By JOSH COTTON
What else is in it?
As a continuation of yesterday's piece in the Times Observer that looked at the CSOI's mission and goals, curriculum, and capital improvement projects for the proposed Eisenhower Charter School, the following are some highlights of the application in the areas of staffing, finance, and needs assessment - a compontent of the application that attempts to answer the question "Why is the Eisenhower Charter School needed?"
To get started, the CSOI is looking to secure $500,000 in bridge financing until payments from the Warren County School District could be received if the charter is approved and the school opens. One potential option for this financing is a loan through the County Commissioners, which Commissioner John Bortz has already supported in a letter contained in the application. Also in the application is a letter from thte President and CEO of Northwest Savings Bank William Wagner, saying the bank would consider a request for financing based on the CSOI's ability to display the "economic viability of your organization."
In the application, the CSOI projects a total cash balance after the 2012-13 school year of $582,127. At a projection of 525 students in grade 6-12, the charter budget lists an expected payment from the school district of $443,614 per month based on the amount of $9,203 for each regular education student and $19,215.47 for each special education student per year. After year two, the projected total cash balance jumps to $1,395,255. The jump is the result of savings, the absense of some initial expenditures in the first year of operation, as well as projected increased student enrollment from 525 students to 535.
For clarity, the application story in Tuesday's Times Observer reported that the "Haner Site" was being sold to the CSOI for one dollar. Instead of the transaction totaling one dollar, the down payment is one dollar with each of the one hundred acres to be sold seperately at the cost of one dollar.
The CSOI application details the need for 69 positions at the Eisenhower Charter School. Of those 69, the 2012 projected budget calls for 32 teachers at an average salary of $40,000, four special education teachers at approximately $45,000 each, and seven teaching assistants in the range of $30,000 each among others. The CEO/principal is projected to make approximately $90,000.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the average teacher salary in the Warren County School District for the 2009-2010 school year was $46,800.
All charter applications have a "needs assessment" compotent that attempts to answer the question: "Why is there a need for this type of school?" The CSOI application explains that "generations of families became knit together from these communities through relationships established at the school." When Eisenhower originally merged with the WCSD, "Prior to the merger with the WCSD, the faculty of the school had developed innovative programs" and with the merger, including the district's attempt to standardize the cummiculum throughout the district, "Eisenhower has never been able to develop programming that is customized to meet the needs and aspirations of the students."
The application also states in this area that "the district has made very little investment in the facility in 40 years" and that "since 1988 the WCSD and citizen groups from other parts of the county have repeatedly promoted plans to close the school and split the student population between other district schools."
The application also states that "the Founders, parents, elected officials, business owners, and community members are united in their belief that it is vitally important to keep a middle/senior high school in the Eisenhower attendance area and that the proposed charter school is the only viable option for doing so...The great academic tradition and positive school culture that has developed over many decades will be difficult to replicate if the students and supproting communities are split by loss of a public school in the northern attendance area. This is a gamble with the lives of the children that our community is not willing to take."
Further, the CSOI states in the application that "In short, the advent of the Eisenhower charter school offers something that the entire community has lacked for decades - stability for families and investment in our students and communities."