D.C. Public Charter School Board Plans to Launch New Non-Profit Venture

Thursday, December 17, 2009
For Immediate Release:  December 17, 2009
Contact: Audrey Williams  202-328-2748


D.C. Public Charter School Board Plans to Launch New Non-Profit Venture

Washington, D.C. — The D.C. Public Charter School Board (PCSB) plans to form a non-profit entity dedicated to research and development with a focus on charter school governance and best practices.  The new venture will officially launch early next year. 

“There is a need among some charter schools for help with financial management and effective governance.    This new entity will develop best practices and help make charter schools function better as business entities,” said Tom Nida, PCSB Chair.  “The Board has had an active research effort on a number of initiatives and we expect to continue to do research and development on emerging best practices and offer these services to charter schools and other authorizers nationally.”

Nida’s term on the PCSB expires in February, 2010, however, he plans to remain involved in the new entity.

The new venture also plans to offer the Board’s new performance management framework (PMF) as a model for evaluating charter school performance to other charter authorizers. The PMF facilitates the evaluation of charter school performance, based on common measures across all schools. These measures include absolute student achievement as well as student growth performance measures and indicators of readiness for high school and college. Nida said the new entity would also focus on being responsive to requests for research and development that’s uniquely targeted to charter school authorizers on the national level.

Former PCSB Board member Dora Marcus will be the chair of the new charter school research group.  “This is a unique time to begin the research and development arm.  This is the first year of the PMF and we will have documented successes and challenges that will allow the public to judge charter school quality much more clearly.   Charter school authorizers across the country want to hear about how we are evaluating charter schools,” Marcus said.  “We have been encouraged by overall response to us to get this new venture launched. So, we are looking at candidates who have governance, finance and academic research backgrounds to serve on this Board,” she said.

The non-profit organization expects to attract funding from foundations. “Some funders can only make grants to 501(c) 3 corporations and PCSB has missed out on grant opportunities because we are an independent government agency.  Attracting other funding resources will take some budget pressures off the PCSB as appropriated budgets become tighter,” said Nida.

The D.C. Public Charter School Board currently oversees 57 public charter schools on 99 campuses, serving approximately 28,000 students living in every ward of the city.  Public charter schools now serve 38 percent of all public school students in Washington, D.C.

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