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MCP. MONTGOMERY COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS wwwamonigomeryschoulsind.ory MARYLAND Feo and tect Mr, Peter M. Kirby, Chair, Crossway Community, Ine. Board of Director Ms, Ann Byme, Chair, Community Montessori Charter School Governing Board Crossway Community Montessori Chatter Schoo! 3015 Upton Drive Kensington, Maryland 20895 Dear Mr. Kirby and Ms. Byrne, Thank you for meeting with the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) charter school oversight (eam on Wednesday, September 18, 2013, to discuss a number of concems about areas of operation that are not in compliance with provisions of the Charter School Agreement between Crossway Community, Ine. (CCI), operator of Community Montessori Charter School (CMCS) and the Board of Education of Montgomery County, operator of the Montgomery County Public Schools. MCPS representatives a the meeting were: Mr. Larry A. Bowers, chief operating officer; 1dr. LaVerne G. Kimball, associate superintendent of elementary schools, Ms. Judith Bresler, leyal counsel; Dr. Andrew Zuckerman, chiel of staff; Ms. Lori-Christina Webb, executive director, Olfice of Teaching, Leaming, and Programs; and Mrs. Stephanie P. Williams, director, Olfice of Shared Accountability. We appreciated the opportunity to meet with you as representatives of CCI (Mr. Kirby, chair of the Crossway Community Board of Directors) and CMCS (Ms. Byme, chair of the newly constituted Community Montessori Charter School Governing Board) to share our concems, lay the groundwork for improved communication, and develop an effective correetive aetion plan, ‘Al the meeting, we provided context for charter schooling in the state of Maryland, as well as rellevied on the past two years of working with CCT in both the design and implementation phases of the charter school. Ms, Webb shared the May 24, 2013, evaluation that MCPS conducted of CMCS, noting certain positive aspects of the instructional program; however, she also shared concerns with the financial operations of the school that were reflected in the evaluation report. Ms. Webb noted that these same concems were previously shared with CMCS. by Mr. Bowers and Dr. Donna 8. Hollingshead, then community superintendent, in a meeting held on Kebroary 22, 2013, and documented in a memorandum to CMCS on February 26, 2013. As | stated in our meeting on Wednesday, September 18, 2013, while we recognize that new charter schools often encounter growing pains during the first few years of operation, the concerns are very serious and will not be remedied with additional experience; instead, they must be addressed promptly or they will worsen office of the Superintendent of Schools {350 Hungerford Drive, Room 122 + Rockville, Maryland 20850 ¢ 301-270-3851 Mr, Peter M. Kirby Ms, Ann Byrne 2 September 27, 2013 Furthermore, at our meeting last Wednesday, Mr. Bowers provided a detailed analysis of the financial, operational, and personnel matters that fail to mect the requirements of the Charter ‘Agreement and explained why these are of serious concern to MCPS. In addition, Dr. Kimball shared MCPS? concems about the provision of special education services that fully comply with the law. Finally, Ms. Williams shared MCPS? concerns about CMCS governance and access to health services. The specific list of concerns and contract violations shared with CMCS at the meeting, and which now require corrective action, is ns follows: 1. Operational deficits. CMCS owes MCPS $150,000 from last year. In addition, CMCS needs to provide MCPS its plan for rising the $250,000 it owes MCPS for FY 2014 and atimeline for paying the funds. 2. Lack of a fundraising policy. This was due 90 days aller the effective date of the Charter School Agreement. In addition to develop a sustainable and viable financial ‘model, CMCS needs to raise the money owed to MCPS and, therefore, the need for a fundraising policy as specified in the Charter School Agreement is particularly important 3. Lack of financial accountability in operations, (a) Failure to submit monthly financial reports. These reports niust account for the actual expenditure and projected expenditure of MCPS funds at the end of each ‘month, beginning in October and ending in June. None were submitted last school year. (b) Failure to submit quarterly financial reparts. ‘These reports are due within 30 days of the end of each quarter. None were submitted last school year. (©) Failure to submit an annual financial report, ‘This report was due within 60 days of the end of the year, 4, Failure to compete the upgmnde of the kitchen to pass health code requirements for a school kitchen. ‘This is needed so that school breakfasts and lunches ean be prepared on in accordance with all Inws and regulations. Curtently, the requirements in Section XVLG. of the Agreement concerning Facility Modifications, which were to include upgrading the kitchen by August 2012, have not been mel; thus some lunches are brought in from another school, and this is not acceptable, 5. Lack of compliance with personnel practices/requiremen (@) Utilizing part-time teachers for full-day kindergarten, Teachers in the afternoon classes are currently being paid by CCI and! are not MCPS employees although they are instructing MCPS students, ‘This is not permitted under MCPS regulations or by the Charter School Agreement, CMCS will need to ensure that kindergarten teachers are full-time MCPS employees, Mr. Peter M. Kirby Ms, Ann Bye 3 September 27, 2013 staff evaluations, Evaluations of staff were not completed last (b) Failure to cond year. (©) Failure to submit MA 272 position management reports, ‘These reports are due on the 15" of each month, None were submitted last school year, (a) Contac ‘ing time for MCPS teachers. ‘Teachers must be provided planning lime per the Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA) Negotiated Agreement, unless a waiver fom this requirement is granted to CMCS by MCPS and MCEA. 6. Failure to. se materials, furniture, and technology by or through MCPS. This is not occurring to financial detriment of CMCS. Failure to comply with all specified special education requirements, All service hous and services as indicated in student Individualized Education Programs must be provided by properly credentialed special educators which, to date, is not occurring, 8. Luck of Governing Board. ‘The newly formed Governing Board must provide documentation of its formation, along with bylaws, conflict of interest policy, fundraising policy, and contact information for Governing Board members. 9. Lack of Plan for Access to Health Services. A plan for how health services will be ‘administered al CMCS for the 2013-2014 school year must be submitted, ‘To address these problems and concerns, CMCS must develop a plan for corrective action that includes all of the components listed above, We discussed submitting the corrective action plan lo MCPS in advance of our next meeting to be scheduled for the end of October. Plense submit the action plan to MCPS on or before October 25, 2013. Our office will work to schedule a meeting to review and provide feedback on the proposed plan at the end of October or the beginning of November. ‘The attachment, Charter School Corrective Action Plan, should be used by CMCS to design its corrective action plan. This action planning template was modeled after the intervention planning template provided to districts and local charter schools from the Maryland State Department of Education as part of its charter schooling handbook and guidelines, MCPS is available to provide technical assistance to CMCS in the completion of the corrective action plan, if requested. We are committed 10 working with Community Montessori Charter School to ensure its success, and we understand that improvement and corrective action takes time. However, the areas of non-compliance with the Charter School Agreement are serious and must be corrected. Without a comprehensive, effective corrective action plan that addresses all of the concerns listed above, the superintendent of schools will have to seriously consider recommending to the Board of Fadueation that CMCS be placed in probationary status. That process delincates continued