On October 7, 2015, there has been discussion in the media about an offer of mediation between the Reading School District and I-LEAD Charter School to be facilitated by the Berks County Community Foundation. However, mediation including community partners is not part of the mandated legal process outlined in the Charter School Law when revocation proceedings have commenced or begun.
The revocation proceedings must follow the procedure required under the Charter School Law. This includes the holding of a public hearing where evidence in support of the charges are presented and the charter school is permitted to provide evidence in its defense. Also, the public will be permitted to provide comments as part of that process for consideration by the School Board.
The Reading School District started legal revocation proceedings against I-LEAD Charter School on September 23, 2015 through the issuance of a statement of charges forming the basis of revocation.
Those charges include substantial academic performance problems at I-LEAD, which indicate that I-LEAD is not meeting the promises made in its Charter and not meeting standards established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. For example, out of 2,979 schools in Pennsylvania in the 2013-14 school year that received a School Performance Profile Score or SPP, I-LEAD’s score was the 12th lowest score in the state.
In addition, the statement of charges includes:
I-LEAD is failing to progress towards meeting the academic and non-academic performance goals and standards set forth in its written charter, specifically those having to do with academic performance, attendance and graduation.
I-LEAD’s cohort graduation rate for the 2013-14 school year was 27.1 percent in comparison to Reading High School’s cohort graduation rate of 66.64 percent.
In violation of the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act, statements of financial interest filed by I-LEAD board members do not disclose their relationships and/or income received from I-LEAD Inc.