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11 Nevada charter schools get academic notices of concern

The state’s charter school authority voted Friday to issue notices of academic concern for 11 campuses.

The Nevada State Public Charter School Authority’s board heard presentations from each of the schools about action steps that are being taken, ranging from academic interventions to reducing chronic absenteeism.

Notices were issued Friday for about half of the campuses that received a one- or two-star rating under the state’s school accountability system for last school year. The schools also had a “below standard” or “does not meet standard” rating by the charter authority.

The board will consider a second round of notices during a December meeting.

Board member Sandra Kinne abstained from voting on all of the notices Friday, saying there was clarification she wanted to see after a meeting last month to decide on criteria.

A number of first-year schools were on the list and not having two years’ worth of data “gives me pause and concern,” she said.

Member Jackson Olsen said he was not comfortable with issuing notices of concern for two-star schools and that it would be reflected in his votes. Member Tamika Shauntee Rosales also voted against issuing some notices.

Schools that received a notice are:

■ Battle Born Academy — elementary school (Las Vegas)

■ CIVICA Nevada Career and Collegiate Academy— elementary school and middle school (North Las Vegas)

■ Explore Academy — middle school (North Las Vegas)

■ Honors Academy of Literature — elementary school (Reno)

■ Imagine Schools at Mountain View — elementary school (Las Vegas)

■ Nevada Virtual Charter School — middle school

■ Pinecrest Academy of Nevada — virtual middle school

■ Quest Academy Northwest Charter School — elementary school (Las Vegas)

■ Silver Sands Montessori Charter School — elementary school (Henderson)

■ Sports Leadership &Management Academy of Nevada — elementary school (Henderson)

■ Somerset Academy of Las Vegas — North Las Vegas campus — elementary school

The Nevada Department of Education released school star ratings, one being the lowest and five being the highest, in September.

It was the first time ratings were issued since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Board member Victor Salcido raised concerns about the growth metrics used to calculate school ratings.

Salcido told the affected schools that he thinks “some of these factors that led to this designation were out of your control.”

But he also said the most fair thing to do is to apply the same standard across the board.

Under state law, schools that receive a one- or two-star rating must mail a notification to parents.

The charter authority’s board postponed consideration of a notice for TEACH Las Vegas’ elementary and middle schools — which was on Friday’s agenda — until December.

The board also voted to remove a prior notice of concern for Nevada Prep Charter School’s elementary school.

4 schools delinquent on retirement contributions

Four Las Vegas-area public charter schools are currently delinquent in paying public employee retirement contributions.

The topic came up Friday during the charter authority’s board meeting. The board received information, but didn’t take action.

Interim Executive Director Jennifer Bauer said “a variety of reasons” led to the delinquencies, including financial and administrative issues.

The delinquencies are a “very serious matter,” she said, noting that staff has been working diligently with the Public Employees’ Retirement System of Nevada and each of the schools to prevent the situation from recurring.

PERS submitted the complaints Oct. 23 to the Nevada Department of Taxation. The Las Vegas Review-Journal obtained the documents through a public records request.

One of the notices was for TEACH Las Vegas, which owes more than $320,000, plus penalties. The Review-Journal reported on the notice earlier this week.

Nevada Prep Charter School owes $492,935.69 — plus $19,337.31 in penalties — for contributions from September 2022 to August.

The school has proposed a payment plan to the PERS board, Bauer said.

Explore Academy owes $287,532.27 — plus $14,958.11 in penalties — for contributions from December 2022 to August.

The school is working to secure a loan to pay the debt, Bauer said.

Cactus Park Elementary owes $40,187.04 — plus $429.31 in penalties — for June through August.

A notice was also issued for Sage Collegiate but was withdrawn Tuesday because payments were made in October that returned its account status to current.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on X.

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