Meeting of DMA Founding Board with Marlies Burns
Salt Lake City, Utah
25 July 2012
Notes taken by Margaret “Meg” Groke
Board Members in attendance: Russell Armstrong, Michael C. Currie, Kevin Groke, Margaret “Meg” Groke, Tracy K. Mitchell, Paula D. Nelson, Scott Nielson, Julie M. Wand, Michael D. Wand
Organizational Structure of Board: Marlies strongly recommends that the Board NOT have family members serving on the board together. One family member may hold a voting position on the board and any additional family members may have input and serve as board advisors at board meetings but not have a vote. Marlies is not aware of any laws preventing a person from serving on the board (for example as Secretary or Treasurer) and not having voting power.
She recommends we make the school K-7 or K-9 to better help families integrate their students into the other schools in Washington County. Including 9th grade could make significant difference in teacher accreditation requirements.
Government online board training is available immediately, is of no cost, and HIGHLY recommended that ALL board members complete.
More definition needed in the charter document concerning the terms served by board members. When terms begin, end, and how a term is filled when a position has not been completed to term. More details needed – no ambiguity!
Parental Involvement: How do parents have a voice in the management of the school?
Example: “Town Hall” meeting held quarterly where parents can voice concerns
Parental Seats on the board
Parental Committee represented at Board meetings
Comments of a similar nature numbered at 20% or greater given attention at board meetings
The PTO is seen as a fundraising committee, not as a way parents are given a voice concerning the school. PTO needs by-laws in relationship to the board.
Northwest Accreditation is now called Advanced Education. All charters must be in accordance with Advanced Education accreditation.
A team of five people including Marlies Burns read the rough draft of the DMA Charter that was due April 2nd. The comments provided should be seen as advice given to the board by people with experience in running and helping charters.
DMA must have more dissemination to stake holders; discuss progress with the general public, especially those not familiar with the Montessori curriculum. All finances including a total of salaries paid must be made fully transparent. There should be a financial report at every board meeting. Individual salaries do not need to be disclosed
The term “Grace” being defined a non-religious term has been addressed.
Attendance and re-enrollment goals:
Student attendance must match UPASS goals
All student membership divided by attendance must be at least 93%
UPASS based only on 93% If UPASS is not passed then DMA will not have a good school rating
Within year enrollment rate try to get 80% or higher
Year to year re-enrollment try greater than 75%
Re-enrollment is measured beginning Oct 1st until the beginning of the next school year. Goals may be increased incrementally over the first few years of the schools existence.
Need to measure retention/ continuous enrollment over time. As students exit the school, there should be an exit interview/phone call, etc. to address the reason for the student’s withdrawal. Relocating out of district or state does not count against the school’s overall numbers. They don’t have data for continued re-enrollment, so our number is fine.
Bell Schedule: 180 days and 990 hours plus two day extra days is preferred by the State. Grades 2 through 12 all have the same bell schedule requirements. Kindergarten and 1st grade have lower requirements but it is acceptable that all grades be subject to the higher numbers of 180/990. Full day Kindergarten is allowed but only at the cost of the school. The State will not increase funds for full day Kindergarten nor is it allowable to charge parents for the extra half day. For more information about Full Day Kindergarten requirements contact Tiffany Hall at 801-538-7893.
Market Analysis: it is to DMA’s advantage to change the phrase “first and only Montessori charter” to “first and only Montessori public” school in explaining elementary-level Montessori competition in Washington County. That will make comments A7 and A8 no longer needed/applicable.
Capital Facility: strongly encouraged that the Site and Building committee create and use a rubric, including cost, for the facility choices and selection. The State does not require that DMA look at leasing a facility. A contingency plan is still required. Examples of contingency include:
Using portable space at an existing school
Dixie Convention Center
Must list 2 to 3 sites most appropriate/desirable for the facility and filled out in the rubrics.
Benefits: The stated number of 32% is a very low number. Marlies highly recommends at least 50%. We should re-analyze where we get our numbers on this. Salaries are okay. Occupancy costs at 22% are okay if we show we are planning on getting them down lower.
Fiscal Procedures: The State rubric for finances should remain in chart format and not spelled out as a paragraph when submitted to the State.
Encouraged to use and become familiar with purchasing.utah.gov
Providence Hall (charter school in Harriman) is an excellent example for management of finances.
Timeline of Charter Creation: The next revision of the charter should be submitted to Marlies no later than the first week of August 2012. These revisions will be reviewed by an Application Committee from the State consisting of 5 or 6 people. They will be coming to Saint George in September to meet with DMA Board Members to provide more localized feedback. As many revisions as needed can be made until the Final Draft is due on November 30, 2012 and Marlies will provide as much feedback to those changes as she can. In December 2012 the charter is forwarded to the State Charter School Board (SCSB). We will then meet with/be interviewed by the SCSB. THIS INTERVIEW WILL MAKE OR BREAK THE CHARTER. DMA will be ranked from our Charter Document and the results of that interview, and we will be considered by ranking when funds become available in April or May of 2013 after the legislative session is finished, during which the amount of funds for charter schools will be established. DMA can expect final approval or rejection in May or June 2013. If accepted, funds will become available right away and we will have roughly 14 months to be ready to open for the 2014-2015 school year.
Special Education: Montessori should not be an inclusion school only. The decision to include/exclude a child from the mainstream classroom should be made on an individual basis. How is this implemented? More information is needed about the Special Ed. Teachers and classrooms that DMA will provide. We don’t need to be quoting the laws, but explaining how we will be implementing them.
Library Plan: okay
PPP: Marlies sent a link concerning this section. She thinks that this section is okay overall. Is $2,500 the “magic number” for signatory authority? DMA must decide this and similar details. Does the Director or Business Manager have signatory authority? Who has last say in purchases being considered?