The other day someone posted about the Academy of Alameda and an email that was sent to AoA supporters regarding the elementary school program at AoA. Now, I’ve been pretty quiet about AoA’s elementary school program even though it is in direct competition to — what I believe — are two really strong AUSD offerings in the neighborhood school department. Plus, I was not in love with the section in the AoA elementary school proposal that dissed the local neighborhood school outcomes front when I know that the people who sit on the Boards of AoA know good and well what the numbers mean and that they chose to misrepresent it so badly was very disappointing to me.
But since it came up I thought I would address the topic of the Prop 39 request for space for AoA’s elementary school program. So a bit of a refresher for those not up to date on charter school stuff. Every year charter schools must request space for their school from their chartering agency. In this case AUSD. Of course Nea and ACLC worked out a long term lease deal with AUSD so they no longer need to go through this process. In this case they need 80 in district students to trigger any accommodation by the school district.
Long story short, AUSD staff believes that the numbers presented by AoA for the elementary program only is not reasonable based on historic data and the use of “cohort survival” methodology to predict enrollment.
The AoA Middle School used the cohort survival methodology to estimate their enrollment for next year, but for the elementary school they were a little bit more…generous:
Here’s how the AoA Middle School numbers were constructed:
Even though for the 6th grade which is the “starting year” for the Middle School used essentially the same number from the 2015-16 actual enrollment, for Kindergarten AoA overestimate their 2015-16 projection and again projected more than they actually enrolled for 2015-16. Then AoA also doubled the number of 2nd graders that they believed would attend the next year even though cohort survival would simply apply the actual enrollment to the next grade level.
Added to that the District used historic information from Nea which has an all-day Kindergarten like AoA that showed a reduction between Kindergarten and 1st grade because a percentage of parents take advantage of the all day Kindergarten and then return to their neighborhood school at the conclusion of Kindergarten. This is the number the the District felt was reasonable:
I mean even if the District were to not overlay the Nea historic data on the AoA projections, they are still under the 80 student threshold. While the lawyer for AoA indicated that AoA presented signed intent forms, the district, I imagine also has signed intent forms every single year for every single school and a percentage of those families that sign an intent form don’t end up sending their kid to the school they said they would.
At this point, unless AoA starts actively enrolling kids and has that data to support their numbers the only reasonable thing to do is use the same methodology that AoA uses to project their Middle School enrollment for their elementary school program and it comes up short.
I want to point out that in the email from AoA regarding this issue they brought up a quote by one of the School Board members. The ironic thing about the negative quote was that it was paired with a vote to approve the charter for Alternatives in Action, a public charter school that supports high school students that supports students that have not been successful in traditional high schools.