Silver State Charter School’s request to lower required graduation rate denied

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The Nevada Charter School Authority on Friday rejected a request by Silver State Charter School to lower the graduation rates SSCS must reach during the next three school years to 45 percent instead of 60 percent.

Silver State lawyer Ryan Russell said the school’s board was concerned requiring graduation rates to increase from 25 percent to 50 percent in just two years and 60 percent by the third year was “too aggressive.”

“They did not want to set the school up for failure,” Russell said.

Authority Chairman Adam Johnson, joined by several other members of the board, said a requirement that would allow more than half of Silver State’s students to not graduate was unacceptable.

“I’m no satisfied with 35 percent (after two years) and 45 percent,” Member Elissa Wahl told Russell. “I think that’s ridiculously low.”

Members also pointed out the 25 percent graduation rate this past year was Silver State’s self-reported rate, and the Department of Education listed the school as nearly at zero percent.

In the end, the authority gave he school a break on the two-year goal, lowering it from 50 to 45 percent. But the panel voted unanimously to require Silver State make the statutory mandated graduation rate of 60 percent by the end of the 2019 school year, the third year.

If not, the school would again face closure because of the revocation of its charter by the state. That would mean Silver State would no longer qualify for per-pupil state funding and other government money.

The board voted, however, to accept the rest of the negotiated settlement, including the resignation of the entire Silver State Board of Directors. They will be replaced by a court-appointed receiver who will run the school while “reconstituting” the board of directors.

The goal, said board attorney Greg Ott, is to “turn the school into something that board and school can be proud of, turn a school at the bottom of the portfolio into a school at the top of the portfolio.”

He said the receiver would have complete control over the school including reviewing staff and the administration.

“It’s a clean pair of eyes that can come in and see what’s working and what’s not working,” Ott said.

He said the receiver would have a full two-years to reconstitute the board and clean up the school’s operations.

Russell agreed the receiver would be “acting as the governing body” until a new board was in place.

The Silver State Board must now go decide whether to accept the higher graduation rates approved by the authority board.

Authority Director Patrick Gavin said he was confident the school’s board would reach agreement with the state.


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