Bill Summary for S 8 (2011-2012)
|View NCGA Bill Details||2011-2012 Session|
TO REMOVE THE CAP ON THE NUMBER OF CHARTER SCHOOLS.Intro. by Stevens
|View: All Summaries for Bill||Tracking:|
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.