Rockford Public Schools says two out of it’s three charter schools are performing below state average.
RPS 205 oversees three charter schools in the area, which are public schools that are privately operated. The charter schools have some autonomy and are able to use alternative teaching methods, and have the flexibility to operate with its own board. However, the charter schools under contract by RPS 205 are not meeting state standard scores.
"They are not finding great success they are below the state average in English, language arts,and mathematics," RPS 205 Improvement and Innovation Executive Director, Travis Woulfe said.
The Illinois report card shows both Legacy Academy of Excellence and Jackson Charter School are in one of the lowest percentiles in the state.
"Legacy three years ago had 18 percent of its students rated as proficient on state testing. That number has slid down to 12 percent in 2017 testing," Woulfe said.
Although Galapagos was not identified as needing improvement under federal guidelines, it slid from 23 percent proficiency in testing down to 14 percent.
"There weren’t specific standards assigned but there was general understanding that we will perform well," Galapagos CEO, Michael Lane said.
Meanwhile, RPS is in the process of renewing its charter contracts with both Legacy and Galapagos. During the renewal process it’s hoping to implement educational standards which are not in place under the current contract.
"If the charter school is not serving students well, we want to make sure the superintendent and the board can articulate that as a reason for not renewing them for another time," Woulfe said.
RPS says it’s considering adding a district score card, the ability to track attendance, and making each school become more transparent when considering resigning both charter schools after this upcoming school year.
Lane says he believes all schools should be held to a higher standards, however, maintaining autonomy in charter schools is also important.
"I think that when you are looking for the growth of students over a period of time, schools need a certain amount of stability in order to do that," Lane said.
RPS says it hopes to have contracts renewed with both Legacy and Galapagos by April of 2019. RPS says it’s contract with Jackson Charter School is one year behind both schools. It says once Jackson’s contract is up it will consider more ways to improve the standard of education moving forward.