilling their responsibilities to their students and families. Today’s vote was the beginning of a process during which Path Academy will have the opportunity to make their case before the SBE. A final decision on revocation will not be made until after the current school year has ended and I urge students to continue to attend class,” said Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell. “As always, our highest priorities are the well-being and education of our students. We will do everything we must to guarantee that they are provided with fostering and welcoming environments in which they are happy, safe and ready to learn.”
Based on the information gathered and set forth in CSDE’s report to the board, including evidence of discrepancies in student records and enrollment, operating unauthorized satellite schools, and the implementation of unauthorized school policies, the SBE determined it appropriate to begin charter revocation proceedings in accordance with Connecticut state statute. CSDE now must promptly send the governing council of Path Academy the memorandum board report as notice of the reasons for revocation, including the following areas of concern:
- Unauthorized Satellite Locations – Path Academy operated two satellite locations not authorized by its charter, in Norwich and Hartford.
- Failure to Provide Appropriate Records to Support Reported Enrollment – Path Academy lacked appropriate documentation to support enrollment and attendance data on the 128 students for whom the school received per pupil grant payments, representing a potential overpayment of $1,573,000 to Path Academy over a two-year period.
- Evidence Suggesting that a Significant Number of Students Reported as Enrolled are Not Regularly Attending School - Path Academy was unable to produce records establishing that students reported as enrolled were actually enrolled and attending school.
- School Policies Not Authorized by the Charter - appears that Path Academy was providing unauthorized part-time education to some students, while receiving the full per pupil grant payment for these students; and had an attendance policy permitting students to work from home which is not authorized by the school’s charter.
It is important to note that the reasons set forth above do not reflect final findings or conclusions by CSDE but rather provide an appropriate basis for raising these issues with the SBE in order for the SBE to determine whether or not to initiate the charter revocation process. The final decision to revoke Path Academy’s charter may be made only by the SBE, and only after completion of the process, which includes providing the charter school governing council with a written notice of the reasons for revocation and an opportunity for the school’s operators to be heard and provide evidence in response.
Following today’s vote, the next step in the process is for the SBE, or of a committee of the SBE, to hold a meeting on June 19, 2018, at which Path Academy will have the opportunity to demonstrate compliance with all requirements for the retention of its charter. Following the June 19 meeting, the SBE then has 30 days to render its decision in this matter.
Should the SBE’s final decision result in the revocation of Path Academy’s charter then the revocation would not take effect until after the conclusion of the current school year. If this is the case, CSDE will prioritize providing personalized placement supports to each Path Academy student and will engage specialists to help students identify the best options for completing high school.
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