The Next Generation Charter Schools Act

Summary

These amendments and addendum change the Next Generation Charter Schools Act as currently constituted. The proposal makes changes to the composition and power of the Board or Commission that authorizers charter schools, eliminates special distinctions between virtual and non-virtual charter schools, removes a reference to “best practices” of authorizing as determined by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, and sets forth standards for revoking an authorizers’ ability to open charter schools. It also consolidates this Act with other ALEC model policy on charters, such as the Charter School Growth with Quality Act.

The Next Generation Charter Schools Act

Section 1. {Title.} The Next Generation Charter Schools Act

Section 2. {Declaration of Purpose.}

(A) The General Assembly hereby finds and declares that

(1) The Charter School Act of [year] as approved by this body has provided students in our state with high-quality public school choices while advancing overall academic excellence[1] and helping to close the achievement gap; and

(2) Will provide parents flexibility to choose among diverse educational opportunities within the state’s public school system

(3) The demand for quality public school choices in [state] consistently outstrips the supply; and

(4) National research and accumulated experience have documented that quality public charter schools best fulfill their potential when they have the resources, autonomy and accountability they need to succeed.

(B) The General Assembly further finds and declares that the provisions established in this article update and improve [state’s] Charter School Act to meet [state’s] 21st century educational needs.

Section 3. {Definitions.}

(A) “Charter authorizer” as used in this article means an entity or body established in Section 4 to approve charter schools. 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.

(B) “Charter Board or Commission” means the independent, state-level entity created pursuant to Section 4 as a charter authorizer.

(C) “Charter applicant” means an eligible person(s), organization, or entity as defined by the Charter School Law that seeks approval from a charter authorizer to found a charter school.

(D) 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.

(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 or Commission” 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 “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.

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

 (L) 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 or Commission;

(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.

(M) 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.

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

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

(P) “School district” means each school district now or hereafter legally organized as a body corporate pursuant to [insert state statute];

(Q) “State Board or Commission” means the state Board or Commission of education appointed pursuant to [insert state statute].

Section 4.[2] {Charter Authorizers.}[3]

(A) Upon the effective date of this article and thereafter, a charter applicant seeking to establish a public charter school may submit the charter petition to one of several charter authorizers:

(1) The elected governing authority of a county or municipality [define limitations, if any];

(2) The mayor of a city [define limitations, if any];

(3) Any school district located in the state;

(4) The state Board or Commission of education;

(5) The board of trustees of a two- or four-year institution of higher learning as defined by [insert state statute], as described in Subsection 4(B);

(6) The Public Charter School Board or Commission established in Subsection 4(C).

(B) Establishment – University Authorizer

(1) In general, there is established within the state public university authorizers.

(2) The ultimate responsibility for choosing to sponsor a charter school and responsibilities for maintaining sponsorship shall rest with the university’s board of trustees.

(3) Notwithstanding Subsection (2), the university’s board of trustees may vote to assign sponsorship authority and sponsorship responsibilities to another person or entity that functions under the direction of the university’s board.

(4) Before a university may sponsor a charter school, the university must conduct a public meeting with public notice in the county where the charter school will be located.

(C) Establishment – Public Charter School Board or Commission.                            b

(1) There is established within the state a Public Charter School Board or Commission (in this section referred to as the “Board or Commission”).

(i) The mission of the Board or Commission shall be to authorize high-quality public charter schools throughout the state consistent with the intent of this Act.

(3) The Board or 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 Board or Commission members.

(4) Members appointed to the Board or 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 Board or 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 Board or 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 Board or Commission exists, the original appointing authority shall appoint a member for the remaining portion of the term.

(J) Operations of the Board or Commission. –

(a) Chair. – The members of the Board or Commission shall elect from among their membership 1 individual to serve as Chair. Such election shall be held each year after members of the Board or Commission have been appointed to fill any vacancies caused by the regular expiration of previous members’ terms, or when requested by a majority vote of the members of the Board or Commission.

(b) Quorum. – A majority of the members of the Board or Commission, not including any positions that may be vacant, shall constitute a quorum sufficient for conducting the business of the Board or Commission.

(c) Meetings. – The Board or Commission shall meet at the call of the Chair, subject to the hearing requirements of [cite statute here].

(K) No compensation for service. – Members of the Board or Commission shall serve without pay, but may receive reimbursement for any reasonable and necessary expenses incurred by reason of service on the Board or Commission.

(L) Personnel and resources. –

(a) In general. – Subject to such rules as may be made by the Board or Commission, the Chair shall have the power to appoint, terminate, and fix the pay of an Executive Director and such other personnel of the Board or Commission as the Chair considers necessary.

(b) Special rule. – The Board or Commission is authorized to use the services, personnel, and facilities of the state of [insert state].

(M) Expenses of Board or Commission. – Any start-up expenses of the Board or Commission shall be paid from such funds as may be available to the State Department of Education; provided, that within 45 days of [implementation date], the State Department of Education shall make available not less than $130,000 to the Board or Commission.

(N) Audit. – The Board or Commission shall provide for an audit of the financial statements of the Board or Commission by an independent certified public accountant in accordance with Government auditing standards for financial audits issued by the Comptroller General of the United States.

(O) Authorization of appropriations. – For the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this section and conducting the Board or Commission’s functions required by this Subchapter, there are authorized to be appropriated to the Board or Commission $300,000 for fiscal year [date] and such sums as may be necessary for each of the 3 succeeding fiscal years.

(P) 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.

(Q) The Board or 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.

(R) The Board or Commission shall annually submit to the Legislature a report summarizing:

(1) The academic and financial performance of all operating public charter schools overseen by the Board or Commission, according to the performance expectations for public charter schools set forth in this Act;

(2) The status of the Board or Commission’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; and,

(3) The authorizing functions provided by the Board or Commission to the public charter schools under its purview, including its operating costs and expenses detailed in annual audited financial statements that conform with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

A charter authorizer shall:

(1) Receive applications, evaluate applications to ensure they meet the minimal requirements set forth by statute, and make approval and denial decisions;

(2) Execute contracts, incorporating and consistent with approved applications, between the authorizer and public charter schools detailing the rights and responsibilities of the authorizer and the charter school and setting forth the academic and operational performance expectations and measures by which the charter school will be judged.  The authorizer may choose to make the approved application the charter contract;

(3) Monitor on a regular basis the performance of the charter schools it oversees;

(4) Establish, through formal rulemaking, renewal and revocation criteria and processes for the charter schools it oversees.

Section 5. {Application 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) 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.

 

Section 6. { Operations and Autonomy.}

(A) A charter school is a public school and is part of the state’s system of public education. Except as provided in [add relevant citation in state code], a charter school is exempt from all statutes and rules applicable to a school, a Board or Commission, or a district, although it may elect to comply with one or more provisions of statutes or rules.

(B) Open Enrollment and Requirements

(1) A public charter school shall be open to any student who is eligible for attendance in public schools in the state.

(2) A school district shall not require any student enrolled in the school district to attend a public charter school.

(3) A public charter school shall not limit admission based on ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, income level, disabling condition, proficiency in the English language, or academic or athletic ability.

(4) A public charter school may limit admission to students within a given age group or grade level and may be organized around a special emphasis, theme, or concept as stated in the school’s application.

(5) A public charter school shall enroll all students who wish to attend the school, unless the number of students exceeds the capacity of a program, class, grade level, or building.

(6) If capacity is insufficient to enroll all students who wish to attend any specific grade level or program at the school, the public charter school shall select students through a lottery.

(C) Enrollment Preferences

(1) Any non-charter public school converting partially or entirely to a public charter school shall adopt and maintain a policy giving enrollment preference to students who reside within the former attendance area of that public school.

(2) A public charter school shall give enrollment preference to students enrolled in the public charter school the previous school year and to siblings of students already enrolled in the public charter school. An enrollment preference for returning students excludes those students from entering into a lottery.

(3) A public charter school may give enrollment preference to children of a public charter school’s founders, governing Board or Commission members, and full-time employees, so long as they constitute no more than 10 percent of the school’s total student population.

(4) This section does not preclude the formation of a public charter school whose mission is focused on serving students with disabilities, students of the same gender, students who pose such severe disciplinary problems that they warrant a specific educational program, or students who are at risk of academic failure. If capacity is insufficient to enroll all students who wish to attend such school, the public charter school shall select students through a lottery.

(D) Credit Transferability

(1) If a student who was previously enrolled in a public charter school enrolls in another public school in this state, the student’s new school shall accept credits earned by the student in courses or instructional programs at the public charter school in a uniform and consistent manner and according to the same criteria that are used to accept academic credits from other public schools.

(D) Information to Parents and the General Public

(1) A school district shall provide or publicize to parents and the general public information about public charter schools authorized by the district as an enrollment option within the district to the same extent and through the same means that the district provides and publicizes information about non-charter public schools in the district.

(E) Determination of Student Capacity of Public Charter Schools

(1) An authorizer may not restrict the number of students a public charter school may enroll. The capacity of the public charter school shall be determined annually by the governing Board or Commission of [Board or Commission’s contract with] the public charter school and in consideration of the
public charter school’s ability to facilitate the academic success of its students, to achieve the other objectives specified in the charter contract, and to ensure that its student enrollment does not exceed the capacity of its facility or site. [An authorizer is required to hear amendments concerning enrollment annually.]

(F) Legal Status of Public Charter School

(1) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, to the extent that any provision of this Act is inconsistent with any other state or local law, rule, or regulation, the provisions of this Act shall govern and be controlling.

(2) A public charter school shall be a non-profit education organization.


  • Moved to Section 3 definitions

(3) A public charter school shall be subject to all federal laws and authorities enumerated herein [by state law] or arranged by charter contract with the school’s authorizer, where such contracting is consistent with applicable laws, rules, and regulations. [Nothing in the charter contract should contradict state or federal law.]

(4) Except as provided in this Act, a public charter school shall not be subject to the state’s education statutes or any state or local rule, regulation, policy, or procedure relating to non- charter public schools within an applicable local school district regardless of whether such rule, regulation, policy, or procedure is established by the local school Board or Commission, the state Board or Commission of education, or the state department of education.

(5) A charter contract may consist of one or more schools, to the extent approved by the authorizer and consistent with applicable law. Each public charter school that is part of a charter contract shall be separate and distinct from any others.
(6) A single governing Board or Commission may hold one or more charter contracts. Each public charter school that is part of a charter contract shall be separate and distinct from any others.

(G) Local Educational Agency Status [The 44 jurisdictions with public charter school laws vary greatly in how they address the local educational agency (LEA) status of public charter schools. In this model legislation, we provide two options for handling this issue in state law. Option one is the preferred method, but option two is available if necessary for state consideration.]

OPTION 1: A PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL IS A LOCAL EDUCATIONAL AGENCY

(1) A public charter school shall function as a Local Educational Agency (“LEA”). A public charter school shall be responsible for meeting the requirements of LEAs under applicable federal, state, and local laws, including those relating to special education. LEA status shall not preclude a public charter school from developing partnerships with districts for services, resources, and programs by mutual agreement or formal contract.

(2) A public charter school shall have primary responsibility for special education at the school, including identification and service provision. It shall be responsible for meeting the needs of enrolled students with disabilities. In instances where a student’s individualized education program team determines that a student’s needs are so profound that they cannot be met in the public charter school and that the public charter school cannot provide a free, appropriate public education to that student, the student’s district of residence shall place the student in a more appropriate setting.

OPTION 2: A PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL IS NOT A LOCAL EDUCATIONAL AGENCY

(1) The [INSERT NAME OF ENTITY] of a public charter school is the public charter school’s Local Educational Agency (“LEA”). A public charter school is a school with that LEA.

(2) The [INSERT NAME OF ENTITY] retains responsibility for special education and shall serve students in public charter schools in a manner consistent with LEA obligations under applicable federal, state, and local law.

(H) Powers of Public Charter School

(1) A public charter school shall have all the powers necessary for carrying out the terms of its charter contract including the following powers:

(a) To receive and disburse funds for school purposes;

(b) To secure appropriate insurance and to enter into contracts and leases, free from prevailing wage laws;

(c) To contract with an education service provider for the management and operation
of the public charter school so long as the school’s governing Board or Commission retains oversight authority over the school, as specified in this Act;

(d) To incur debt in reasonable anticipation of the receipt of public or private funds;

(e) To pledge, assign, or encumber its assets to be used as collateral for loans or
extensions of credit;

(f) To solicit and accept any gifts or grants for school purposes subject to applicable
laws and the terms of its charter contract;

(g) To acquire real property for use as its facility or facilities, from public or private
sources; and,

(h) To sue and be sued in its own name.

(i) To employ or contract with other entities for the provision of teaching, professional, and support staff as needed.

 

(I) General Requirements

(1) A public charter school shall not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, disability, or national origin or any other category that would be unlawful if done by a non-charter public school.

(2) No public charter school may engage in any sectarian practices in its educational program, admissions or employment policies, or operations.

(3) A public charter school shall not discriminate against any student on the basis of national- origin minority status or limited proficiency in English. Consistent with federal civil rights laws, public charter schools shall provide limited English proficient students with appropriate services designed to teach them English and the general curriculum.

(4) A public charter school shall not charge tuition and may only charge such fees as may be imposed on other public schools in the state.

(5) The powers, obligations, and responsibilities set forth in the charter contract cannot be delegated or assigned by either party.

(J) Applicability of Other Laws, Rules, and Regulations

(1) Public charter schools shall be subject to the same civil rights, health, and safety requirements applicable to other public schools in the state, except as otherwise specifically provided in this Act.

(2) Public charter schools shall be subject to the student assessment and accountability requirements applicable to other public schools in the state, but nothing herein shall preclude a public charter school from establishing additional student assessment measures that go beyond state requirements if the school’s authorizer approves such measures.

(3) Public charter school governing Board or Commissions shall be subject to and comply with state open meetings and freedom of information laws.

(K) Public Charter School Employees

(1) If a public charter school governing board chooses to employ staff, the public charter school Public charter schools shall comply with applicable federal laws, rules, and regulations regarding the qualification of teachers and other instructional staff. In accordance with Section 2, (G), (4), teachers in public charter schools shall be exempt from state teacher certification requirements.

(2) Employees of a public charter schools to the extent the school employs staff, shall have the same rights and privileges as other public school employees except as otherwise stated herein.

(3) Employees of a public charter schools, to the extent the school employs staff, are eligible for participation in retirement and other benefits programs of the state, if the public charter school chooses to participate.

(4) Teachers and other school personnel, no matter what entity employs them, as well as governing board of trustees, shall be subject to criminal history record checks and fingerprinting requirements applicable to other public schools.

(5) Public charter school employees cannot be required to be members of any existing collective bargaining agreement between a school district and its employees. A public charter school may not interfere, however, with laws and other applicable rules protecting the rights of employees to organize and be free from discrimination.

(L) Access to Extra-Curricular and Interscholastic Activities

(1) A public charter school shall be eligible for state-sponsored or district-sponsored interscholastic leagues, competitions, awards, scholarships, and recognition programs for students, educators, administrators, and schools to the same extent as non-charter public schools.

(2) A public charter school student is eligible to participate in extracurricular activities not offered by the student’s school at:

(a) The school within whose attendance boundaries the student’s custodial parent or
legal guardian resides; or

(b) The non-charter public school from which the student withdrew for the purpose of attending a public charter school.

(3) A public charter school student is eligible for extracurricular activities at a non-charter public school consistent with eligibility standards as applied to full-time students of the non- charter public school.
(4) A school district or non-charter public school may not impose additional requirements on a public charter school student to participate in extracurricular activities that are not imposed on full-time students of the non-charter public school.

(5) When selection to participate in an extracurricular activity at a non-charter public school is made on a competitive basis, a public charter school student is eligible to try out for and participate in the activity as provided in this section.

(6) The state Board or Commission of education shall make rules establishing fees for public charter school students’ participation in extracurricular activities at non-charter public schools. The rules shall provide that:

(a) Public charter school students pay the same fees as other students to participate in extracurricular activities;

(b) Public charter school students are eligible for fee waivers similar to other students;

(c) For each public charter school student who participates in an extracurricular activity

at a non- charter public school, the public charter school shall pay a share of the non- charter public school’s costs for the extracurricular activity; and

(d) A public charter school’s share of the costs of having one or more students participate in an extracurricular activity at non-charter public schools shall reflect state and local tax revenues expended, except capital facilities expenditures, for such extracurricular activities in a non-charter public school divided by total student enrollment of the non-charter public school.

(7) In determining a public charter school’s share of the costs of an extracurricular activity under Subsections (6)(c) and (d), the state Board or Commission of education may establish uniform fees statewide based on average costs statewide or average costs within a sample of school districts.

Section 7. {Equitable Funding.}

(A) A charter school is a public school and is part of the state’s system of public education. A charter school shall receive funding for each of its pupils from federal, state and local sources that is equal to the amount that a traditional public school would receive for that same pupil.

[The 44 jurisdictions with public charter school laws vary greatly in how they fund public charter schools. In this model legislation, we provide three options for handling this issue in state law. In the first option, funding flows from the state to school districts to public charter schools. In the second option, funding flows from the state directly to public charter schools. In the third option, funding flows from the state to authorizers to public charter schools. It is preferred that all federal, state, and local dollars follow a student to a public charter school.]

OPTION 1: FUNDING FLOWS FROM THE STATE TO SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOLS

(B) Enrollment

(1) The enrollment of students attending public charter schools shall be included in the enrollment, attendance, and, if applicable, count of students with disabilities of the school district in which the student resides. The public charter school shall report all such data to the school districts of residence in a timely manner. Each school district shall report such enrollment, attendance, and count of students with disabilities to the state department of education.

(C) Operational Funding

(1) The school district of residence shall pay directly to the public charter school for each student enrolled in the public charter school who resides in the school district an amount of state and local

dollars for that student equal to one hundred percent of the amount calculated pursuant to the state’s funding formula for school districts, notwithstanding any oversight fee reductions pursuant to this Act.

(D) Payment Schedule

(1) Payments made pursuant to this section shall be made by school districts in twelve substantially equal installments each year beginning on the first business day of July and every month thereafter. Amounts payable under this section shall be determined by the state department of education. Amounts payable to a public charter school in its first year of operation shall be based on the projections of initial-year enrollment set forth in the charter contract. Such projections shall be reconciled with the actual enrollment at the end of the school’s first year of operation, and any necessary adjustments shall be made to payments during the school’s second year of operation.

(E) Sanctions for Failure to Make Payments

(1) In the event of the failure of a school district to make payments required by this section, the state treasurer shall deduct from any state funds which become due to such school district an amount equal to the unpaid obligation. The treasurer shall pay over such sum to the public charter school upon certification of the state department of education. The state department of education shall promulgate regulations to implement the provisions of this section.

(F) Categorical Funding

(1) A school district shall direct the proportionate share of moneys generated under federal and state categorical aid programs to public charter schools serving students eligible for such aid. A school district shall ensure that public charter schools with rapidly expanding enrollments are treated equitably in the calculation and disbursement of all federal and state categorical aid program dollars. Each public charter school that serves students who may be eligible to receive services provided through such programs shall comply with all reporting requirements to receive the aid.

(G) Special Education Funding

FOR PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOLS THAT ARE THEIR OWN LEAS FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION PURPOSES:

(1) A school district shall pay directly to a public charter school any federal or state aid attributable to a student with a disability attending the school.

(2) At either party’s request, a public charter school and its authorizer may negotiate and include in the charter contract alternate arrangements for the provision of and payment for special education services.

FOR PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOLS THAT ARE PART OF NON-DISTRICT AUTHORIZER LEAS FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION PURPOSES:

(1) A school district shall pay directly to a public charter school any federal or state aid attributable to a student with a disability attending the school.

(2) A public charter school shall pay to its authorizer any federal or state aid attributable to a student with a disability attending a public charter school in proportion to the level of services for such student that the authorizer provides directly or indirectly.

(3) At either party’s request, a public charter school and its authorizer may negotiate and include in the charter contract alternate arrangements for the provision of and payment for special education services, including, but not necessarily limited to, a reasonable reserve not to exceed five percent of the authorizer’s total budget for providing special education services. The reserve shall only be used by the authorizer to offset excess costs of providing services to students with disabilities enrolled in one of its public charter schools.

FOR PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOLS THAT ARE PART OF SCHOOL DISTRICT LEAS FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION PURPOSES:

(1) The school district shall provide special education services to students enrolled in public charter schools on the same basis as such services are provided to students enrolled in other public schools of the school district.

(2) The school district shall retain any federal or state aid attributable to a student with a disability attending a public charter school in proportion to the level of services for such student with a disability that the school district provides directly or indirectly.

(3) At either party’s request, however, the public charter school and the school district may negotiate and include in a contract alternate arrangements for the provision of and payment for special education services. If the public charter school and the school district have negotiated to allow the public charter school to provide special education services, the proportionate share of state and federal resources generated by such students shall be directed by the school district to the public charter school enrolling such students.

(H) Generally Accepted Accounting Principles – Independent Audit

  • (1)  A public charter school shall adhere to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
  • (2)  A public charter school shall annually engage an external auditor to do an independent audit of 
the school’s finances. A public charter school shall file a copy of each audit report and accompanying management letter to its authorizer by [INSERT DATE].

(I) Transportation Funding

(1) The state department of education shall disburse state transportation funding to a school district for each of the public charter school students residing in the school district on the same basis and in the same manner as it is paid to school districts. A school district shall disburse state transportation funding to a public charter school in proportion to the amount generated by the school’s students who reside in the school district.

(2) A public charter school may enter into a contract with a school district or private provider to provide transportation to the school’s students.

(J) Budget Reserves

(1) Any monies received by a public charter school from any source and remaining in the public charter school’s accounts at the end of any budget year shall remain in the public charter school’s accounts for use by the public charter school during subsequent budget years.

(K) Ability to Accept Gifts, Donations, and Grants

(1) Nothing in this article shall be construed to prohibit any person or organization from providing funding or other assistance to the establishment or operation of a public charter school. The governing board of a public charter school is authorized to accept gifts, donations, and grants of any kind made to the public charter school and to expend or use such gifts, donations, and grants in accordance with the conditions prescribed by the donor; provided, however, that no gift, donation, or grant may be accepted if subject to a condition that is contrary to any provision of law or term of the charter contract.

OPTION 2: FUNDING FLOWS FROM THE STATE DIRECTLY TO PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOLS

(A) Enrollment

(1) Each public charter school shall certify to the state department of education its student enrollment in the same manner as school districts.

(B) Operational Funding

(1) For a public charter school authorized by a school district, the state shall pay directly to the public charter school for each student enrolled in the public charter school an amount of state and local dollars for that student equal to one hundred percent of the amount calculated pursuant to the state’s funding formula for the student’s resident school district, notwithstanding any oversight fee reductions pursuant to this Act.

(2) For a public charter school authorized by an entity other than a school district, the state department of education shall withhold from the state equalization payments for each school district with students residing in the school district and attending the public charter school an amount equal to one hundred percent of the amount calculated pursuant to the state’s funding formula for each student in the resident school district multiplied by the number of students enrolled in the public charter school from the resident school district. The state department of education shall send the sum of these withholdings to the public charter school, notwithstanding any oversight fee reductions pursuant this Act.

(C) Payment Schedule

(1) Payments made pursuant to this section shall be made by the state in twelve substantially equal installments each year beginning on the first business day of July and every month thereafter. Amounts payable under this section shall be determined by the state department of education. Amounts payable to a public charter school in its first year of operation shall be based on the projections of initial-year enrollment set forth in the charter contract. Such projections shall be reconciled with the actual enrollment at the end of the school’s first year of operation, and any necessary adjustments shall be made to payments during the school’s second year of operation.

(D) Categorical Funding

(1) The state shall direct the proportionate share of moneys generated under federal and state categorical aid programs to public charter schools serving students eligible for such aid. The state shall ensure that public charter schools with rapidly expanding enrollments are treated equitably in the calculation and disbursement of all federal and state categorical aid program dollars. Each public charter school that serves students who may be eligible to receive services provided through such programs shall comply with all reporting requirements to receive the aid.

(E) Special Education Funding

FOR PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOLS THAT ARE THEIR OWN LEAS FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION PURPOSES:

(1) The state shall pay directly to a public charter school any federal or state aid attributable to a student with a disability attending the school.

(2) At either party’s request, a public charter school and its authorizer may negotiate and include in the charter contract alternate arrangements for the provision of and payment for special education services.

FOR PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOLS THAT ARE PART OF NON-DISTRICT AUTHORIZER LEAS FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION PURPOSES:

(1) The state shall pay directly to a public charter school any federal or state aid attributable to a student with a disability attending the school.

(2) A public charter school shall pay to its authorizer any federal or state aid attributable to a student with a disability attending a public charter school in proportion to the level of services for such student that the authorizer provides directly or indirectly.

(3) At either party’s request, a public charter school and its authorizer may negotiate and include in the charter contract alternate arrangements for the provision of and payment for special education services, including, but not necessarily limited to, a reasonable reserve not to exceed five percent of the authorizer’s total budget for providing special education services. The reserve shall only be used by the authorizer to offset excess costs of providing services to students with disabilities enrolled in one of its public charter schools.

FOR PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOLS THAT ARE PART OF SCHOOL DISTRICT LEAS FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION PURPOSES:

(1) The school district shall provide special education services to students enrolled in public charter schools on the same basis as such services are provided to students enrolled in other public schools of the school district.

(2) The school district shall retain any federal or state aid attributable to a student with a disability attending a public charter school in proportion to the level of services for such student with a disability that the school district provides directly or indirectly.

(3) At either party’s request, however, the public charter school and the school district may negotiate and include in a contract alternate arrangements for the provision of and payment for special education services. If the public charter school and the school district have negotiated to allow the public charter school to provide special education services, the proportionate share of state and federal resources generated by such students shall be directed by the school district to the public charter school enrolling such students.

(F) Generally Accepted Accounting Principles – Independent Audit

  • (1)  A public charter school shall adhere to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
  • (2)  A public charter school shall annually engage an external auditor to do an independent audit of

the school’s finances. A public charter school shall file a copy of each audit report and accompanying management letter to its authorizer by [INSERT DATE].

(G) Transportation Funding

(1) The state department of education shall disburse state transportation funding to a public charter school on the same basis and in the same manner as it is paid to school districts.

(2) A public charter school may enter into a contract with a school district or private provider to provide transportation to the school’s students.

(H) Budget Reserves

(1) Any monies received by a public charter school from any source and remaining in the public charter school’s accounts at the end of any budget year shall remain in the public charter school’s accounts for use by the public charter school during subsequent budget years.

(I) Ability to Accept Gifts, Donations, and Grants

(1) Nothing in this article shall be construed to prohibit any person or organization from providing funding or other assistance to the establishment or operation of a public charter school. The governing Board of a public charter school is authorized to accept gifts, donations, and grants of any kind made to the public charter school and to expend or use such gifts, donations, and grants in accordance with the conditions prescribed by the donor; provided, however, that no gift, donation, or grant may be accepted if subject to a condition that is contrary to any provision of law or term of the charter contract.

OPTION 3: FUNDING FLOWS FROM THE STATE TO AUTHORIZERS TO PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOLS (A) Enrollment

(1) Each authorizer shall certify to the state department of education the student enrollment for that year for each of its public charter schools in the same manner as school districts.

(B) Operational Funding

(1) For a public charter school authorized by a school district, the school district shall pay directly to the public charter school for each student enrolled in the school an amount of state and local dollars for that student equal to one hundred percent of the amount calculated pursuant to the state’s funding formula for the student’s resident school district, notwithstanding any oversight fee reductions pursuant to this Act.

(2) For a public charter school authorized by an entity other than a school district, the state department of education shall withhold from the state equalization payments for each school district with students residing in the school district and attending the public charter school an amount equal to one hundred percent of the amount calculated pursuant to the state’s funding formula for each student in the resident school district multiplied by the number of students enrolled in the public charter school from the resident school district. The state department of education shall send the sum of these withholdings to the authorizer. The authorizer shall forward the sum of these withholdings to each public charter school, notwithstanding any oversight fee reductions pursuant to this Act.

(C) Payment Schedule

(1) Payments made pursuant to this section shall be made by an authorizer in twelve substantially equal installments each year beginning on the first business day of July and every month thereafter. Amounts payable under this section shall be determined by the state department of education. Amounts payable to a public charter school in its first year of operation shall be based on the projections of initial-year enrollment set forth in the charter contract. Such projections shall be reconciled with the actual enrollment at the end of the school’s first year of operation, and any necessary adjustments shall be made to payments during the school’s second year of operation.

(D) Sanctions for Failure to Make Payments

(1) In the event of the failure of an authorizer to make payments required by this section, the state treasurer shall deduct from any state funds which become due to such an authorizer an amount equal to the unpaid obligation. The treasurer shall pay over such sum to the public charter school upon certification of the state department of education. The state department of education shall promulgate regulations to implement the provisions of this section.

(E) Categorical Funding

(1) An authorizer shall direct the proportionate share of moneys generated under federal and state categorical aid programs to public charter schools serving students eligible for such aid. The state shall ensure that public charter schools with rapidly expanding enrollment are treated equitably in the calculation and disbursement of all federal and state categorical aid program dollars. Each public charter school that receives such aid shall comply with all reporting requirements to receive the aid.

(F) Special Education Funding

FOR PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOLS THAT ARE THEIR OWN LEAS FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION PURPOSES:

(1) An authorizer shall pay directly to the public charter school any federal or state aid attributable to a student with a disability attending the school.

(2) At either party’s request, a public charter school and its authorizer may negotiate and include in the charter contract alternate arrangements for the provision of and payment for special education services.

FOR PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOLS THAT ARE PART OF NON-DISTRICT AUTHORIZER LEAS FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION PURPOSES:

(1) The authorizer shall pay directly to a public charter school any federal or state aid attributable to a student with a disability attending the school.

(2) A public charter school shall pay to its authorizer any federal or state aid attributable to a student with a disability attending a public charter school in proportion to the level of services for such student that the authorizer provides directly or indirectly.

(3) At either party’s request, a public charter school and its authorizer may negotiate and include in the charter contract alternate arrangements for the provision of and payment for special education services, including, but not necessarily limited to, a reasonable reserve not to exceed five percent of the authorizer’s total budget for providing special education services. The reserve shall only be used by the authorizer to offset excess costs of providing services to students with disabilities enrolled in one of its public charter schools.

FOR PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOLS THAT ARE PART OF SCHOOL DISTRICT LEAS FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION PURPOSES:

(1) The school district shall provide special education services to students enrolled in public charter schools on the same basis as such services are provided to students enrolled in other public schools of the school district.

(2) The state shall disburse to a school district any federal or state aid attributable to a student with a disability attending a public charter school in proportion to the level of services for such student with a disability that the school district provides directly or indirectly.

(3) At either party’s request, however, the public charter school and the school district may negotiate and include in a contract alternate arrangements for the provision of and payment for special education services. If the public charter school and the school district have negotiated to allow the public charter school to provide special education services, the proportionate share of state and federal resources generated by such students shall be directed by the school district to the public charter school enrolling such students.

(G) Generally Accepted Accounting Principles – Independent Audit

  • (1)  A public charter school shall adhere to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
  • (2)  A public charter school shall annually engage an external auditor to do an independent audit of 
the school’s finances. A public charter school shall file a copy of each audit report and accompanying management letter to its authorizer by [INSERT DATE].

(H) Transportation Funding

(1) The state department of education shall disburse state transportation funding to an authorizer for each of its public charter school students on the same basis and in the same manner as it is paid to school districts. An authorizer shall disburse state transportation funding to a public charter school in proportion to the amount generated by the school’s students.

(2) A public charter school may enter into a contract with a school district or private provider to provide transportation to the school’s students.

(I) Budget Reserves

(1) Any monies received by a public charter school from any source and remaining in the public charter school’s accounts at the end of any budget year shall remain in the public charter school’s accounts for use by the public charter school during subsequent budget years.

(J) Ability to Accept Gifts, Donations, and Grants

(1) Nothing in this article shall be construed to prohibit any person or organization from providing funding or other assistance to the establishment or operation of a public charter school. The governing board of a public charter school is authorized to accept gifts, donations, and grants of any kind made to the public charter school and to expend or use such gifts, donations, and grants in accordance with the conditions prescribed by the donor; provided, however, that no gift, donation, or grant may be accepted if subject to a condition that is contrary to any provision of law or term of the charter contract.

Section 7. {Facilities Funding.}

[In this model law, we provide a menu of approaches for handling this issue in state law, most of which should be included in a given state’s law.]

(A) Per-Student Facility Allowance

(1) The per-student facility allowance for public charter schools shall be determined as follows: the total capital costs for public schools in the state over the past five years shall be divided by the total student count in the state over the past five years.

(2) The actual facility allowance payments to be received by each public charter school shall be determined as follows: the per-student facility allowance shall be multiplied by the number of students estimated to be attending each public charter school.

(B) Public Charter School Facility Grant Program

(1) The state board of education shall establish, within available bond authorizations, a grant program to assist public charter schools in financing school building projects, general improvements to school buildings, and repayment of debt for school building projects. Public charter schools may apply for such grants to the state board of education at such time and in such manner as the state board of education prescribes. The state board of education shall give preference to applications that provide for matching funds from non-state sources.

(2) For the purposes described in subsection (3) of this section, the [INSERT NAME OF APPROPRIATE STATE BONDING AUTHORITY] shall have the power, from time to time, to authorize the issuance of bonds of the state in one or more series and in principal amounts not exceeding in the aggregate [INSERT DOLLAR AMOUNT] provided [INSERT DOLLAR AMOUNT] of said authorization shall be effective [INSERT DATE].

(3) The proceeds of the sale of said bonds, to the extent of the amount stated in subsection (2) of this section, shall be used by the state Board or Commission of education for the purpose of grants pursuant to subsection (1).

(4) Bonds issued pursuant to this section shall be general obligations of the state and the full faith and credit of the state are pledged for the payment of the principal of and interest on said bonds as the same become due, and accordingly and as part of the contract of the state with the holders of said bonds, appropriation of all amounts necessary for punctual payment of such principal and interest is hereby made, and the state treasurer shall pay such principal and interest as the same become due.

(C) Public Charter School Facility Revolving Loan Program

(1) The public charter school facility revolving loan program is hereby created in the state treasury. The public charter school facility revolving loan program shall be comprised of federal funds obtained by the state for public charter schools and any other funds appropriated or transferred to the fund by the state. Funds appropriated to the public charter school facility revolving loan program shall remain available for the purposes of the program until re-appropriated or reverted by the general assembly.

(2) Loans may be made from moneys in the public charter school facility revolving loan program to a public charter school, upon application by a public charter school and approval by the state Board or Commission of education or its designee. Money loaned to a public charter school pursuant to this section shall be for construction, purchase, renovation, and maintenance of public charter school facilities. No loan to a public charter school shall exceed [INSERT DOLLAR AMOUNT] over [INSERT NUMBER OF YEARS]. A public charter school may receive multiple loans from the public charter school facility revolving loan program, as long as the total amount received from the program over [INSERT NUMBER OF YEARS] does not exceed [INSERT DOLLAR AMOUNT].

(3) The state Board or Commission of education or its designee may consider all of the following when making a determination as to the approval of a public charter school’s loan application:

(a) Soundness of the financial business plans of the applicant public charter school.

(b) Availability to the public charter school of other sources of funding.

(c) Geographic distribution of loans made from the public charter school facility revolving loan program.

(d) The impact that loans received pursuant to this section will have on the public charter school’s receipt of other private and public financing.

(e) Plans for innovatively enhancing or leveraging funds received pursuant to this section, such as loan guarantees or other types of credit enhancements.

(f) The financial needs of the public charter school.

(4) Commencing with the first fiscal year following the fiscal year the public charter school receives the loan, the [INSERT NAME OF APPROPRIATE STATE AGENCY] shall deduct from apportionments made to the public charter school, as appropriate, an amount equal to the annual repayment of the amount loaned to the public charter school under this section and pay the same amount into the public charter school facility revolving loan program in the state treasury. Repayment of the full amount loaned to the public charter school shall be deducted by the [INSERT NAME OF APPROPRIATE STATE AGENCY] in equal annual amounts over a number of years agreed upon between the public charter school and the state Board or Commission of education or its designee, not to exceed [INSERT NUMBER OF YEARS] for any loan.

(5) Notwithstanding other provisions of law, a loan may be made to a public charter school pursuant to this section only in the case of a public charter school that is incorporated.

(6) Notwithstanding other provisions of law, in the case of default of a loan made directly to a public charter school pursuant to this section, the public charter school shall be solely liable for repayment of the loan.

(D) Bonding Authority

[Public charter schools should either have equal access to all of the relevant bonding authorities in a state or have their own bonding authority. For the first option, a state must amend the appropriate section of the law (e.g., state health and educational facility authority section) to clarify that public charter schools are eligible to obtain tax-exempt financing from the relevant authority. For the second option, see language below.]

(1) As used in this section:

Soundness of the financial business plans of the applicant public charter school. Availability to the public charter school of other sources of funding.

Geographic distribution of loans made from the public charter school facility revolving loan

(a) “Authority” means the state public charter school finance authority created by this section.

(b) “Obligations” mean any notes, debentures, revenue bonds, or other evidences of financial indebtedness, except general obligation bonds.

(c) “Project” means:

(i) Any building, structure, or property owned, or to be acquired, by a public charter school for any of its educational purposes and the related appurtenances, easements, rights-of-way, improvements, paving, utilities, landscaping, parking facilities, and lands; or

(ii) Any capital equipment owned, or to be acquired, by a public charter school for any of its educational purposes, interests in land, and grounds, together with the personal property necessary, convenient, or appurtenant to them.

(2) There is created a body politic and corporate known as the state public charter school finance authority. The authority is created to provide an efficient and cost-effective method of financing public charter school facilities.

(3) The governing Board or Commission of the authority shall be composed of:

  • (a)  The governor or the governor’s designee;
  • (b)  The state treasurer; and
  • (c)  The state superintendent of public instruction or the state superintendent’s designee.
  • (4)  Upon request, the state Board or Commission of education shall provide staff support to the authority.
  • (5)  The authority shall have perpetual succession as a body politic and corporate.
  • (6)  The authority may:
  • (a)  Sue and be sued in its own name;
  • (b)  Have, and alter at will, an official seal;
  • (c)  Receive and accept aid or contributions from any source, including the United States or this

state, in the form of money, property, labor, or other things of value to be held, used, and applied to carry out the purposes of this part, subject to the conditions upon which the aid and contributions are made, for any purpose consistent with this part;

(d) Exercise the power to borrow money and issue obligations, except the authority may only exercise powers to finance a project as defined in state law;

(e) Employ advisers, consultants, and agents, including financial experts, independent legal counsel, and any advisers, consultants, and agents as may be necessary in its judgment and fix their compensation;

(f) Make and execute contracts and other instruments necessary or convenient for the performance of its duties and the exercise of its powers and functions; and

(g) Have and exercise any other powers or duties that are necessary or appropriate to carry out and effectuate the purposes of this chapter.

(7) If the authority is dissolved at any time, for any reason, all funds, property, rights, and interests of the authority, following the satisfaction of the authority’s obligations, shall immediately vest in and become the property of the state, which shall succeed to all rights of the authority subject to any encumbrances which may then exist on any particular properties.

(8) None of the net earnings of the authority shall inure to the benefit of any private person. (E) Moral Obligation of the State

(1) The general assembly hereby finds and declares that its intent in enacting this section is to support public charter schools and public charter school capital construction by helping qualified public charter schools that choose to have the [INSERT NAME OF BONDING AUTHORITY] issue bonds on their behalf obtain more favorable financing terms for the bonds.

(2) If the [INSERT NAME OF BONDING AUTHORITY] has issued bonds on behalf of a public charter school that defaults on its debt service payment obligations, the Board of directors of the authority shall submit to the governor a certificate certifying any amount of moneys required to fulfill the school’s debt service payment obligations. The governor shall submit a request for appropriations in an amount sufficient to fulfill the school’s debt service payment obligations and the general assembly may, but shall not be required to, appropriate moneys for said purpose. If, in its sole discretion, the general assembly appropriates any moneys for said purpose, the aggregate outstanding principal amount of bonds for which moneys may be appropriated for said purpose shall not exceed [INSERT DOLLAR AMOUNT].

(F) Access to State Facilities Programs for Non-Charter Public Schools

[Public charter schools should have equal access to all of the existing state facilities programs for traditional public schools in a state. To implement this item, a state must amend the relevant section of the law (e.g., public school capital construction assistance fund section) to clarify that public charter schools are eligible to obtain funding from the relevant program.]

(G) Credit Enhancement Fund

(1) [INSERT DOLLAR AMOUNT] shall be set aside for a credit enhancement fund for public charter schools to be administered by the state Board or Commission of education.

(2) Using the amounts described in paragraph (1), the state Board or Commission of education shall make and disburse grants to eligible nonprofit corporations to carry out the purposes described in paragraph (3).

(3) The recipient of a grant under this fund shall use the monies provided under the grant to carry out activities to assist public charter schools in:

(a) Obtaining financing to acquire interests in real property (including by purchase, lease, or donation), including financing to cover planning, development, and other incidental costs;

(b) Obtaining financing for construction of facilities or the renovation, repair, or alteration of existing property or facilities (including the purchase or replacement of fixtures and equipment), including financing to cover planning, development, and other incidental costs;

(c) Enhancing the availability of loans (including mortgages) and bonds; and (d) Obtaining lease guarantees.

(4) Funds provided under a grant under this subparagraph may not be used by a recipient to make direct loans or grants to public charter schools.

(H) Access to District Facilities and Land

(1) A public charter school shall have a right of first refusal to purchase or lease at or below fair market value a closed public school facility or property or unused portions of a public school facility or property located in a school district from which it draws its students if the school district decides to sell or lease the public school facility or property.

(I) Contracting for Use of Facilities

(1) A public charter school may negotiate and contract at or below fair market value with a school district, the governing body of a state college or university or public community college, or any other public or for-profit or nonprofit private entity for the use of facility for a school building.

(J) Use of Other Facilities under Preexisting Zoning and Land Use Designations

(1) Library, community service, museum, performing arts, theatre, cinema, church, community college, college, and university facilities may provide space to public charter schools within their facilities under their preexisting zoning and land use designations. (K) Exemptions from Ad Valorem Taxes and Certain Fees

(1) Any facility, or portion thereof, used to house a public charter school shall be exempt from ad valorem taxes.

(2) Public charter school facilities are exempt from assessments of fees for building permits, fees for building and occupational licenses, impact fees, service availability fees, and assessments for special benefits.

Section 8. {Caps.}

(A) This article hereby removes the limit [of XXX] as established in the Charter School Law on the number of approved charter schools as of the effective date in Section 9.

(B) This article hereby removes the limit [of XXX] as established in the Charter Schools Act on the number of students in a district who can enroll in a charter school as of the effective date in Section 9.

Section 9. {Effective Date.}

The Next Generation Charter Schools Act will be in effect beginning no later than July 1, [year].