Trump-fake-news-yellow-bg-950x108px.jpg

Public Charter School Authorizing and Accountability Act Exposed

From ALEC Exposed
Jump to: navigation, search

The Public Charter School Authorizing and Accountability Act was adopted by ALEC's Education and Workforce Development Task Force at the Annual Meeting on July 23, 2015, approved by the ALEC Board of Directors on September 4, 2015. (Accessed on 11/30/2015).

ALEC Bill Text

Summary

The purpose of this legislation is to establish the procedure for authorizing public charter schools by creating the State Public Charter School Commission while also creating an accountability mechanism to ensure the new charter schools meet standards.

Model Policy

Section 1. {Definitions}

(A) An “applicant” means any person, entity, or group that develops and submits an application for a public charter school to an authorizer.

(B) An “application” means a proposal from an applicant to an authorizer to enter into a charter contract whereby the proposed school obtains public charter school status.

(C) An “at-risk student” means a student who has an economic or academic disadvantage that requires special services or assistance to succeed in educational programs. The term includes, but is not necessarily limited to, students who are members of economically disadvantaged families, students who are identified as having special educational needs, students who are limited in English proficiency, students who are at risk of dropping out of high school, students who are under-credited, and students who do not meet minimum standards of academic proficiency.

(D) An “authorizer” means an entity authorized under this Act to review applications, decide whether to approve or reject applications, enter into charter contracts with applicants, oversee public charter schools, and decide whether to renew, not renew, or revoke charter contracts.

(E) A “charter contract” means a fixed-term, renewable contract between a public charter school and an authorizer that outlines the roles, powers, responsibilities, and performance expectations for each party to the contract.

(F) A “conversion public charter school” means a charter school that existed as a non-charter public school before becoming a public charter school.

(G) An “education service provider” means a for-profit education management organization, non- profit charter management organization, school design provider, or any other partner entity with which a public charter school intends to contract for educational design, implementation, or comprehensive management.

(H) A “governing board” means the independent board of a public charter school that is party to the charter contract with the authorizer and whose members have been elected or selected pursuant to the school’s application.

(I) A “local school board” means a school board exercising management and control of a local school district pursuant to the state constitution and state statutes.

(J) A “local school district” means a public agency that establishes and supervises one or more public schools within its geographical limits pursuant to the state constitution and state statutes.

(K) A “non-charter public school” means a public school that is under the direct management, governance, and control of a local school board or the state.

(L) A “parent” means a parent, guardian, or other person or entity having legal custody of a child.

(M) A “public charter school” means a public school that:

(1) Has autonomy over decisions including, but not limited to, matters concerning finance, personnel, scheduling, curriculum, and instruction;
(2) Is governed by an independent governing board;
(3) Is established and operating under the terms of a charter contract between the school’s board and its authorizer;
(4) Is a school to which parents choose to send their children;
(5) Is a school that admits students on the basis of a lottery if more students apply for admission to any specific grade or program than can be accommodated;
(6) Provides a program of education that includes one or more of the following: pre-school, pre-kindergarten, any grade or grades from kindergarten through 12th grade, and adult community, continuing, and vocational education programs;
(7) Operates in pursuit of a specific set of educational objectives as defined in its charter contract; and
(8) Operates under the oversight of its authorizer in accordance with its charter contract and application.

(N) A “start-up public charter school” means a public charter school that did not exist as a non- charter public school prior to becoming a public charter school.

(O) A “student” means any child who is eligible for attendance in public schools in the state.

(P) A “virtual public charter school” means a public charter school that offers educational services predominantly through an on-line program.

Section 2. {Authorizers}

(A) Eligible Authorizing Entities

(1) The state public charter school commission created under Section 2, (B) of this Act may authorize public charter schools anywhere in the state, provided that the commission fulfills requirements of all public charter school authorizers under this Act.
(2) If it intends to authorize public charter schools, a local school board shall register with the state department of education, pursuant to Section 2, (C) of this Act, for chartering authority within the boundaries of the school district overseen by the local school board.
(3) If it intends to authorize public charter schools, a governing board of an accredited public or private post-secondary institutions, including community colleges, technical colleges, tribal colleges, and four-year colleges and universities, shall register with the state department of education, pursuant to Section 2, (D) of this Act, for statewide, regional, or local chartering authority, in accordance with each institution’s regular operating jurisdiction.
(4) If it intends to authorize public charter schools, a mayor shall register with the state department of education, pursuant to Section 2, (D) of this Act, for chartering authority within the mayor’s jurisdiction.
(5) If it intends to authorize public charter schools, a city council shall register with the state department of education, pursuant to Section 2, (D) of this Act, for chartering authority within the city council’s jurisdiction.
(6) If it intends to authorize public charter schools, a governing board of a non-profit or charitable organization, which is exempt from federal taxes under sections 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code, shall register with the state department of education, pursuant to Section 2, (D) of this Act, and may be granted statewide, regional, or local chartering authority. Nonpublic sectarian or religious organizations, and any other charitable organization which in their federal IRS Form 1023, Part IV, describe activities indicating a religious purpose, are not eligible to apply to become an authorizer.
(7) A virtual public charter school that may enroll any student in the state may be authorized by any authorizing entity other than those under Section (A)(4) and (A)(5).

(B) State Public Charter School Commission

(1) This Act establishes a state public charter school commission (the “Commission”) as an independent state agency with statewide chartering jurisdiction and authority.
(2) The mission of the Commission shall be to expand the public school options available to all students and authorize high-quality public charter schools throughout the state, particularly schools designed to expand opportunities for at-risk students, consistent with the purposes of this Act.
(3) The Commission shall consist of nine members, no more than five of whom shall be members of the same political party. Three members shall be appointed by the Governor; two members shall be appointed by the President of the Senate and one member by the Senate Minority Leader; two members shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and one by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives. In making the appointments, the appointees shall ensure statewide geographic diversity among Commission members.
(4) Members appointed to the Commission shall collectively possess strong experience and expertise in public and nonprofit governance, management and finance, public school leadership, assessment, curriculum and instruction, and public education law. All members of the Commission shall have demonstrated understanding of and commitment to charter schooling as a strategy for strengthening public education by providing additional high-quality choices.
(5) To establish staggered terms of office, the first appointment of the Governor, the first appointment of the President of the Senate and the first appointment of the Speaker of the House shall serve an initial term of four years; the second appointment by the Governor and the first appointment of the Senate Minority Leader and the Minority Leader of the House shall serve an initial term of three years; all remaining appointments shall serve an initial term of two years. The initial appointments shall be made no later than 30 days after the effective date of this Act. Members may be reappointed, however no member shall be appointed to a new term after the member has served seven consecutive years.
(6) A member of the Commission may be removed for any cause that renders the member incapable or unfit to discharge the duties of the office. Whenever a vacancy on the Commission exists, the original appointing authority shall appoint a member for the remaining portion of the term.
(7) To commence operations, the Commission shall be funded initially by a one-time state appropriation of $250,000. The Commission is authorized to receive and expend gifts, grants, and donations of any kind from any public or private entity to carry out the purposes of this Act, subject to the terms and conditions under which they are given, provided that all such terms and conditions are permissible under law.
(8) The Commission shall operate with dedicated resources and staff qualified to execute the day-to-day responsibilities of public charter school authorizing in accordance with this Act.

(C) Chartering Authority Registration of Local School Boards

(1) The state shall publicize to all local school boards the opportunity to register with the state for chartering authority within the school districts they oversee. By [INSERT DATE] of each year, the state shall provide information about the opportunity, including a registration deadline, to all local school boards. To register as a charter authorizer in its school district, each interested local school board shall submit the following information in a format to be established by the state:
(a) Written notification of intent to serve as a charter authorizer in accordance with this Act;
(b) An explanation of the local school board’s strategic vision for chartering;
(c) An explanation of the local school board’s budget and personnel capacity and commitment to execute the duties of quality charter authorizing, in accordance with this Act;
(d) An explanation of how the local school board will solicit public charter school applicants, in accordance with this Act;
(e) A description or outline of the performance framework the local school board will use to guide the establishment of a charter contract and for ongoing oversight and evaluation of public charter schools, consistent with the requirements of this Act; and
(f) A draft of the local school board’s renewal, revocation, and non-renewal processes, consistent with Section 4, (C).
(g) A statement of assurance that the local school board commits to serving as a charter authorizer in fulfillment of the expectations, spirit, and intent of this Act, and will fully participate in any authorizer training provided or required by the state.
(2) Within [INSERT NUMBER OF DAYS] of receipt of a local school board’s duly submitted registration materials, the state shall register the local school board as a charter authorizer within the local board’s school district, and shall provide the local board a letter confirming its registration as a charter authorizer. No local school board shall engage in any charter- authorizing functions without current registration as a charter authorizer with the state. Once registered, the local school board’s registration as a charter authorizer shall continue from year to year, provided that the local school board fulfills all charter-authorizing duties and expectations set forth in this Act and remains an authorizer in good standing with the state.

(D) Chartering Authority Application for Eligible Entities

(1) The state shall publicize to all entities eligible for chartering authority as set forth in Section 2, (A) (3) to (6) of this Act the opportunity to register with the state for chartering authority. By [INSERT DATE] of each year, the state shall provide information about the opportunity, including a registration deadline, to all eligible entities concerning the opportunity to apply for chartering authority under this Act. The registration process shall require each interested eligible entity to submit the following information in a format to be established by the state:
(a) Written notification of intent to serve as a charter authorizer in accordance with this Act;
(b) The applicant entity’s strategic vision for chartering;
(c) A plan to support the vision presented, including explanation and evidence of the applicant entity’s budget and personnel capacity and commitment to execute the responsibilities of quality charter authorizing, in accordance with this Act;
(d) A draft or preliminary outline of the request for proposals that the applicant entity would issue to solicit public charter school applicants, consistent with Section 3, (A) of this Act;
(e) A draft of the performance framework that the applicant entity would use to guide the establishment of a charter contract and for ongoing oversight and evaluation of public charter schools, consistent with the requirements of this Act;
(f) A draft of the applicant entity’s renewal, revocation, and non-renewal processes, consistent with Section 4, (C) of this Act;
(g) A statement of assurance that the applicant entity seeks to serve as a charter authorizer in fulfillment of the expectations, spirit, and intent of this Act, and that the entity will fully participate in any authorizer training provided or required by the state; and
(h) A statement of assurance that the applicant will ensure public accountability and transparency in all matters concerning their charter-authorizing practices, decisions, and expenditures.
(2) Within [INSERT NUMBER OF DAYS] of receipt of an entity’s duly submitted registration materials, the state shall register the entity as a charter authorizer, and shall provide the entity a letter confirming its registration as a charter authorizer. No entity shall engage in any charter- authorizing functions without current registration as a charter authorizer with the state. Once registered, the entity’s registration as a charter authorizer shall continue from year to year, provided that the entity fulfills all charter-authorizing duties and expectations set forth in this Act and remains an authorizer in good standing with the state..

(E) Authorizer Powers, Duties, and Liabilities

(1) Authorizers are responsible for executing, in accordance with this Act, the following essential powers and duties:
(a) Soliciting and evaluating charter applications;
(b) Approving quality charter applications that meet identified educational needs and promote a diversity of educational choices;
(c) Declining to approve weak or inadequate charter applications;
(d) Negotiating and executing sound charter contracts with each approved public charter school;
(e) Monitoring, in accordance with charter contract terms, the performance and legal compliance of public charter schools; and
(f) Determining whether each charter contract merits renewal, non-renewal, or revocation.
(2) An authorizing entity may delegate its duties to offices, employees, and contractors, however, final decisions on approving, denying, terminating, or renewing any charters shall be made by the board or equivalent of the authorizing entity.
(3) Regulation by authorizers shall be limited to these powers and duties, and consistent with the spirit and intent of this Act.
(4) An authorizing entity, members of the board of an authorizer in their official capacity, and employees of an authorizer are immune from civil and criminal liability with respect to all activities related to a public charter school they authorize.

(F) Principles and Standards for Charter Authorizing

(1) All authorizers shall be required to develop and maintain chartering policies and practices consistent with the purposes of this Act.

(G) Authorizer Reporting

(1) Every authorizer shall be required to publish and maintain in a publicly available manner:
(a) The authorizer’s strategic vision for chartering and progress toward achieving that vision;
(b) The academic and financial performance of all operating public charter schools overseen by the authorizer, according to the performance expectations for public charter schools set forth in this Act;
(c) The status of the authorizer’s public charter school portfolio, identifying all public charter schools in each of the following categories: approved (but not yet open), operating, renewed, transferred, revoked, not renewed, voluntarily closed, or never opened;
(d) The authorizing functions provided by the authorizer to the public charter schools under its purview, including the authorizer’s operating costs and expenses detailed in annual audited financial statements that conform with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles; and
(e) The services purchased from the authorizer by the public charter schools under its purview, including an itemized accounting of the actual costs of these services, as required in Section 2, (K).

(H) Authorizer Funding

(1) To cover authorizer costs for overseeing public charter schools in accordance with this Act, the state shall remit to each authorizer an oversight fee for each public charter school it authorizes. The oversight fee shall be drawn from and calculated as a uniform percentage of the per-student operational funding allocated to each public charter school, not to exceed three percent of each public charter school’s per-student funding in a single school year. The state shall establish a statewide formula for authorizer funding, which shall apply uniformly to every authorizer in the state. The state legislature may establish a sliding scale for authorizer funding, with the funding percentage decreasing after the authorizer has achieved a certain threshold, such as after a certain number of years of authorizing or after a certain number of schools has been authorized.
(2) An authorizer’s oversight fee shall not include any costs incurred in delivering services that a public charter school may purchase at its discretion from the authorizer. The authorizer shall use its funding provided under this section exclusively for the purpose of fulfilling authorizing obligations in accordance with this Act.

(I) Conflicts of Interest

(1) No employee, trustee, agent, or representative of an authorizer may simultaneously serve as an employee, trustee, agent, representative, vendor, or contractor of a public charter school authorized by that entity.

(J) Exclusivity of Authorizing Functions and Rights

(1) No governmental or other entity, other than those expressly granted chartering authority as set forth in this Act, may assume any charter authorizing function or duty in any form, unless expressly allowed by law.

(K) Services Purchased from Authorizer – Itemized Accounting

(1) With the exception of oversight services as required by Section 2, (H), no public charter school shall be required to purchase services from its authorizer as a condition of charter approval or of executing a charter contract, nor may any such condition be implied.
(2) A public charter school may, at its discretion, choose to purchase services from its authorizer. In such event, the public charter school and authorizer shall execute an annual service contract, separate from the charter contract, stating the parties’ mutual agreement concerning any services to be provided by the authorizer and any service fees to be charged to the public charter school. An authorizer may not charge more than market rates for services provided to a public charter school.
(3) Within [INSERT NUMBER OF DAYS] after the end of each fiscal year, each authorizer shall provide to each public charter school it oversees an itemized accounting of the actual costs of services purchased by the public charter school from the authorizer. Any difference between the amount initially charged to the public charter school and the actual cost shall be reconciled and paid to the owed party. If either party disputes the itemized accounting, any charges included in such accounting, or charges to either party, the disputing party is entitled to request a third-party review at its own expense. The review shall be conducted by [INSERT APPROPRIATE STATE AUTHORITY] whose determination shall be final.

(L) Oversight of Public Charter School Authorizers

(1) In accordance with Section 2, (G), every authorizer shall be required to submit to the general assembly and the governor an annual report. The state department of education shall, by [INSERT DATE] of each year, communicate to every authorizer the requirements for the format, content, and submission of the annual report.
(2) If an authorizer’s portfolio of schools fails to meet the state’s minimum standard of performance of [INSERT STATE’S MINIMUM STANDARD OF PERFORMANCE], the ability of the authorizer to authorize new charter schools shall be immediately suspended, unless the authorizer demonstrates exceptional circumstances to the state board of education. In addition, the state board of education may set a reduction of authorizer fees collected from the schools it authorizes and return a proportionate share of that reduction to the schools in its portfolio. If an authorizer’s portfolio of schools meets or exceeds the state’s minimum standard of performance, the suspension shall be lifted and the state board of education may reestablish the prior fee level.

Section 3. {Application Process}

(A) Request for Applications

(1) To solicit, encourage, and guide the development of quality public charter school applications, every authorizer operating under this Act shall issue and broadly publicize an application process by [INSERT DATE]. The content and dissemination of the application process shall be consistent with the purposes and requirements of this Act.
(2) Charter applicants may submit a proposal for a separate and distinct public charter school to no more than one authorizer at a time.
(3) Each authorizer shall annually establish and disseminate a timeline for charter approval or denial decisions.
(4) Each authorizer’s application documents shall present the authorizer’s strategic vision for chartering.
(5) The application shall include, or otherwise direct, applicants to the performance framework that the authorizer has developed for public charter school oversight and evaluation in accordance with Section 4, (A) of this Act.
(6) The application shall include the criteria that will guide the authorizer’s decision to approve or deny a charter application.
(7) The application shall state clear, appropriately detailed questions as well as guidelines concerning the format and content essential for applicants to demonstrate the capacities necessary to establish and operate a successful public charter school.
(8) The application shall require charter applications to provide or describe thoroughly, and each charter application shall provide or describe thoroughly, all of the following essential elements of the proposed school plan:
(a) An executive summary;
(b) The mission and vision of the proposed public charter school, including identification of the targeted student population and the community the school hopes to serve;
(c) The location or geographic area proposed for the school;
(d) The grades to be served each year for the full term of the charter contract;
(e) Minimum, planned, and maximum enrollment per grade per year for the term of the charter contract;
(f) Evidence of need and community support for the proposed public charter school;
(g) Background information on the proposed founding governing board members and, if identified, the proposed school leadership and management team
(h) The school’s proposed calendar and sample daily schedule;
(i) A description of the academic program aligned with state standards;
(j) A description of the school’s instructional design, including the type of learning environment (such as classroom-based or independent study), class size and structure, curriculum overview, and teaching methods;
(k) The school’s plan for using internal and external assessments to measure and report student progress on the performance framework developed by the authorizer in accordance with Section 4, (A) of this Act;
(l) The school’s plans for identifying and successfully serving students with disabilities, students who are English language learners, students who are academically behind, and gifted students, including but not limited to compliance with applicable laws and regulations;
(m) A description of co-curricular or extracurricular programs and how they will be funded and delivered;
(n) Plans and timelines for student recruitment and enrollment, including lottery procedures;
(o) The school’s student discipline policies, including those for special education students;
(p) An organization chart that clearly presents the school’s organizational structure, including lines of authority and reporting between the governing board, staff, any related bodies (such as advisory bodies or parent and teacher councils), and any external organizations, including educational service providers, that will play a role in managing the school;
(q) A clear description of the roles and responsibilities for the governing board, the school’s leadership and management team, and any other entities shown in the organization chart;
(r) A staffing chart for the school’s first year, and a staffing plan for the term of the charter;
(s) Plans for recruiting and developing school leadership and staff, or the plans and accountability of the educational service provider in doing so if they are to fulfill this role;
(t) The school’s leadership and teacher employment policies, or the plans and accountability of the educational service provider in doing so if they are to fulfill this role, including performance evaluation plans;
(u) Proposed governing bylaws;
(v) Explanations of any partnerships or contractual relationships central to the school’s operations or mission;
(w) The school’s plans for providing transportation, food service, and all other significant operational or ancillary services, unless the school will be functioning as a virtual public charter school, and then only those services that are relevant;
(x) Opportunities and expectations for parent involvement;
(y) A detailed school start-up plan, identifying tasks, timelines and responsible individuals;
(z) Description of the school’s financial plan and policies, including financial controls and audit requirements;
(aa) A description of the insurance coverage the school will obtain;
(bb) Start-up and five-year budgets with clearly stated assumptions;
(cc) Start-up and first-year cash-flow projections with clearly stated assumptions;
(dd) Evidence of anticipated fundraising contributions, if claimed in the application; and,
(ee) A sound facilities plan, including backup or contingency plans if appropriate.
(9) In the case of an application to establish a public charter school by converting an existing non-charter public school to public charter school status, the application shall additionally require the applicants to demonstrate support for the proposed public charter school conversion by a petition signed by a majority of teachers and a petition signed by a majority of parents of students in the existing non-charter public school.
(10) In the case of an application to establish a virtual public charter school, the application shall additionally require the applicants to describe the proposed school’s system of course credits and how the school will:
(a) Monitor and verify full-time student enrollment, student participation in a full course load, credit accrual, and course completion;
(b) Monitor and verify student progress and performance in each course through regular, proctored assessments and submissions of coursework;
(c) Conduct parent-teacher conferences; and
(d) Administer state-required assessments to all students in a proctored setting.
(11) In the case of a proposed public charter school that intends to contract with an education service provider for substantial educational services, management services, or both types of services, the application shall additionally require the applicants to:
(a) Provide evidence of the education service provider’s success in serving student populations similar to the targeted population, including demonstrated academic achievement as well as successful management of non-academic school functions if applicable. However, providers with no past experience will not be required to provide this information;
(b) Provide a term sheet, setting forth the proposed duration of the service contract; roles and responsibilities of the governing board, the school staff, if any, and the service provider; scope of services and resources to be provided by the service provider; performance evaluation measures and timelines; compensation structure, including clear identification of all fees to be paid to the service provider; methods of contract oversight and enforcement; investment disclosure; and conditions for renewal and termination of the contract; and
(c) Disclose and explain any existing or potential conflicts of interest between the school governing board and proposed service provider or any affiliated business entities.
(11) In the case of a public charter school proposal from an applicant that currently operates one or more schools in any state or nation, the application shall additionally require the applicant to provide evidence of past performance and current capacity for growth.

(B) Application Decision-making Process

(1) In reviewing and evaluating charter applications, authorizers shall employ procedures, practices, and criteria consistent with the purposes of this Act. The application review process shall include thorough evaluation of each written charter application, an in-person interview with the applicant group, and an opportunity in a public forum for local residents to learn about and provide input on each application. The authority shall provide each applicant with its detailed analysis of the application, and grant the applicant a reasonable time to provide additional materials and amendments to its application to address any identified deficiencies.
(2) In deciding whether to approve charter applications, authorizers shall:
(a) Grant charters only to applicants that have demonstrated competence in each element of the authorizer’s published approval criteria and are likely to open and operate a successful public charter school;
(b) Base decisions on documented evidence collected through the application review process;
(c) Follow charter-granting policies and practices that are transparent, based on merit, and avoid conflicts of interest or any appearance thereof.
(3) No later than [INSERT NUMBER OF DAYS] after the filing of a charter application, the authorizer shall decide to approve or deny the charter application. The authorizer shall adopt by resolution all charter approval or denial decisions in an open meeting of the authorizer’s governing board.
(4) An approval decision may include, if appropriate, reasonable conditions that the charter applicant must meet before a charter contract may be executed pursuant to Section 3, (E) of this Act. However, such conditions may not include enrollment caps or operational requirements that in any manner contradict this Act.
(5) For any charter denial, the authorizer shall clearly state, for public record, its reasons for denial. A denied applicant may subsequently re-apply to that authorizer or apply to any other authorizer in the state.
(6) Within [INSERT NUMBER OF DAYS] of taking action to approve or deny a charter application, the authorizer shall report to the state department of education the action it has taken. The authorizer shall provide a copy of the report to the charter applicant at the same time that the report is submitted to the state department of education. The report shall include a copy of the authorizer governing board’s resolution setting forth the action taken and reasons for the decision and assurances as to compliance with all of the procedural requirements and application elements set forth in Section 3 of this Act.

(C) Purposes and Limitations of Charter Applications

(1) The purposes of the charter application are to present the proposed public charter school’s academic and operational vision and plans, demonstrate the applicant’s capacities to execute the proposed vision and plans, and provide the authorizer a clear basis for assessing the applicant’s plans and capacities. An approved charter application shall not serve as the school’s charter contract. However, an authorizer may not demand any contractual term that contradicts the approved charter application.

(D) Initial Charter Term

(1) An initial charter shall be granted for a term of five operating years. The charter term shall commence on the public charter school’s first day of operation. An approved public charter school may request a delay of its opening for one school year in order to plan and prepare for the school’s opening. If the school requires an opening delay of more than one school year, the school must request an extension from its authorizer. The authorizer may grant or deny the extension depending on the particular school’s circumstances.

(E) Charter Contracts

(1) Within [INSERT NUMBER OF DAYS] of approval of a charter application, the authorizer and the governing board of the approved public charter school shall execute a charter contract that clearly sets forth the academic and operational performance expectations and measures by which the public charter school will be judged and the administrative relationship between the authorizer and public charter school, including each party’s rights and duties. The performance expectations and measures set forth in the charter contract shall include but need not be limited to applicable federal and state accountability requirements. The performance provisions may be refined or amended by mutual agreement after the public charter school is operating and has collected baseline achievement data for its enrolled students.
(2) The charter contract for a virtual public charter school shall include description and agreement regarding the methods by which the school will:
(a) Monitor and verify full-time student enrollment, student participation in a full course load, credit accrual, and course completion;
(b) Monitor and verify student progress and performance in each course through regular, proctored assessments and submissions of coursework;
(c) Conduct parent-teacher conferences; and
(d) Administer state-required assessments to all students in a proctored setting.
(3) The charter contract shall be signed by the president of the authorizer’s governing board and the president of the public charter school’s governing body. Within [INSERT NUMBER OF DAYS] of executing a charter contract, the authorizer shall submit to the state department of education written notification of the charter contract execution, including a copy of the executed charter contract and any attachments.
(4) No public charter school may commence operations without a charter contract executed in accordance with this provision and approved in an open meeting of the authorizer’s governing board.

(F) Pre-Opening Requirements or Conditions

(1) Authorizers may establish reasonable pre-opening requirements or conditions to monitor the start-up progress of newly approved public charter schools and ensure that they are prepared to open smoothly on the date agreed, and to ensure that each school meets all building, health, safety, insurance, and other legal requirements for school opening. This section shall not be a basis for reevaluation on any issue other than pre-opening requirements and may only serve as a basis to prevent opening of the public charter school if a material element that would significantly impact the operation of the public charter school is present.

Section 4. {Accountability}

(A) Performance Framework

(1) The performance provisions within the charter contract shall be based on a performance framework that clearly sets forth the academic and operational performance indicators, measures and metrics that will guide the authorizer’s evaluations of each public charter school. The performance framework shall include indicators, measures and metrics for, at a minimum:
(a) Student academic proficiency;
(b) Student academic growth, including student academic growth compared to the student’s growth in any previous public school;
(c) Achievement gaps in both proficiency and growth between major student subgroups;
(d) Attendance;
(e) Recurrent enrollment from year to year;
(f) Post-secondary readiness (for high schools);
(g) Financial performance and sustainability; and
(h) Board performance and stewardship, including compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and terms of the charter contract.
(2) Annual performance targets shall be set by each public charter school in collaboration with its authorizer, and shall be designed to help each school meet applicable federal, state, and authorizer expectations.
(3) The performance framework shall allow the inclusion of additional rigorous, valid, and reliable indicators proposed by a public charter school to augment external evaluations of its performance, provided that the authorizer approves the quality and rigor of such school- proposed indicators, and they are consistent with the purposes of this Act.
(4) The performance framework shall require the dis-aggregation of all student performance data by major student subgroups (gender, race, poverty status, special education status, English Learner status, and gifted status).
(5) For each public charter school it oversees, the authorizer shall be responsible for collecting, analyzing, and reporting all data from state assessments in accordance with the performance framework.
(6) Multiple schools operating under a single charter contract or overseen by a single governing board shall be required to report their performance as separate, individual schools, and each school shall be held independently accountable for its performance.

(B) Ongoing Oversight and Corrective Actions

(1) An authorizer shall continually monitor the performance and legal compliance of the public charter schools it oversees, including collecting and analyzing data to support ongoing evaluation according to the charter contract. Every authorizer shall have the authority to conduct or require oversight activities that enable the authorizer to fulfill its responsibilities under this Act, including conducting appropriate inquiries and investigations, so long as those activities are consistent with the intent of this Act, adhere to the terms of the charter contract, and do not unduly inhibit the autonomy granted to public charter schools.
(2) Each authorizer shall annually publish and provide a performance report for each public charter school it oversees, in accordance with the performance framework set forth in the charter contract and Section 4, (G) of this Act. The authorizer may require each public charter school it oversees to submit an annual report to assist the authorizer in gathering complete information about each school, consistent with the performance framework.
(3) In the event that a public charter school’s performance or legal compliance is inconsistent with its charter contract, the authorizer shall promptly notify the public charter school of the perceived problem and provide reasonable opportunity for the school to remedy the problem, unless the problem warrants revocation, in which case the revocation time-frames will apply.
(4) Every authorizer shall have the authority to take appropriate corrective actions or exercise sanctions short of revocation in response to public charter school performance or legal compliance that is inconsistent with its charter contract. Such actions or sanctions may include, if warranted, requiring a school to develop and execute a corrective action plan within a specified timeframe.

(C) Renewals, Revocations, and Non-renewals

(1) A charter may be renewed for successive five-year terms of duration, although the authorizer may vary the term based on the performance, demonstrated capacities, and particular circumstances of each public charter school. An authorizer may grant renewal with specific conditions for necessary improvements to a public charter school, but may not impose conditions inconsistent with this Act.
(2) No later than [INSERT DATE], the authorizer shall issue a public charter school performance report and charter renewal application guidance to any public charter school whose charter will expire the following year. The performance report shall summarize the public charter school’s performance record to date, based on the data required by this Act and the charter contract, and shall provide notice of any weaknesses or concerns related to the public charter school that may jeopardize its position in seeking renewal if not timely rectified. The public charter school shall have [INSERT NUMBER OF DAYS] to respond to the performance report and submit any corrections or clarifications for the report.
(3) The renewal application guidance shall, at a minimum, provide an opportunity for the public charter school to:
(a) Present additional evidence, beyond the data contained in the performance report, supporting its case for charter renewal;
(b) Describe improvements undertaken or planned for the school; and
(c) Detail the school’s plans for the next charter term.
(4) The renewal application guidance shall include or refer explicitly to the criteria that will guide the authorizer’s renewal decisions, which shall be based on the performance framework set forth in the charter contract and consistent with this Act.
(5) No later than [INSERT DATE], the governing board of a public charter school seeking renewal shall submit a renewal application to the charter authorizer pursuant to the renewal application guidance issued by the authorizer. The authorizer shall rule by resolution on the renewal application no later than [INSERT NUMBER OF DAYS] after the filing of the renewal application.
(6) In making charter renewal decisions, every authorizer shall:
(a) Ground its decisions in evidence of the school’s performance over the term of the charter contract in accordance with the performance framework set forth in the charter contract;
(b) Ensure that data used in making renewal decisions are available to the school and the public; and
(c) Provide a public report summarizing the evidence basis for each decision.
(7) A charter contract may be revoked at any time or not renewed if the authorizer determines that the public charter school did any of the following or otherwise failed to comply with the provisions of this Act:
(a) Commits a material and substantial violation of any of the terms, conditions, standards, or procedures required under this Act or the charter contract, and has persistently failed to correct the violation after fair and specific notice from the authorizer;
(b) Fails to meet or make progress toward the performance expectations set forth in the charter contract;
(c) Fails to meet generally accepted standards of fiscal management, and has failed to correct the violation after fair and specific notice from the authorizer; or
(d) Substantially violates any material provision of law from which the public charter school was not exempted and has failed to correct the violation after fair and specific notice from the authorizer.
(e) In the case of a violation that threatens the health and safety of the students of any public charter school or if members of the public charter school committed a material violation of the law, the authorizer may take immediate action.
(8) An authorizer must develop revocation and non-renewal processes that:
(a) Provide the charter holders with a timely notification of the prospect of revocation or non-renewal and of the reasons for such possible closure;
(b) Allow the charter holders a reasonable amount of time in which to prepare a response;
(c) Provide the charter holders with an opportunity to submit documents and give testimony challenging the rationale for closure and in support of the continuation of the school at an orderly proceeding held for that purpose;
(d) Allow the charter holders access to representation by counsel and to call witnesses on their behalf;
(e) Permit the recording of such proceedings; and
(f) After a reasonable period for deliberation, require a final determination be made and conveyed in writing to the charter holders.
(9) If an authorizer revokes or does not renew a charter, the authorizer shall clearly state, in a resolution of its governing board, the reasons for the revocation or nonrenewal.
(10) Within [INSERT NUMBER OF DAYS] of taking action to renew, not renew, or revoke a charter, the authorizer shall report to the state department of education the action taken, and shall provide a copy of the report to the public charter school at the same time that the report is submitted to the state department of education. The report shall include a copy of the authorizer governing board’s resolution setting forth the action taken and reasons for the decision and assurances as to compliance with all of the requirements set forth in this Act.

(D) School Closure and Dissolution

(1) Prior to any public charter school closure decision, an authorizer shall have developed a public charter school closure protocol to ensure timely notification to parents, orderly transition of students and student records to new schools, and proper disposition of school funds, property, and assets in accordance with the requirements of this Act. The protocol shall specify tasks, timelines, and responsible parties, including delineating the respective duties of the school and the authorizer. In the event of a public charter school closure for any reason, the authorizer shall oversee and work with the closing school to ensure a smooth and orderly closure and transition for students and parents, as guided by the closure protocol.

(2) In the event of a public charter school closure for any reason, the assets of the school shall be distributed first to satisfy outstanding payroll obligations for employees of the school, then to creditors of the school, and then to the state treasury to the credit of the general revenue fund. If the assets of the school are insufficient to pay all parties to whom the school owes compensation, the prioritization of the distribution of assets may be determined by decree of a court of law.

(E) Charter Transfers

(1) Transfer of a charter contract, and of oversight of that public charter school, from one authorizer to another before the expiration of the charter term shall not be permitted except by special petition to the [INSERT APPROPRIATE STATE ENTITY DETERMINED BY THE LEGISLATURE] by a public charter school or its authorizer. The [INSERT APPROPRIATE STATE ENTITY DETERMINED BY THE LEGISLATURE]shall review such petitions on a case-by-case basis and may grant transfer requests in response to special circumstances and evidence that such a transfer would serve the best interests of the public charter school’s students.

(F) Annual Report

(1) On or before [INSERT DATE] of each year beginning in the first year after the state department of education will have had public charter schools operating for a full school year, the state department of education shall issue to the governor, the general assembly, and the public at large, an annual report on the state’s public charter schools, drawing from the annual reports publically available and any addition relevant data compiled by the state department of education. The annual report shall include a comparison of the performance of public charter school students with the performance of academically, ethnically, and economically comparable groups of students in non-charter public schools. In addition, the annual report shall include each authorizer’s assessment of the successes, challenges, and areas for improvement in meeting the purposes of this Act, including the authorizer’s assessment of the sufficiency of funding for public charter schools, the efficacy of the state formula for authorizer funding, and any suggested changes in state law or policy necessary to strengthen the state’s public charter schools.

Approved by ALEC’s Education and Workforce Development Task Force at the ALEC Annual Meeting on Thursday July 23, 2015.

Approved by ALEC Board of Directors on September 4, 2015.