AN ACT TO REMOVE THE CAP ON CHARTER SCHOOLS; TO ALLOW STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION DISCRETION IN GRANTING FINAL APPROVAL OF CHARTER SCHOOL APPLICATIONS; TO RAISE THE ENROLLMENT GROWTH CAP TO TWENTY PERCENT; TO PERMIT CHARTER SCHOOLS TO CHARGE FEES CHARGED BY THE LOCAL SCHOOL ADMINISTRATIVE UNIT; TO STRENGTHEN THE STANDARDS FOR RETAINING A CHARTER FOR A CHARTER SCHOOL; AND TO REQUIRE THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION TO REPORT TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON CHARTER SCHOOLS. Summarized in Daily Bulletin 1/27/11, 2/16/11, 2/22/11, 2/23/11, 3/16/11, 4/8/11, and 6/9/11. Enacted June 17, 2011. Effective July 1, 2011.
Summary date: Jun 18 2011 - View summary
Summary date: Jun 9 2011 - View summary
Conference report recommends the following changes to 6th edition to reconcile matters in controversy.
Deletes the provisions of the 6th edition and replaces it with AN ACT TO REMOVE THE CAP ON CHARTER SCHOOLS; TO ALLOW STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION DISCRETION IN GRANTING FINAL APPROVAL OF CHARTER SCHOOL APPLICATIONS; TO RAISE THE ENROLLMENT GROWTH CAP TO TWENTY PERCENT; TO PERMIT CHARTER SCHOOLS TO CHARGE FEES CHARGED BY THE LOCAL SCHOOL ADMINISTRATIVE UNIT; TO STRENGTHEN THE STANDARDS FOR RETAINING A CHARTER FOR A CHARTER SCHOOL; AND TO REQUIRE THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION TO REPORT TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON CHARTER SCHOOLS.
Amends GS 115C-238.29D(a) to provide that the State Board of Education (SBE) may (was, shall) grant final approval of a charter school application if it finds that the application meets the specified requirements and achieves one or more of the purposes set out in GS 115C-238.29A.
Repeals GS 115C-238.29D(b), which effectively removes the cap on the number of charter schools allowed per local school administrative unit (LEA) and the total allowed statewide. Makes a conforming change to GS 115C-105.37B(a)(2).
Amends GS 115C-238.29D(d) to increase the enrollment growth cap for a charter school to 20% (was, 10%). Provides that the SBE may approve additional enrollment growth of greater than 20% (was, 10%) based on specified findings.
Amends GS 115C-238.29F(b) to make an exception that allows a charter school to charge any fees that are charged by the LEA in which the charter school is located.
Amends GS 115C-238.29G by adding a new subsection (a1) to direct the SBE (1) to adopt criteria for adequate performance by a charter school and (2) to identify charter schools with inadequate performance. Provides that the criteria include a requirement that a charter school that shows no growth in student performance and has annual performance composites below 60% for any two years out of a three-year period be identified as inadequate. Requires that a charter school deemed inadequate during its first five years of the charter develop a strategic plan to meet specific goals for student performance to be reviewed and approved by the SBE. Authorizes the SBE to terminate or not renew a charter for failure to show improvement under the strategic plan. Also authorizes the SBE to terminate or not renew a charter if the charter school has been identified as inadequate and has had a charter for more than five years.
Includes reporting requirements for the SBE, specifying submission of a preliminary report on the implementation of this act by May 10, 2012, and a final report by June 11, 2012.
Effective July 1, 2011.
Summary date: Apr 8 2011 - View summary
House committee substitute makes the following changes to 5th edition.
Deletes the authority of the North Carolina Public Charter Schools Commission (created in this act) to exercise its powers and functions independently of the State Board of Education (SBE) and the Department of Public Instruction (DPI). Amends the purpose of the North Carolina Public Charter Schools Commission (Commission) to provide that the Commission is to oversee (was, authorize and oversee) high-quality public charter schools and to recommend the approval of charter applicants to the State Board of Education (was, Commission had the authority for approval of any charter applicant).
Makes conforming changes throughout regarding the powers and duties of the Commission, providing that the Commission is to make recommendations to the SBE regarding final approval of charter applications, policies affecting all aspects of charter school operation, and any actions involving a charter school including renewals, non-renewals, and revocation of charters. Adds language throughout to provide that the Commission is to act with the approval of the SBE.
Directs the Commission to submit recommendations as designated proposals to the SBE. Requires the SBE to adopt or reject a designated proposal within 95 days and provides that if the SBE does not act on a designated proposal within 95 days, the proposal is deemed to be adopted. Directs the SBE not to make any substantive changes to any designated proposal of the Commission that the SBE adopts. Requires the SBE to state with specificity its reasons for rejecting a designated proposal. Provides that the Commission may amend and resubmit a rejected designated proposal to the SBE. Prohibits the SBE from acting in an arbitrary and capricious manner in withholding approval of a designated proposal resubmitted by the Commission. Makes the SBE’s rejection of a resubmitted designated proposal subject to judicial review. Deletes provision granting the SBE the authority to veto any decision of the Commission by a two-thirds vote.
Requires that an applicant for a charter school include in its plans (1) a transportation plan for transporting any student enrolled in the charter residing within three miles of the charter school and residing in a household with income below 185% of the federal poverty level (was, transportation plan was optional); and (2) a plan for providing food services for any student enrolled in the charter school residing in a household with an income below 185% of the federal poverty level (was, directed the charter school to develop a plan for food services which ensured that lack of food services would not be a barrier for any student enrolled in the school residing in a household with an income 185% of the federal poverty level).
Authorizes the SBE (was, the Commission) to grant final approval of a charter school application upon the recommendation of the Commission. Makes conforming changes consistent with shifting the authority for final approval of a charter school application to the SBE.
Amends the academic and operational performance standards required to be set by the charter school to provide the standards are to include achievement gaps among student subgroups identified by DPI for all public schools (was, achievement gaps between student subgroups identified by federal law). Adds a standard for postsecondary readiness and success for high schools.
Deletes language that provided that a teacher employed by a charter school who returns to employment with a local school administrative unit (LEA) without a break in service is to have unused annual leave reinstated.
Requires charter schools approved after July 1, 2011, to provide transportation for students living within three miles of school in a household with an income 185% of the federal poverty level (was, directed charter schools to make efforts to develop a transportation plan). Requires charter schools approved after July 1, 2011 to provide food services for any student enrolled in the school residing in a household with an income 185% of the federal poverty level (was, directed the carter school to develop a plan for food services).
Provides for the distribution of assets, other than real property, upon the dissolution of a charter school or upon the nonrenewal of the charter, as follows: (1) directs that state funds used to purchase or improve real property (was, purchase) be remitted back to the State after all liens on the property are satisfied; (2) directs that a pro rata share of the county funds used to purchase or improve real property (was, purchase) be remitted back to the county from which the funds originated (was, county) after all liens on the property are satisfied.
Requires that if a student attends a charter school, the LEA in which the student resides must transfer an amount to the charter school equal to the per pupil share of the local current expense fund as defined by GS 115C-426 and provides that the amount transferred that consists of revenue derived from supplemental taxes is to be transferred to a charter school only if the student resides in the tax district for which the supplemental taxes are levied. Amends the fifth edition to provide that the charter school the student is attending must be located in that same county as the supplemental tax district.
Provides that if a county chooses to appropriate funds to the nonprofit tax-exempt corporations that holds the charters of its charter schools, the funds must be distributed equitably and apportioned according to the average daily membership of each charter school that has requested funds and used only for purposes identified in GS 115C-426(f). Provides that charter schools that receive fund allocations from their county government may use the funds to pay for school construction projects or to retire indebtedness for school construction projects incurred on or after January 1, 2010 (was, July 1, 2011).
Makes a conforming change deleting changes to GS 135-5.3 and GS 135-45.5 that authorized approval from the Commission with regards to the optional participation of charter schools operated by nonprofit corporations in the state retirement system and state health plan. Makes technical changes involving the renumbering of sections.
Summary date: Mar 16 2011 - View summary
House committee substitute makes the following changes to 4th edition.
Increases the membership of the Public Charter Schools Commission (Commission) to 13 members (was, 11) with two additional appointments by the Governor. Clarifies that the Commission is subject to the Public Records and Open Meetings laws. Authorizes the State Board of Education to veto any decision of the Commission by a two-thirds vote (was, three-fourths).
Provides that a charter school application indicate the number of students to be served and sets the minimum number at 50; however, permits a charter school to serve fewer than 50 students if the application presents a compelling reason for doing so. Requires that a school seeking a charter from the Commission make efforts to ensure that transportation is not a barrier to attendance for any student who resides within three miles of the charter school in a household with an income below 185% of the federally defined poverty level. Requires that the application include the school’s plan for providing food services. Directs the school to develop a plan for food services which ensures that lack of food services is not a barrier for any student enrolled in the charter school who resides in a household with an income below 185% of the federally defined poverty level. Requires that for charters granted after July 1, 2011, (1) that efforts are made to develop transportation plans for students residing in a household within three miles of the school in which the household income is below 185% of the federal poverty level and (2) that plans are developed for food service for enrolled students residing in a household with a household income below 185% of the federal poverty level.
Provides that up to 50 new charters may be granted each calendar year, not including renewals of existing charters.
Requires that the charter set out measurable academic and operational performance standards that the charter school must meet to earn charter renewal, including the type of objective and verifiable data the Commission will review to evaluate the charter school’s performance. Specifies standards to be included.
Provides that enrollment growth up to 20% of current enrollment (was, 10%) is not a material revision of a charter application and does not require the prior approval of the Commission. Enrollment growth greater than 20% requires the approval of the Commission based on the specified factors.
Permits a charter school to charge any fees that are charged by the local school administrative unit (LEA) in which the charter school is located. Prohibits charter schools from employing a teacher whose certification has been revoked by the State Board of Education (SBE). Provides that a charter school may give enrollment priority to the children of other full time employees in addition to the children of the charter school’s teachers and teacher assistants and the charter school principal.
Requires state and county funds used to purchase real property to be remitted back to the source of the funds, after all liens on the property are satisfied, upon dissolution of the charter school or nonrenewal of the charter.
Directs the Commission to develop criteria for identifying adequate performance by a charter school and to identify charter schools with inadequate performance. Requires that charter schools identified with inadequate performance must develop school improvement plans approved by the Commission and that failure to demonstrate improvement under the plan is cause for termination or nonrenewal.
Clarifies that if a student attends a charter school, then the LEA in which the student resides is to transfer the per pupil share of the local current expense fund, as defined in GS 115C-426, to the charter school that the student attends. Provides that the amount transferred is not to include special funds of individual schools established under GS 115C-448. Makes a conforming change to GS 115C-448. Permits state funds and county funds provided to charter schools to be used for any purpose identified under the capital outlay fund (GS 115C-426(f)).
Amends GS 115C-426 to eliminate the use of other funds to account for sales tax revenues distributed using the ad valorem method and sales tax refund and eliminates the exclusion of interest income from the local current expense appropriation. Effective when the act becomes law.
Requires the Department of Public Instruction to report annually by October 15, beginning in 2012, on charter school programs and policies that could improve the public schools to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, and to send that report to local boards of education.
Changes the date for appointments to the Commission to be made by August 1, 2011 (was, by October 1, 2011). Except as otherwise indicated, effective July 1, 2011.
Summary date: Feb 23 2011 - View summary
Senate amendments make the following changes to 3rd edition. Amendment #2 clarifies that the North Carolina Public Charter Schools Commission (Commission) is located administratively under the State Board of Education (Board) but that the Commission exercises its powers and functions independently of the Board and the Department of Public Instruction.
Amendment #5 adds to the items that must be included in the Commission’s annual report to require inclusion of composite annual data disaggregated by charter school on the gender, race and ethnicity and disability status of students enrolled in charter schools; testing data disaggregated by the purpose of the charter school and by gender, race and ethnicity, and disability; the number of students long-term suspended and expelled; the number of students receiving a free and reduced meal plan through a federal subsidy program or through means other than a federal subsidy program; and the number of students receiving special education services.
Summary date: Feb 22 2011 - View summary
Senate amendment makes the following changes to 2nd edition. Deletes proposed changes to GS 105-278.4 (real and personal property used for educational purposes) that added charter schools to the educational entities whose buildings and land are designated as exempt from taxation under specified requirements. Renumbers the remaining sections accordingly. Makes additional conforming changes.
Summary date: Feb 16 2011 - View summary
Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to 1st edition. Changes the title to: AN ACT TO INCREASE EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE CHILDREN OF NORTH CAROLINA BY REMOVING THE CAP ON CHARTER SCHOOLS; AND BY CREATING A NEW PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOLS COMMISSION TO APPROVE AND MONITOR CHARTER SCHOOLS; AND BY STRENGTHENING THE STANDARDS FOR GRANTING AND RETAINING A CHARTER FOR A CHARTER SCHOOL; AND BY AUTHORIZING LOCAL BOARDS OF EDUCATION TO CONVERT SCHOOLS TO CHARTER SCHOOLS WITHOUT FORMING A NONPROFIT CORPORATION; AND BY CLARIFYING THE FUNDING FORMULA FOR CHARTER SCHOOLS; AND BY PROVIDING THAT COUNTIES MAY PROVIDE FUNDING FOR CHARTER SCHOOLS IN THEIR JURISDICTIONS; AND TO MAKE OTHER CHANGES TO THE STATUTES GOVERNING CHARTER SCHOOLS.
Makes the following changes to Part 6A (Charter Schools) of GS Chapter 115C, Article 16.
Expands the purposes for establishing charter schools to include encouraging the replication of successful charter schools. Also amends a current purpose to include creating new professional opportunities for administrators.
Charter Schools Commission. Establishes the North Carolina Public Charter School Commission (Commission) to authorize and oversee the public charter schools in North Carolina. The duties and powers of the Commission include: (1) to oversee the application process for charter schools and to make final approval of charter applications (under current law, final approval of charter applications is decided by the State Board of Education); (2) to take any action regarding a charter school, including renewal, nonrenewal, or revocation of charters; (3) to monitor the operation of charter schools with assistance from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI); (4) to adopt policies regarding all aspects of the operation of charter schools; and (5) to provide technical assistance to charter schools approved under Part 6A. Also authorizes the Commission to undertake any duties and responsibilities consistent with the specified powers and duties. Provides that the State Board of Education, by a three-fourths vote, may veto any decision of the Commission.
Provides that the Commission is to have 11 members including the Superintendent of Public Instruction or the Superintendent’s designee, two members appointed by the Governor, and eight members appointed by the General Assembly. Provides additional guidelines as to the representational criteria for the appointed members. Also includes prerequisites regarding qualifications of members. Sets terms of office for appointed members and the process for selection of officers. Requires that appointments be made by October 1, 2011.
Eligibility and applications. Exempts local school boards from the requirement under current law that a public school seeking to convert to a charter school must include with its charter application (1) a statement signed by a majority of teachers and instructional support personnel employed at the public school indicating their support for the conversion to a charter school and (2) evidence that parents of enrolled children support the conversion.
Modifies the content of the charter application to require that it include a proposed budget for, at minimum, five years of operation, information as to targeted populations and community, instructional design of the proposed charter school, plans for identifying and successfully serving the needs of a diverse student population, and evidence of community support for the charter. Requires that information on the governance structure of the school include proposed governing bylaws and biographical information on the proposed members of the board of directors. Additionally requires that the application include a chart that clearly presents the school’s organizational structure, any plans the school may have for providing transportation or food services, explanations of partnerships or contractual relationships central to the school’s operation or mission and a detailed school start-up plan.
Provides that a local board of education wishing to convert a public school to a charter school is not required to form a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation in order to do so if the local board of education serves as the board of directors at the proposed charter school.
Removes requirements that specify a minimum number of teachers to be employed and students to be served. Requires that the application indicate the number of students to be served and the minimum number of teachers to be employed.
Directs the applicant to submit the application to the Commission (current law requires submitting applications to a chartering entity). Additionally requires the applicant to submit a copy of the application to the local board of education of the school system where the charter school will be located within seven days of submission of the application to the Commission. Allows the local board of education to submit any information or comment on the application to the Commission within a time frame set by the Commission.
Requires the Commission to determine the schedule and deadlines for the submission of charter school applications. Requires the Commission to establish a uniform process for application review. Requires that a rejected applicant be provided with an opportunity to request reconsideration of the Commission’s decision; however, provides that the Commission is not required to reconsider an application that does not include any additional information that was not previously presented by the applicant to the Commission. Exempts a decision by the Commission to not approve an application from review under GS Chapter 150B. Provides that only the Commission may make material revisions to the provisions of a charter application. Prohibits the Commission from restricting the number of students that a charter school may enroll. Directs the board of directors to annually determine the capacity of the charter school in conjunction with the Commission.
General requirements. Requires the Commission to adopt rules to establish types of liability insurance it requires that the board of directors maintain. Adds the Commission to the entities to whom no civil liability attaches, individually or collectively, for any acts or omissions of charter schools. Requires a charter school to conduct the student assessments required for charter schools by the Commission (current law requires charter schools to conduct student assessments as required by the State Board of Education).
Provides criteria to clarify the status of employees of charter schools for purposes of the salary schedule, longevity pay, and rate of earned leave. Also addresses the status of employees who leave employment at a charter school to return to a local school administrative unit. Makes an exception to classify employees of charter schools created by a local board that serves as board of directors for that charter school, as employees of the local school administrative unit where the charter school is located.
Admission requirements. Permits a charter school that cannot enroll sufficient students who live in North Carolina to enroll students who are not domiciled in this state and charge those students tuition equal to the amount of the per pupil allocation of the county where the charter school is located and the amount of the state per pupil appropriation for that school year. Limits the number of students who are not domiciled in the state to no more than 10% of the total number of students enrolled in the charter school.
Provides that a public school that converts to a charter school is to adopt a policy that gives enrollment preference to students who live within the former attendance area of the public school for at least the first two years that the charter school operates.
Clarifies that none of the statutory admission requirements prohibit the formation of a charter school to serve special populations. Also clarifies that charter schools are not required to provide transportation for students.
State and local funds for a charter school. Permits the use of state funds to acquire equipment, real property, buildings, and mobile classrooms for school facilities and to enter into operational and financing leases for equipment. Provides that a per-pupil local current expense appropriation that consists of revenue derived from supplemental taxes would be transferred to a charter school for students residing within the tax district for which the taxes are levied. Requires local school administrative units (LEAs) to provide an accounting of the local current expense fund to be transferred to charter schools within 15 days of the appropriation. Assesses a penalty on LEAs for failing to comply with the deadlines. Provides that counties may appropriate funds to charter schools for specified purposes that include acquisition of real property, facilities, and furnishings for school purposes.
Requires the State Board of Education to direct DPI to provide guidance and technical assistance on request to existing charter schools as well as applicants or potential applicants for charters.
Repeals GS 115C-238.29I (notice of the charter school process; review of charter schools; Charter School Advisory Committee) to make conforming changes. Makes additional conforming changes and technical corrections to Part 6A of GS Chapter 115C, Article 16.
Uniform budget format. Current law requires LEAs to have the State Public School Fund, the local current expense fund, and the capital outlay fund. Also authorizes LEAs to have other funds to be used for such purposes as reimbursements, tuition, and sales tax refunds. Amends GS 115C-426 to prohibit the use of other funds except if such use is necessary to comply with donor requirements and restricted federal grants and would remove special programs as a use of other funds. Effective when the act becomes law.
Lottery funds. Amends GS 115C-546.2 to permit counties to allocate a portion of the lottery funds for school construction to charter schools. Permits charter schools to use the funds to pay for school construction projects or retire debt incurred after July 1, 2011.
Amends GS 105-278.4 to provide tax exemptions for certain real property used wholly and exclusively by a charter school, whether or not the charter school is the owner.
Amends GS 114-19.2 to authorize the Department of Justice to conduct criminal history checks of charter school employees or persons who have applied for employment at a charter school, providing that the employee or applicant consents to the record check. Provides that any information collected in the criminal background check is to be kept confidential by the Commission.
Enacts GS 153A-457 to authorize counties to appropriate funds for capital needs for charter schools and to lease real property to charter schools. Amends GS 153A-149(c) to authorize counties to levy property taxes for the capital funding authorized in GS 153A-457 as amended.
Under current law, Section 7.17(b) of SL 2010-31 (the Appropriations Act of 2010) provided that LEAs that had not fully complied with local requirements for funding charter schools and who are subject to a judgment, court order or settlement agreement were permitted to make payments over three years. Repeals Section 7.17(b) of SL 2010-31 and Section 3.2 of SL 2010-123 (Budget Technical Corrections), which referenced Section 7.17(b) and instead requires that LEAs amend their 2010-11 budget resolutions to comply with GS 115C-426 (uniform budget format) as amended in this act. Provides that if an LEA does not amend its budget resolution for the 2010-11 fiscal year or in future years, it will be deemed to have made the amendments for purposes of compliance with GS 115C-238.29H(b) as amended by this act. Effective when the act becomes law.
Requires the State Board of Education to repeal all adopted policies that are inconsistent with this act. Requires the Commission to report annually to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on its strategic vision and the status of the charter school by October 15, beginning in 2012.
Unless otherwise indicated, this act becomes effective July 1, 2011.
Summary date: Jan 27 2011 - View summary
Repeals GS 115C-238.29D(b) (limited the number of charter schools to be authorized annually by the State Board of Education in a single school district to five).
Makes a conforming change to GS 115C-105.37B(a)(2).