April 2023 ACCS - Item 2 Public Comment 6Public Comment 6 received for Agenda Item 2 of the April 18, 2023, Advisory Commission on Charter Schools meeting.
The following information was provided on Taylion High Desert Academy/Adelanto letterhead. Except when needed for accessibility purposes, no corrections to spelling, grammatical, or typographical errors have been made. The Charter Schools Division understands the following acronyms to mean: ACCS = Advisory Commission on Charter Schools; CDE = California Department of Education; ADA = average daily attendance; FTE = full-time enrollment.
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Item 02, Attachment 24, Charter #1520
Public Comment Submission for the April 18th, 2023 ACCS Meeting
Agenda Item #2, Attachment #24 Determination of Funding Request Taylion High Desert / Adelanto
My name is Brenda Congo and I am the Principal of Taylion High Desert Academy – a school whose Funding Determination is up for review on Item #2 of your board agenda.
I am asking the ACCS to reconsider the CDE's recommendation to cut the school’s funding by 30%.
As demonstrated in the school’s mitigating circumstance letter, Taylion High Desert Academy saw unprecedented enrollment and ADA growth coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic. The organization grew from a pre-pandemic ADA of 177 to a 2021-22 P-2 ADA of 274. (It should a be noted that Taylion’s ADA was frozen at 177 from February 2020 until February 2022 due to the Governor’s hold harmless directive.) Furthermore, if you review the data outlined in the Mitigating Circumstance form you will notice that an overwhelming amount of that growth took place between December 2021 and March 2022 when ADA increased by 50% in a 3-month span. An increase of that magnitude is extremely tough to budget and staff for.
With that said, it should be noted that Taylion maintained a student- teacher ratio well below the CDE required 25:1 ratio throughout the entire 2021-22 school year. As demonstrated in the Mitigating Circumstance form, Taylion continuously increased FTE’s during the year and maintained an average student to teacher ratio of 14.12 during the 2021-22 school year. This documents Taylion was vehemently hiring each month to match increased student enrollment.
Taylion’s failure to meet the 40% spending requirement was not due to a lack of credentialed teachers, but rather the result of the school being able to hire newly credentialed teachers in the early years of their careers. The 2021-22 school year started with 14 credential teachers, which rose to 22 mid-year, and 30 towards the end of the school year. This school year, teaching positions posted on EDJOIN on seven separate occasions and five the previous school year. Taylion is continuously hiring to match student growth as evidenced by an increase in personnel from 16 to 53 from October 21 to current staff overall. Furthermore, Taylion provides support, induction, and mentoring in order to train and monitor teachers as they grow professionally.
Due to a California statewide teacher shortage, that was only heightened by the Covid-19 pandemic, hiring teachers has been extremely challenging over the last 24 months. Specifically, hiring teachers with multiple years (5+) of experience. As a result, nearly all of the applications Taylion received were from newly credentialed teachers – not teachers will multiple years of experience. As a result, actual expenditures came in far lower when compared to projected budgeted expenditures. As demonstrated in Taylion’s 1st interim and 2nd budget reports, the school was projected to meet both Nonclassroom-based spending requirements.
Taking the above factors into consideration, I ask that the Commission not take the CDE’s recommendation at this time and at least provide Taylion the opportunity to further discuss the factors surrounding our mitigating circumstances with the CDE in greater detail.
Principal, Taylion High Desert Academy/Adelanto