SEA Webinar: Consultancy Call on Monitoring


Facilitator: Alex Medler,Senior Director, National Charter Schools Resource Center


  • David Frank, New York State Department of Education (NYSDE)

Description: This month, the National Charter School Resource Center (NCSRC) hosted conference calls as part of our technical assistance to State Educational Agency (SEA) Grant administrators (i.e., project directors and/or direct support staff). These conference calls differ from the regular webinar series hosted by the NCSRC. They were facilitated conference calls, designed as “consultancies.” Each call allowed peer-to-peer problem solving of a concrete challenge that was presented by a colleague. The topics were selected based on input from CSP staff to be relevant to many states. The first call addressed allowable expenses for subgrants, and can be found here.

The second call addressed monitoring. David Frank, from the New York State Department of Education (NYSDE), shared his questions and challenges. There are 306 charter schools in New York State serving approximately 200,000 students from Buffalo to New York City. There are four authorizers in New York State, and NYSDE administers the CSP grant. There is limited human capital allocated to engage in risk monitoring and oversight for CSP grant recipients. Although there are more charter schools than in Washington, New York's CSP program staff want to make the best use of their time and funds to support the work of new charter schools.

NYSED has undertaken a few projects to quickly look at fiscal risk, including an audit guide and a fiscal dashboard. With $21 million left to allocate in CSP funds, NYSED is looking to gauge fiscal risk but also set expectations to new charter schools regarding strong fiscal policies and procedures. As NYSED staff is limited and the state is large, they would like to balance a mix of in-person monitoring and support with desk audits and webinars. David posed the question during this consultancy, "Where would the best place to invest limited resources be?"

In this interactive webinar, participants responded to the challenge, probed and asked clarifying questions, and offered their own insights and reflections based on experiences from their states. While not a formal webinar, this recording is intended to be a resource for others that establish new CSP programs in the future and face similar challenges.