District 117 allowing 8 Points Charter to present case for contract renewal

By Ryne Turke on November 17, 2015 at 10:01pm

The future of 8 Points Charter School will be decided next month.

The original plan was for District 117 board members to vote on whether or not to renew the contract agreement with 8 Points on Tuesday, but those in attendance were informed 8 Points would be given the opportunity to present their case for renewal at the regularly scheduled board meeting on December 16th.

Superintendent Steve Ptacek says allowing 8 Points to address the board next month is the right thing to do, even though board members voted to prepare a resolution for non-renewal of 8 Points Charter’s contract last month.

“We want to give 8 Points an opportunity to respond to the data and present a proposal to the board so an educational decision can be made. This is a contractual issue that also ends up having an appeals process that is followed through school code. Further analysis working with the District attorney showed allowing public comments and an opportunity to present to the board as an important part of this process.”

Ptacek provided the public with an analysis of 8 Points Charter’s compliance with the accountability plan. The information, which can be viewed on jsd117.org, included 47 pages of ISAT, PARCC and NWEA test scores comparing 8 Points Charter with the rest of the schools of District 117.

According to the document, Ptacek’s final recommendation to the school board is “to not renew the contract with 8 Points Charter School.  We have the educational obligation to bring our students back into the much higher performing district schools and stop sending students to an extremely poor performing entity. “

Staff from 8 Points Charter, including Founder Amy Schwiderski, informed the board that detailed statistics supporting the continuance of the charter school would be provided at the next meeting.

In other action from the meeting, a monthly report was provided to District 117 board members on the remodeling and expansion projects taking place at Lincoln Elementary and Jonathan Turner Jr. High.

Ptacek says everything is on schedule at both buildings.

“At Lincoln we are working with CTS and they should be working with the staff soon to initiate their final design. We hope to start seeing small-type work over Christmas break and hopefully done over summer,” says Ptacek.

“At Turner, the transformation into Jacksonville Middle School includes more walk-through steps and preparations for final plans.  That way we can start getting sub-contractors and getting started over summer.”

A resolution was approved by board members to increase the 2015 Tentative Tax Levy by five percent. According to the information provided by District 117, the tax levy request would total just over $19.3 million