How did the Global Village Academy get started?
GVA-Aurora was the first Global Village Academy and its founding was challenging. Assistance and support for GVA-Aurora’s startup included:
- Kirk Loadman-Copeland prepared and submitted the original GVA charter school application to Aurora Pubic School District on September 1, 2005. The application was rejected.
- In the spring of 2006, Attorney Bill Bethke successfully appealed to the State Board of Education, which over-turned the Aurora Public School’s rejection of the application.
- GVA-Aurora received a $20,000 Planning Grant and a $230,000 Walton Family Foundation, which were written by Loadman-Copeland.
- GVA-Aurora also received a three-year Colorado Dept. of Education Start-up and Implementation Grant totaling $562,500, which was written by Loadman-Copeland.
- Later, Christina Burton Howe organized charter schools in Aurora to insist that all charters be included in the District’s Mill Levy election. As a result, the successful 2012 Mill Levy Election continues to provide GVA-Aurora approximately $400,000 annually.
- Burton Howe and Loadman-Copeland also secured $8.3 million in bond financing from Hamlin Capital Management to purchase 11 acres and to build GVA-Aurora’s 32,000 sq. ft. west campus in August 2011.
In January 2009 a vote by the GVA-Aurora Board moved toward a greater vision that included:
- Burton Howe securing an $80,000 StarTalk Grant to train 20 Mandarin immersion teachers, with additional StarTalk grants being awarded for six consecutive years.
- Burton Howe applying for and receiving a $1.4 million, five-year Federal FLAP (Foreign Language Assistance Program) Grant in September 2009 for the Mandarin Program.
- Becoming part of the Asia Society and their Confucius classrooms, which resulted a series of annual grants to GVCC.
What is the Global Village Charter Collaborative and how did it get started?
GVCC is Colorado’s first charter collaborative, established under state statute C.R.S. § 22-30.5-602-605 permits its creation to "exercise administrative control or direction in providing or operating specified functions, services or facilities for participating charter schools," C.R.S. § 22-30.5-603(4)(a).
GVCC was created by the GVA-Aurora Board when it determined that replication of the unique language immersion model aligned with the school’s mission and vision and would create benefits for all member schools.
GVCC’s formation was initiated by the GVA-Aurora Board, approved by the GVA-Northglenn Board, and it identified GVCC's primary purpose “to seek to secure the benefits of certain economies of scale; to preserve consistency in pursuit of their common mission; assure reliable replication at GVA - Northglenn and any future campus of the educational program developed and implemented first at GVA - Aurora; and share valuable advances and innovations among Schools.”
The relationship among the GVA schools and GVCC is NOT that of a purchaser of contracted services, but rather one of shared resources and costs for the benefit of all GVA schools. This is similar to a school district administration that provides centralized services for its schools, based on needs of its individual schools. But within a school district, individual schools and their respective principals do NOT have separate budgets, a local site-based Board, or representatives on the District Board. GVCC member schools each have their own fully funded independent budgets AND have local Board representatives that serve on the GVCC Board.
The Collaborative, though a separate nonprofit organization, is also the sole corporate Member of each School and, as such, exercises certain reserved powers of each School. The initial agreement between the creators of GVCC, and subsequent "joinder" agreements for new GVA schools have been a core part of each charter application, and as such become part of the overall contract with each charter authorizer.
The structure of GVCC and its relationship with Global Village Academies has been transparent with each new school and with each new school’s authorizers.
Committed to a Mission and a Vision
GVCC is committed to the academic, organizational, and financial success of each and every Global Village Academy, and in supporting this success GVCC takes a long-term view.
While there are a number of constants in replicating GVAs, each school faces unique opportunities and challenges, especially during startup years. The major challenge consistently has been achieving the enrollment goal. To date, none of the four schools reached their enrollment goal in their first year. However, GVA-Parker, which is scheduled to open in August 2015, may begin to reverse this trend.
Expenditures from Global Village Academies to Global Village Charter Collaborative are for the services provided by GVCC to benefit the schools. They are neither transfers nor loans. Some of the direct benefit accrues to schools in the current year (e.g., provision of technology services), while other efforts by GVCC will directly benefit the schools in future years (e.g., implementation of software systems, refinements to the educational model, programs like the Induction program for New Teachers and the Alternative Licensure Program, implementation of a teacher evaluation system, etc.).
GVCC exists to benefit all Global Village Academies directly, and the funds for doing so are identified in each school’s budget and the GVCC budget. The respective budgets are approved by the GVA site Board and approved by the Board of GVCC, on which the site Board has representation. GVCC is not an outside vendor or contractor. GVCC and GVAN are each a part of the other.
How is relationship between Global Village Academy schools and the GVCC different from single, separate Colorado charter schools or School District schools?
There are many differences starting with the fact that Global Village Academies are replicated from a single, unique language immersion educational program. The table below illustrates differences between various public charter school models and school district schools. As shown, the GVCC is most similar to a school district, EXCEPT that the GVCC includes representatives from each individual school, whereas a school District does not have representatives for each school building.
How was GVA-Northglenn founded?
- GVA-Northglenn was approved unanimously by the Adams 12 Board of Education in 2012 because it was a replication of GVA-Aurora and because it had the institutional support of the Global Village Charter Collaborative. Adams 12, at the time, was not routinely approving all charter applications.
- Simply, without GVCC’s efforts, there is no assurance GVA-Northglenn would exist.
- Similarly, the Charter School Institute (CSI) approved the charter school applications for GVA-Ft. Collins and GVA-Colorado Springs in large measure because of the fact that they were both a part of GVCC, which had a leadership team in place with extensive charter school experience.
In working to start GVA-Northglenn, GVCC personnel:
- Pursued a charter application with Adams 12 based on the recommendation of Bill Bethke. Wrote the charter application that was submitted to Adams 12 Five Star School District.
- Secured a $30,000 planning grant from the Walton Family Foundation.
- Hired John Kaufman as a founding principal candidate. To prepare him for the assignment, he worked as an Assistant Principal for six months at GVA-Aurora (July to December 2010). While the CDE grant provided a salary for three months for a principal, GVCC assigned John three months before that so he could work on launching the school for a full six months (January 2011 to June 2011).
- Wrote an application for a three-year Colorado Charter Schools Program grant, which was awarded in the amount of $505,000.
- Wrote a Walton Family Foundation (WFF) start-up grant for $230,000, which was not awarded due to changes in the WFF mission.
- Worked with its real estate broker, Dustin Jones, to secure the 112th Street property. (It is important to note that this building was the only viable property available. If it had not been leased the school would not have opened.)
- Obtained a loan from the Charter School Development Corporation for $1,585,000 to renovate 45,000 sq. ft. of the building because the landlord did not provide any funds for tenant improvement. Contracted with Slaterpaull Architects and Faurot Construction to renovate phase one of the building.
- Negotiated the charter contract with Adams 12.
- Secured Star-Talk grants for professional development for immersion teachers of Mandarin ($125,000) and Russian $80,000) held in June-July 2011. This helped GVA-Northglenn recruit teachers having these language skills.
- Rented space from GVAN, providing it with income, and deferred payment of costs from GVAN to GVCC (absorbing a temporary loss), to help mitigate the effects of low initial enrollments.
In its first year of operation (2011-2012), GVA-Northglenn faced serious financial challenges, because the school missed its enrollment target. GVCC worked intensively with GVA-Northglenn throughout the year to minimize the impact of those financial challenges.
How were the Global Village Academies in Colorado Springs and Fort Collins Started?
- In February 2012 GVCC employed Terry Gogerty as Chief Development Officer to continue GVA replication efforts and he worked with Burton-Howe and local community leaders in Colorado Springs and Ft. Collins to file applications for new GVA schools. The initial application for Colorado Springs was filed with the D-11 School District and the Ft. Collins application was filed with the Colorado Charter School Institute (CSI).
- In December, 2012 the Ft. Collins application was approved and the Colorado Springs application was forwarded from D-11 to the CSI with a recommendation that CSI assume authorization and approve the GVA-Colorado Springs school. In March 2013 both schools were approved to open in the Fall of 2013.
- GVCC, working with Highmark School Development, successfully purchased the former Irving Middle School 17-acre campus and 110,000 s.f. facility from D-11.
- After months of searching for an adequate facility in Ft. Collins, the Highmark group identified a 100,000 s.f. building near the Prospect and I-25 intersection. After months of due diligence and development of plans for retro-fitting the facility, the plan was quashed when the Larimer County Planning and Zoning declared that new FEMA maps showed the facility was in a floodway and that a school could not be built at the location. (Later that year, Ft. Collins experienced a 500-year flood and none of the property or buildings in question flooded)
- With only three months before school was to open, an agreement was reached to rent space from the Dayspring Church, located on the boundary between Ft. Collins and Windsor. The school would not have open in the Fall of 2013 if it had not been for generosity of the Dayspring Church.
At the same time, GVCC also applied for and received:
In February 2014, GVCC was concerned that its deficit for the year may run as high as $105,772. Through thoughtful management, that number was reduced to $61,085 by the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2014.
The grants received in 2013-2014 were as follows:
- Colorado Charter Schools Grant (CCSP) for GVA-Ft. Collins for $196,000 ($596,000 for three years)
- Colorado Charter Schools Grant (CCSP) for GVA-Colorado Springs for $215,000 ($645,000 for three years) Asia Society Grant for $31,000
- StartTalk Grants for $35,550
As part of grant development, Christina Burton Howe, Terry Gogerty, and Kirk Loadman-Copeland met with the following foundations in July 2014: the Daniels Fund, the Donnell-Kay Foundation, the Rose Community Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, The Anschutz Foundation, and the Gates Family Foundation. In the spring and summer of 2015, the GVCC Executive Leadership Team will be developing a comprehensive grant writing program.
GVA-Colorado Springs and GVA-Ft. Collins faced unique challenges, and GVCC worked with their respective Boards and Administrators to help address the challenges.
Under its agreement with the new schools GVCC is obliged to support “budget development that shall enable Schools to meet all requirements of their charter contracts….” GVCC has a fiduciary responsibility for this to happen and such fiduciary responsibility is an expectation of each school’s authorizer. That said, the entities that bore the organizational and financial impact of the challenges in 2013-2014, were GVA-Colorado Spring, GVA-Ft. Collins, and, to a lesser extent, GVCC. GVA-Northglenn and GVA-Aurora were held harmless from these impacts.
To support these two schools:
GVCC waived $174,468 in fees and expenses from GVA-Colorado Springs and $89,294 in anticipated fees and expenses from GVA-Ft. Collins in 2013-2014 because the schools did not achieve enrollment goals, causing revenues to fall short of projections. The waived fees do not constitute a loan from GVCC to with of the schools, nor was it recorded as a receivable by GVCC or a payable from the schools. The waiver amount has been formally recognized by both local boards, not as a legal obligation, but rather as a moral commitment. This is analogous to the moral obligation program created by the Colorado legislature to support charter schools facility financing. The obligation is real, but it not legally enforceable. Thus, any term such as “loan” or “deferral” used to describe this waiver may be a common sense description would be inaccurate.
Upon any repayment, appropriate amounts will be booked and not treated as a receivable because it is not an enforceable obligation. GVCC met the needs of the two new schools and minimized the impact on member schools by:
Generating $303,277 in funds from sources in addition to fees per the following:
- $136,019 from Global Village International
- $109,931 from uniform sales, Encore program management & summer camp $ 57,327 from grants Cutting expenses dramatically and did not fill budgeted positions.
- Requiring furlough days for all GVCC staff (described below). Ending the year with a deficit of $61,085.
GVCC’s budget, adopted by the GVCC Board of Directors on January 29, 2015 projects a reserve for the end of the fiscal year to be $55,442.
Would it be more eqitable if GVCC charged individual schools an hourly rate for its services as they were provided?
This would be impractical and disregard the intent of the entire organization. GVCC is organizationally most similar to a school district and no school district, or even charter management organization, would ever do that. The suggestion that all expenses be documented with hourly billing promotes bureaucratic form over effective organizational culture. GVCC employees need to respond to day-to-day issues at multiple schools and often deal with issues that have implications for more than one school. Notably, State statutes rejects the use of hourly billing by the central District office staffs of charter authorizers to define the cost of services it provides charter schools. Statute prescribes a percentage fee based on shared costs for the entire district, including charter schools.
GVCC services costs are significantly below market prices for the same services from non-profit Charter Management Organizations or independent providers, and significantly below costs for the same services offered by Colorado school districts similar in size to GVCC.
Because it is a nonprofit organization, GVCC will rebate back to member schools (on a pro rata basis) any amounts that exceed its 7.8% reserve guidelines.
Is GVCC a public 501-c-3 non profit organization?
Yes. The entire GVAN-GVCC relationship was subject to IRS scrutiny twice --- once when GVAN applied for 501c3 status and once when GVCC applied for that status. In both cases, the IRS approved these applications. Notably, the IRS has denied 501c3 status to a number of multi-charter organizations around the country and is subjecting others to close scrutiny. The GVCC application, however, was routinely granted, in large part because the degree of interlocking governance makes GVCC a part of each school, and the school a constituent part of GVCC.
Where does the funding for public charter schools come from?
The funding of public schools in Colorado is done primarily by the state and minimally through local taxes. The percentage contribution to total PPR funding from local property taxes and local special taxes for the school districts for 2014-2015 is as follows:
- 18.3% for Adams 12 (authorizer for GVA-Northglenn)
- 17.2% for Aurora Public Schools (authorizer for GVA-Aurora)
- 0% for the Charter School Institute which authorizes GVA-Ft. Collins & GVA-Colorado Springs
While all PPR flows through the District, the constitutional (and ethical) principle of using local tax funds for local purposes is not even remotely endangered when less than 20% of the School’s funding is truly “local.” Further, Global Village Academies function as regional magnet schools. For example, 39% of students attending Global Village Academy-Northglenn in 2014-15 are from outside of the Adams 12 District.