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Charter and Operator Renewal

Outside operators receive charters or contracts to run charter or contract schools, generally for three, five or eight-year terms. As part of the routine management of these schools, an evaluation (called operator renewal) conducted in the final year of the contract or charter leads to a decision on whether to renew the contract or charter for a subsequent term, or to non-renew the contract or charter.

Criteria and Measures

City Schools’ operator renewal criteria are based on state law (§ 9-101, et seq., MD. CODE ANN., EDUC.) and Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners’ policy IHBJ and associated administrative regulations (IHBJ-RA and JFA-RA). The Board’s policy requires that schools up for renewal be evaluated on multiple measures including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Student achievement, constituting at least 50 percent of the renewal score and including measures such as schoolwide performance on state assessments, College and Career Readiness (for schools with high school grades), academic programming for special student populations, and a school’s fidelity to its charter
  • School climate (chronic absence, suspensions, enrollment trends, school choice data, and school survey results from parents, teachers, and students)
  • Financial management and governance (annual audits, school budget submissions, grants management, board documentation; compliance/adherence with federal, state, and local laws, rules, and regulations)
  • An overall finding of not effective in any of the key areas (Student Achievement, School Climate, or Financial Management/Governance) may be the basis of a non-renewal decision.

The renewal process is a component of City Schools’ annual review of its schools, designed to ensure that students and families across the district have access to school options that meet their interests and needs.

Based on recommendation of staff and feedback from school operators and other stakeholders following the normal feedback and review cycle, the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners approved a modified renewal process for school year 2021-22. This modified process was designed to take into considerations the lingering impacts of the Covid19 pandemic on student data while still holding operators accountable to delivering strong programs for students.  This year’s process takes a focused look at data in the key areas (Student Achievement, School Climate and Effective Financial Management and Governance).

Since the scope of certain data items like state assessments is limited in the current year, the Board approved modifications so that the only terms schools will be eligible for are either a three-year renewal term or non-renewal.  Non-renewal recommendations will be considered for schools where the evidence indicates serious financial sustainability concerns, or inability to comply with critical state, federal and local guidelines that places students, staff or the district at risk. Thus, schools that earn a “Not Effective” rating in any of the following metrics will be recommended for non-renewal by the Charter and Operator-Led Schools Advisory Board to the CEO:

  • Effective Programming for Students with Disabilities,
  • Audit Content, Internal Controls,
  • Operator Capacity, or
  • Strategic Leadership/Governance (All of Domain 4 from SER).

If a school is considered for non-renewal based on any of these four metrics, the Board will also consider the school’s record of renewal and academic performance, as measured in the Academic Success section of the renewal rubric, in making its renewal decision. 

The revised process continues to use the following components:

The Charter and Operator-led Schools Advisory Board reviews these materials to inform the renewal recommendations it makes to City Schools’ CEO.

The CEO considers the recommendations of the Charter and Operator-led Schools Advisory Board, and the quantitative and qualitative review, and then makes her own recommendation to the Board. In some instances, the nature or severity of an issue raised during the renewal process is serious enough to give it extra weight in formulating the renewal recommendation and, ultimately, the renewal decision, especially in instances where the issue affects the well-being of students, staff, or the district as a whole. The components of the review and the CEO’s recommendation are summarized in a renewal report for each school.

The ultimate decision on all operator renewals rests with the Board, which considers the recommendations and rationale of the CEO, the operator renewal report, testimony given at public Board meetings and work sessions, the contents of the official record and the factors listed in policy IHBJ and administrative regulation IHBJ-RA for charter schools, and, for non-charter schools, policy FCA and administrative regulation FCA-RA. This includes the Board’s ability to consider prior partial renewal terms afforded to operators who have had serious challenges in the prior renewal that remain issues that continue to affect the wellbeing of students, staff, or the district as a whole based on evidence in this renewal process. In particular, as Policy IHBJ states, “[t]he Board may decide that a public charter school is not eligible for two consecutive partial renewals.”

Actions Timeline
Schools submit renewal applications September 2, 2021
Charter and Operator-led Schools Advisory Board reviews renewal applications and makes recommendations to the CEO September to October 2021
District presents CEO’s recommendations to Board at public meeting November 9, 2021
Work Session for operators to provide oral testimony to Board in a meeting open to the public December 9, 2021 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Board votes on renewal recommendations January 11, 2022

 

2021-22 Operator Renewal Recommendations

School Renewal Recommendation Final Community Letter Final Renewal Report School Effectiveness Review Outcome Board Votes
Baltimore Design School 3-year renewal Letter Report Review Approved In Favor-9 Absent-0 Abstain-0 Opposed-0
Baltimore Montessori Public Charter School 3-year renewal Letter Report Review Approved  In Favor-9 Absent-0 Abstain-0 Opposed-0
The Belair-Edison School 3-year renewal Letter Report Review Approved with conditions In Favor-8 Absent-1 Abstain-0 Opposed-0
City Neighbors Charter School 3-year renewal Letter Report Review Approved with conditions
 
In Favor-8 Absent-1 Abstain-0 Opposed-0
City Neighbors Hamilton 3-year renewal Letter Report Review Approved In Favor-7 Absent-1 Abstain-1 Opposed-0
City Springs Elementary/ Middle School 3-year renewal Letter (Spanish) Report Review Approved
 
In Favor-8 Absent-1 Abstain-0 Opposed-0
ConneXions: A Community-Based Arts School 3-year renewal Letter Report Review Approved with conditions
 
In Favor-8 Absent-1 Abstain-0 Opposed-0
Creative City Public Charter School 3-year renewal Letter Report Review Approved with conditions In Favor-8 Absent-1 Abstain-0 Opposed-0
Elmer A. Henderson: A Johns Hopkins Partnership School 3-year renewal Letter Report Review Approved
 
In Favor-8 Absent-1 Abstain-0 Opposed-0
Frederick Elementary School     3-year renewal Letter (Spanish) Report Review Approved
 
In Favor-8 Absent-1 Abstain-0 Opposed-0
Furman L. Templeton Preparatory Academy 3-year renewal Letter Report Review Approved
 
In Favor-8 Absent-1 Abstain-0 Opposed-0
The Green School of Baltimore 3-year renewal Letter Report Review Approved
 
In Favor-8 Absent-1 Abstain-0 Opposed-0
Independence School Local I 3-year renewal Letter Report Review Denied: Non-renew and close at the end of the 2021-22 school year
 
In Favor-6 Absent-0 Abstain-0 Opposed-2
Southwest Baltimore Charter School 3-year renewal Letter Report Review Approved
 
In Favor-8 Absent 1 Abstain-0 Opposed-0

 

View Annual Review of Schools

Annual Review of Schools

View this year's recommendations