The news is looking bleak for Charter Schools of Sunnyside, but the grassroots effort is encouraged, according to Brittany Weaver, a founding member of the organization.
A team of evaluators from the National Association of Charter School Authorizers has reviewed all the documentation submitted by Charter Schools of Sunnyside and have recommended the application be denied.
The recommendation was this week submitted to the Washington State Charter School Commission, which will make its final decision on which schools will be approved as the state’s first six to be established
Even if the application submitted by the Charter Schools of Sunnyside is officially denied, Weaver said the organization will move forward with its effort.
There were 19 proposals under consideration statewide.
“While all portions of this application were strong except for the financial portion, it is for that reason that this application does not meet the standard,” the evaluators stated in the executive summary of their recommendation report.
“The feedback was very positive,” Weaver said.
The evaluators noted the application included a plan to open a charter school in Sunnyside in 2015. That plan was revised for a 2014 opening, but evaluators said the documentation needed to properly evaluate the revised plan was not available.
“We were confined in our review to the documents submitted and the issues discussed during the interview,” the evaluators said.
It was also noted there were weaknesses with the financials “…as submitted for 2015.”
The evaluation documents revealed Sunnyside’s charter school proposal is strong, operation plans are solid and “…the board has the capacity and dedication to revise and submit a plan for a scaled down model, if it wishes to do so.”
The financial plan is where additional work is needed for a recommendation from the Washington state evaluators. It was given a rating of partially meets the standard. The start-up budget included $1.6 million in fundraising.
Weaver said Charter Schools of Sunnyside will work on fundraising efforts, as well as continuing its educational efforts in the community, even if the application is denied by the Washington State Charter School Commission.
“We feel very heartened…we are a grassroots effort and we submitted a strong application,” said Weaver.
She said if the application is ultimately denied, the organization plans to re-submit its application next year.
“There are supposed to be 40 schools approved in the next five years,” Weaver noted.