Bill Summary for H 334 (2015-2016)

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Summary date: 

Sep 10 2015

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2015-2016 Session
House Bill 334 (Public) Filed Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Intro. by Jeter, Steinburg.

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Bill summary

Conference committee report makes the following changes to the 4th edition.

Changes the act’s short and long titles.

Amends GS 115C-218 to no longer place the North Carolina Charter Schools Advisory Board (Advisory Board) under the State Board of Education (State Board), keeping it under the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) while requiring the Advisory Board to report to the State Board. Reinstates language requiring the Governor to appoint the chair of the Advisory Board. Provides that the Office of Charter Schools (Office) is to administratively located in DPI (was, Office of the State Board of Education), adding that the Office is to be supervised, directed, and controlled by the State Board. Adds that the Executive Director’s duties includes presenting the recommendations of the Advisory Board at State Board meetings when requested. Adds to the Office’s duties any duties assigned by the State Board. Makes conforming changes.

Deletes the provision concerning transferring duties to the Office of Charter Schools located in the Office of the State Board of Education and the related appropriation.

Deletes the provision concerning filling vacancies on the Advisory Board.

Requires the State Board of Education to make appointments to the Charter Schools Advisory Board for a member meeting GS 115C-218(b)(2) within 45 days of when the act becomes law.

Deletes proposed GS 115C-2181(d) which required evaluating charter school applications to determine wither the board of directors and charter school may exhibit a higher likelihood of meeting the requirements of GS 115C-218.5(a).

Amends GS 115C-218.1(b) to increase the minimum number of students to be served by a charter school from 65 to 80. Also adds that the charter school application must include the process for conducting a weighted lottery that reflects the mission of the school if it wants to use a weighted lottery. Applies beginning with the 2015-16 school year.

Makes clarifying changes to GS 115C-218.45(e). Applies beginning with the 2015-16 school year.

Amends GS 115C-218.45 to add that if the State Board has approved a procedure for a weighted lottery as part of the charter and a lottery is needed, it must be conducted according to the procedure in the charter. Applies beginning with the 2015-16 school year.

Enacts new GS 115C-2182 to require charter school applicants to be given five business days to correct format issues or incomplete information. Requires that charter school applicants or board members be given the chance to address the Advisory Board or its committee before taking action regarding a charter school or charter school applicant. Requires the Advisory Board to make recommendations on guidance for implementation of this statute to the State Board. Requires the State Board to develop guidance for implementation by October 15, 2015. Applies beginning with the 2015-16 school year.

Further amends GS 115C-218.5 to require (was, allow) the State Board to renew the charter upon request of the chartering entity for subsequent periods of 10 years unless one of the specified circumstances exists. Amends those circumstances to clarify that a period of less than 10 years is allowed when the school is not in compliance with specified laws and regulations at the time of the request for renewal of the charter. Amends the conditions that must exist before the State Board may approve additional enrollment growth of more than 20% to require that the charter school, at the time of the increase request, be substantially in compliance with specified laws and regulations (was, it is otherwise appropriate to approve the enrollment growth). Adds that it is not a material revision of a charter application for the school to expand to offer one grade higher or lower (was, higher) if the school meets the stated requirements, which are expanded to also include that the school has been in financial compliance as required by the State Board. Applies beginning with the 2015-16 school year.

Amends GS 115C-218.15 to require the charter schools board of directors to adopt a conflict of interest and anti-nepotism policy and lists minimum provisions that must be included. Adds that the board of directors of the private nonprofit operating the charter school may have members that reside out of state. Allows the State Board, however, to require by policy that a majority of the board of directors and all board officers reside in state. Amends GS 115C-47 to require local board of education to adopt policies requiring that the hiring of immediate family members of any board of education member or central office staff administrator be disclosed to the board of education and be approved by the board in an open-session meeting. Effective March 1, 2016. 

Amends GS 115C-218.50 with revised conditions on fees that charter schools may charge beginning in the 2015-16 school year. The amended statute would allow charter schools to charge those fees charged by the local school administrative unit and, upon approval by the charter school's board of directors, fees for extracurricular activities that do not exceed those charged by any school administrative unit in which 40% of the charter school's students reside. 

Amends GS 115C-218.100(a) to require only charter schools that have elected to participate in the North Carolina Retirement System to maintain certain funds for the purpose of a voluntary or involuntary closure of the school. Requires the State Board to conduct a study and develop a policy requiring charter schools to maintain $50,000 for closure purposes, as well as criteria for granting a school a waiver of this requirement. Requires the State Board to report by February 15, 2016, to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee and repeals identical provisions from H 97, should it become law.

Requires the State Board of Education to review the recommendations of the Charter Schools Advisory Board and carry out four actions by January 15, 2016, with report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee by February 15. The four matters are (1) amending the process and rules for fast-track replication of high-quality charter schools through contract with certain organizations already operating charter schools; (2) making recommendations for allocating allotments for schools that increase enrollment; (3) adopting a policy for determining whether a school is in compliance with the requirements of its charter, as required by GS 115C-218.5(d)(3), (e), and (f); and (4) adopting a policy and recommendations on certain other matters related to charter schools. 

Amends GS 115C-112.6(c), pertaining to scholarships. Current law requires a local educational agency to conduct ongoing assessments of a child's disability; the amended statute would allow a licensed psychologist with a school psychology focus to conduct an assessment of a child's continuing benefit from placement in a nonpublic school setting. The section also makes technical changes. Applies to students required to be assessed on or after January 1, 2015.