Student and Family Fair Notice and Impact Statement Act

Summary

The Student and Family Fair Notice and Impact Statement Act requires fair notice to families and the production of family impact statements before the closing or significant restructuring of charter schools by their authorizing entities.

Student and Family Fair Notice and Impact Statement Act

An Act relating to student and family fair notice and impact statement requirements prior to the closing or Significant Restructuring of any charter school:

Section 1. {Purpose}

If any process is initiated that could lead to an action which would have the impact of closing or restructuring a charter school, fair and timely notice shall be provided to the parents of students of the charter school, and a Student and Family Impact Statement shall be prepared by the Authorizing Entity or charter school intending to take the action in accordance with this Act.

Section 2. {Definitions}

In this Act the following terms are defined:

(A)“Authorizing Entity” means any entity which has the authority to authorize the operation of a charter school, or to terminate, revoke, non-renew, or require significant restructuring of any charter school.

(B)“Notice” means the same notice required for a Class 1 [drafting note: different states use different terminology, but call it something in their APA akin to this] hearing in addition to direct notice to the parent [drafting note: most states define the term “parent” in the school code to include guardians so not necessary to repeat throughout] of each impacted student via first class mail using any contact information which the charter school possesses.

(C)“Charter school” means any school established under this Chapter [drafting note: assuming these provisions would end up amended into each state’s charter “chapter” or whatever the appropriate reference is in any state].

(D) “Significant Restructuring” means any action that requires the charter school to change curriculum, enrollment, grades or programs offered, leadership, governing board composition, more than one-third of its teaching staff, or contractors for educational services.

Section 3. {Notice Requirement}

If a charter school receives any communication from any authorizing entity initiating a process that could lead to termination, revocation, non-renewal, or significant restructuring as a condition of continued operation, the charter school shall provide notice to the parents of all impacted students within five (5) days of receiving the communication. The notice shall include a copy of the communication received from the authorizing entity, any reasons or data used to support the communication, and provide detailed information of the process that will follow, including the requirements of this Act.  Separately, if a charter school intends to surrender its charter, the charter school shall provide notice to the parents of all impacted students within five (5) days of making such decision.  The notice shall include reasons for the decision to surrender the charter and provide detailed information of the process that will follow, including the requirements of this Act.

Section 4. {Student and Family Impact Statement}

(A) Within sixty (60) days of providing notice to parents as referenced in Section 3, the authorizing entity, where it has communicated action, or the charter school, where it intends to surrender its charter, shall prepare a Student and Family Impact Statement. Where the authorizing entity is preparing the Student and Family Impact Statement, it shall cooperate with the governing body of the charter school in the preparation of the Statement.

(B) When the Student and Family Impact Statement is completed, notice and a copy or readily available access shall be provided to the parents of all impacted students. Within sixty (60) days after providing notice of the completed Student and Family Impact Statement, but not sooner than within fifteen (15) days, the authorizing entity or charter school, as applicable, shall hold a class 1 hearing at which any interested parents, school officials, teachers, or staff, or community members shall be allowed to present testimony on the findings of the Student and Family Impact Statement. Interested parties shall also be allowed to present expert testimony. Where the authorizing entity has communicated action, the governing board of the charter school shall also be allowed to present for consideration a student and school improvement plan in place of the proposed action by the authorizing entity. [drafting note: it should be clear the school can present an alternative for supporters of the school to rally around.]

(C) The authorizing entity shall not take final action to terminate, revoke, non-renew, or significantly restructure a charter school and the charter school shall not surrender its charter, except in the presence of imminent health or safety issues, until at least thirty (30) days after the hearing referenced in Section C.   Any such action shall be at a properly noticed open meeting.

Section 5.  {Preparation Requirements for the Student and Family Impact Statement}

(A) The Student and Family Impact Statement shall be prepared after a mandatory survey of the  parents of all students enrolled in the charter school. The survey shall be conducted in a manner that maximizes parental participation. The survey shall seek the input of the parents on all issues that the Student and Family Impact Statement shall address pursuant to Section 4 of this Act, including, but not limited to, if parents believe the charter school should be closed, be significantly restructured or remain available, satisfaction level with the charter school, individual parent opinion on the academic impact on their student if returned to their assigned school, individual reasons for choosing the charter school, and for special education students, detailed information on the level of service at the charter school and their assigned school.

 

(B) The Student and Family Impact Statement shall concisely describe and analyze the proposed action that has been noticed which may have a significant impact on students and families.  The Statement must be available to the public for information and comment.  At a minimum, the Statement must include:

  1. A description of the proposed action, including its need and benefits;
  2. A review of the potential impact on students in the school who are proficient, or are achieving academic growth greater than their prior educational setting;
  3. If the charter school were to close, a full review of the public school that each student will be assigned to;
  4. A review of all similar charter schools in the state in terms of performance and at-risk populations, and an analysis of any actions taken related to other similarly situated charter school;
  5. An analysis of the special education population in the school and how those needs will be met for individual students should the charter school be closed. This analysis shall include any students who had an individual education plan in place when they enrolled in the school;
  6. A survey of the certified teachers in the school regarding the impact on their individual students should the charter school cease operating or be significantly restructured;
  7. A review of the impact on the public school or schools where students will be assigned if the charter school ceases to operate;
  8. To the extent the proposed action is based in part or whole upon standardized test scores, a review of the participation in the tests and any reliability issues, real or perceived, with the standardized tests relied upon;
  9. To the extent the proposed action is based in part or whole upon a performance framework, a full review of the performance framework in place for the school, the process for creating the performance framework, and progress on any aspects of the performance framework;
  10. An analysis of reasonable alternatives to the proposed action; and
  11. Identification of ways to reduce or avoid an adverse impact on students and families, and the analysis should include a separate section on the impact on students with special needs.