Public Charter Schools

Policy file: 
Policy number: 
LBE-AR
Section: 
K/L - District-Community Relations

ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATION:

Definitions:

  1. Applicantmeans any person or group that develops and submits a written proposal for a public charter school to the district.
  2. Public charter schoolmeans an elementary or secondary school offering a comprehensive instructional program operating under a written agreement entered into between the District and an applicant
  3. Sponsormeans the District board.

Proposal Process:

  1. The public charter school applicant shall submit the original proposal to the district on October 1, orthe next business day should October 1 fall on a weekend, for a September starting date of the following school year.
  2. The proposal for a public charter school shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
  3. The identification of the applicant
  4. The name of the proposed public charter school
  5. A description of the philosophy and mission of the public charter school and how it differs from the District’s regular program and philosophy
  6. A description of any distinctive learning or teaching technique to be used
  7. A description of the curriculum of the public charter school
  8. A description of the expected results of the curriculum and the verified methods of measuring and reporting results that will allow comparisons with District schools
  9. The governance structure (public charter school board membership, selection, duties, and responsibilities)
  10. The projected enrollment including the ages or grades to be served
  11. The target population of students the public charter school is designed to serve
  12. The legal address, facilities and physical location of the public charter school (and applicable occupancy permits and health and safety approvals)
  13. A description of admission policies and application procedures
  14. The statutes and rules that shall apply to the public charter school
  15. The proposed budget and financial plan including evidence that the proposed budget and financial plan are financially sound
  16. The standards for behavior and the procedures for the discipline, suspension or expulsion of students
  17. The proposed school calendar, including the length of the school day and length of the school year
  18. A description of the proposed school staff and required qualifications of teachers (At least one-half of the full-time equivalent teaching and administrative staff of the public charter school shall be licensed.)
  19. The date upon which the public charter school would begin operating
  20. The arrangements for any necessary special education and related services for students with disabilities who qualify under IDEA and special education or regular education and related services for students who qualify under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974 who may attend the public charger school
  21. Information on the manner in which community groups may be involved in the planning and development process of the public charter school
  22. The term of the charter
  23. The plan for performance bonding or insuring the public charter school, including buildings and liabilities
  24. A proposed plan for the placement of public charter school teachers, other employees and students upon termination or non-renewal of a charter.
  25. The manner in which the public charter school program review and fiscal audit will be conducted
  26. In the case of a District school’s conversion to charter status, the following additional criteria must be addressed:
  27. The alternate arrangements for students who choose not to attend the public charter school and for teachers and other school employees who choose not to participate In the public charter school
  28. The relationship that will exist between the public charter school and its employees including terms and conditions of employment
  29. Any other information the Board considers relevant, including procedures and plans for the following:
  30. Use of unique District facilities including, but not limited to, gymnasiums, auditoriums, athletic fields, libraries, cafeterias, computer labs and music facilities
  31. Child nutrition programs
  32. Student participation in extracurricular activities pursuant to Oregon School Activities Association and Board policy, regulations, and rules
  33. Graduation exercises including public charter school student participation in District exercises
  34. Admission of students expelled from another District for reasons other than a weapons policy violation
  35. Alternative placement for students not making satisfactory progress
  36. Counseling services
  37. Solicitation/Advertising/Fund raising by non-school groups
  38. Field trips
  39. Student promotion and retention
  40. Student publications
  41. Student/Parent/Public complaints
  42. Student/Staff vehicle parking and use
  43. Visitors
  44. Contingency plans for the hiring of substitute professional and classified staff
  45. Discipline, suspension or dismissal of staff

Proposal Review Process

  1. The Board will have 15 business days in which to notify the public charter school applicant whether their application is complete.
  2. The Superintendent may appoint an advisory committee to review public charter school proposals and submit a recommendation to the Board.  The committee will consist of District representatives, community members and others as deemed appropriate.
  3. Within 60 days of receipt of a proposal that meets the requirements of law and the district, the Board shall hold a public hearing on the provisions of the public charter school proposal.
  4. The Board shall evaluate a proposal in good faith using the following criteria:

 

  1. The demonstrated sustainable support for the proposal by teachers, parents, students and other community members, including comments received at the public hearing
  2. The demonstrated financial stability of the proposed public charter school
  3. The capability of the applicant in terms of support and planning to provide comprehensive instructional programs;
  4. The capability of the applicant in terms of support and planning to provide comprehensive instructional programs to students identified by the applicant as academically low achieving
  5. The extent to which the proposal addresses the criteria required in the proposal process
  6. Whether the value of the public charter school is outweighed by any directly identifiable, significant and adverse impact on the quality of the public education of students residing in the district
  7. A “directly identifiable, significant and adverse impact: is defined as an adverse loss or reduction in staff, student, program or funds that may reduce the quality of existing district educational programs.  This may include, but not be limited to, the following current data as compared to similar data from preceding years:
    1. Student enrollment
    2. Student teacher ratio
    3. Staffing with appropriately licensed or endorsed personnel
    4. Student learning and performance
    5. Specialty programs or activities such as music, physical education, foreign language, talented and gifted and English as a second language
    6. Revenue
    7. Expenditure for maintenance and upkeep of district facilities.
  8. Whether there are arrangements for any necessary special education and related services
  9. Whether there are alternative arrangements for students, teachers and other school employees who choose not to attend or be employed by the public charter school if the public charter school is converting an existing district school.
  10. The Board shall either approve or deny the proposal within 30 days of the public hearing.
  11. Written notice of the Board’s action shall be sent to the applicant.  If denied, the notice will include the reasons for the denial with suggested remedial measures.  The applicant may then resubmit the proposal.  The Board shall either approve or deny the resubmitted proposal within 20 days.  The Board may, with good cause, request an extension in the approval process time lines from the State Board of Education.
  12. A charter school proposal that has not been approved by the Board by January 31, following the process and steps outlined in this policy, will not be eligible for a fall opening in the upcoming school year.
  13. Following approval of the proposal, the charter school contract agreement must be fully executed by both the McMinnville School District and the governing body of the charter school no later than April 30 of the year in which the charter school is scheduled for a September opening.
  14. Unless specifically approved by the McMinnville School District Board of Directors in the resolution approving the Charter School proposal, the charter school must begin operation in the school year immediately following approval. 

Terms of the Charter Agreement

  1. Upon Board approval of the proposal, the Board will become the sponsor of the public charter school.  The District and the applicant shall develop a written charter agreement, subject to Board approval, which shall act as the legal authorization for the establishment of the public charter school. 
  2. The charter agreement shall be legally binding and shall be in effect for a period of not more than five years but may be renewed by the District.
  3. The District and the public charter school may amend a charter agreement through joint agreement.
  4. It is the intent of the Board that the charter agreement be detailed and specific to protect the mutual interests of the public charter school and the district.  The agreement shall incorporate the elements of the approved proposal and will address additional matters, statutes and rules not fully covered by law or the proposal that shall apply to the public charter school including but not limited to, the following:
  5. Reporting of suspected child abuse - ORS 419B.045
  6. Sexual harassment - ORS 342.700, 342.704
  7. Pregnant and parenting students – ORS 336.640
  8. Special English classes for certain children – ORS 336.079
  9. Student conduct – ORS 339.250
  10. Alcohol and drug abuse program – ORS 336.222
  11. Student records – ORS 326.565
  12. OregonReport Card – ORS 329.115
  13. Recovery of costs associated with property damage – ORS 339.270 and withholding records until property damage or fees are paid (ORS 339.260)
  14. Use of school facilities – ORS 332.172
  15. Employment status of public charter school employees:

a.         Public charter school law requires the following:

  1. Employee assignments to a public charter school shall be voluntary;
  2. A public charter school or the sponsor of the public charter school may be considered the employer of any employees of the public charter school
  3. If the Board is not the sponsor of the public charter school, it shall not be the employer and shall not collectively bargain with the employees
  4. A public charter school employee may be a member of a labor organization or organize with other employees to bargain collectively.  The bargaining unit may be separate from other bargaining units of the district
  5. The public charter school governing body shall control the selection of employees at the public charter school
  6. The Board shall grant a leave of absence to any employee who chooses to work in the public charter school.  The length and terms of the leave of absence shall be set by collective bargaining agreement or by Board policy; however, the length of leave of absence may not be less than two years unless:
  7. The charter of the public school is terminated or the public charter school is dissolved or closed during the leave of absence or
  8. The employee and the Board have mutually agreed to a different length of time.
  9. An employee of a public charter school operating within the district who is granted a leave of absence and returns to employment with the District shall retain seniority and benefits as an employee, pursuant to the terms of a leave of absence

b.         The terms and conditions of employment addressed in the agreement may include, but not be limited to:

  1. A proposed plan for the placement of teachers and other school employees upon termination or non-renewal of the charter
  2. Arrangements for employees who choose not to be employed or participate in the public charter school, if a district has been converted to a public charter school
  3. Salary for professional staff or wages for classified staff
  4. Health benefits
  5. Leaves, including timing, commencement and duration of leave; voluntary and involuntary termination and return to work; whether the leave is paid or unpaid; and a description of benefits upon termination of leave – i.e., same, similar, or available position and salary schedule placement
  6. Work year
  7. Working hours
  8. Discipline and dismissal procedures
  9. Arrangements to secure substitutes
  10. Arrangements to ensure that 50% of the total full-time equivalent teaching and administrative staff are licensed
  11. Hiring practices
  12. Evaluation procedures
  13. Student enrollment, application procedures and whether the public charter school will admit nonresident students and on what basis:

a.   Public charter school law requires the following:

  1. Student enrollment shall be voluntary.  If the number of applicants exceeds the capacity, students shall be selected through a lottery process.  (All resident applicants will have their names written on a uniform sized card to be placed in a covered container.  Names will be drawn individually until all available slots are filled.  If slots remain after resident applicants are placed, the remaining slots may be filled by nonresident applicants using an identical process.  The drawing shall be made in the presence of at least two employees of the public charter school and two employees of the District.)  However, if the public charter school has been in operation one or more years, priority enrollment will be given to those students who:
  2. Were enrolled in the public charter school the prior year
  3. Have siblings who are presently enrolled in the public charter school and who were enrolled the prior year
  4. A public charter school may not limit student admission based on ethnicity, national origin, disability, sex, race, religion, color, income level, proficiency in English language, academic achievement, or athletic ability but may limit admission within a given age group or grade level
  5. If a public charter school offers any online course as part of the curriculum of the school, then 50% or more of the students who attend the public charter school must reside in the school district in which the public charter school is located.
  6. Transportation of students:

a.   Public charter school law requires the following:

  1. The public charter school shall be responsible for providing transportation for its students and may negotiate with the District for the provision of transportation services;
  2. The District shall provide transportation for public charter school students pursuant to ORS 327.043.  Resident public charter school students will be transported under the same conditions as students attending private or parochial schools located along or near established district bus routes.  The District shall not be required to add or extend existing bus route;
  3. Public charter school students who reside outside the District may use existing bus routes and transportation services of the District in which the public charter school is located;
  4. Any transportation costs incurred by the District shall be considered approved transportation costs.
  5. The plan for performance bonding or insuring the public charter school sufficient to protect the District.  Documentation shall be submitted prior to agreement approval.

a.   Insurance:  The insurance requirements for individual public charter schools may vary and should be reviewed by their own legal counsel and an insurance representative.

  1. Commercial General Liability Insurance covering the public charter school, the governing board, employees and volunteers against liability for damages because of personal injury, bodily injury, death or damage to property including the loss of use thereof.  Coverage to include, but not limited to, contractual liability, advertisers’ liability, employee benefits liability, professional liability and teachers’ liability
  2. Liability Insurance for Directors and Officers covering the public charter school, the governing board, employees and volunteers against liability arising out of wrongful acts and employment practices.  Continuous “claims made” coverage will be acceptable, provided the retroactive date is on the effective date of the charter
  3. Automobile Liability Insurance covering the public charter school, the governing board, employees and volunteers against liability for damages because of bodily injury, death or damage to property, including the loss of use thereof arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of any automobile.  The policy will include underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage at the limits equal to bodily injury limits
  4. Workers’ Compensation Insurance shall also be maintained pursuant to Oregon laws – ORS Chapter 656. 
  5. Honesty Bond (Errors and Omission Insurance) to cover all employees and volunteers.  Limits to be determined by the governing board.  Coverage shall include faithful performance and loss of moneys and securities
  6. Property Insurance shall be required on all owned or leased buildings or equipment.  The insurance shall be written to cover the full replacement cost of the building and/or equipment on an “all risk of direct physical loss basis,” including earthquake and flood perils.

b.   Additional requirements:

  1. The District shall be additional insured on commercial general and automobile liability insurance.  The policies shall provide for a 90-day written notice of cancellation or material change.  A certificate evidencing all of the above insurance shall be furnished to the district
  2. The public charter school shall also hold harmless and defend the District from any and all liability, injury, damages, fees or claims arising out of the operations of the public charter school operations or activities
  3. The District shall be loss payee on the property insurance if the public charter school leases any real or personal District property
  4. The coverage provided and the insurance carriers must be acceptable to the District.

Public Charter of School Operation

  1. The public charter school shall operate at all times in accordance with the public charter school law, the terms of the approved proposal and the charter agreement.
  2. Statutes and rules that apply to the District shall not apply to the public charter school except the following, as required by law, shall apply:
  3. Federal law, including applicable provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001;
  4. Public records law – ORS 192.410 to 192.505
  5. Public meetings law – ORS 192.610 to 192.690
  6. Municipal audit law – ORS 297.405 to 297.555 and 297.990
  7. Criminal records check – ORS 181.539, 326.603, 326.607 and 342.232
  8. Textbooks – ORS 337.150
  9. Tuition and fees – ORS 339.141, 339.147 and 339.155
  10. Discrimination – ORS 659.850 and 659.855
  11. Tort claims – ORS 30.260 to 30.300
  12. Health and safety statutes and rules
  13. Any statute or rule listed in the charter
  14. The statewide assessment system developed by the Oregon Department of Education for mathematics, science and English under ORS 329.485(1)
  15. The academic content standards and instruction – ORS 329.045(1)
  16. Any statute or rule that establishes requirements for instructional time
  17. Prohibition of infliction of corporal punishment – ORS 339.250 (12)
  18. ORS Chapter 338.
  19. The public charter school may employ as a teacher or administrator a person who is not licensed by the TSPC.  However, at least ½ of the total full-time equivalent teaching and administrative staff at the public charter school shall be licensed by the commission, pursuant to ORS 342.135, 342.136, 342.138 or 342.140.
  20. The public charter school shall participate in the Public Employees Retirement System.
  21. The public charter school shall not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or Section 5, Article I of the Oregon Constitution, or be religion based.
  22. The public charter school shall maintain an active enrollment of at least 25 students.
  23. The public charter school may sue or be sued as a separate legal entity.
  24. The public charter school may enter into contracts and may lease facilities and services from the District, education service district, state institution of higher education, other governmental unit or any person or legal entity.
  25. The public charter school may not levy taxes or issue bonds under which the public incurs liability.
  26. The public charter school may receive and accept gifts, grants and donations from any source of or expenditure to carry out the lawful functions of the school.
  27. The district shall offer a high school diploma, certificate, Certificate of Initial Mastery or Certificate of Advanced Mastery to any public charter school student located in the district who meets the district’s and state’s standards for high school diploma, certificate, Certificate of Initial Mastery or Certificate of Advanced Mastery.  If the school district offers a CIM subject area endorsement to students who attend school in the district, then the school district shall offer the endorsement to any public charter school student who meets the district’s and state’s standards for the endorsement.
  28. A high school diploma, certificate, Certificate of Initial Mastery, Certificate of Initial Mastery subject area endorsement or Certificate of Advanced Mastery issued by a public charter school shall grant to the holder the same rights and privileges as a high school diploma, certificate, Certificate of Initial Mastery, Certificate of Initial Mastery subject area endorsement or Certificate of Advanced Mastery issued by a non-chartered public school.
  29. Upon application by the public charter school, the State Board of Education may grant a waiver of certain public charter school law provisions if the waiver promotes the development of programs by providers, enhances the equitable access by underserved families to the public education of their choice, extends the equitable access to public support by all students or permits high quality programs of unusual cost.

Charter Agreement Review

  1. The public charter school shall report at least annually on the performance of the school and its students to the State Board of Education and the district.
  2. The Board or designee shall visit the public charter school at least annually to assure compliance with the terms and provisions of the charter.
  3. The public charter school shall be audited annually at their own expense in accordance with the Municipal Audit Law and shall forward the audit to the Board, the State Board of Education and the Oregon Department of Education.
  4. The public charter school shall submit to the Board quarterly financial statements that reflect the school's financial operations.  The report shall include, but not be limited to, revenues, expenditures, loans and investments.

CharterSchoolRenewal

  1. The first renewal of a charter shall be for the same time period as the initial charter.  Subsequent renewals of a charter shall be for a minimum of five years but may not exceed 10 years.
  2. The Board and the public charter school shall follow the following timeline unless a different timeline has been agreed upon by the Board and the public charter school:
  3. The public charter school shall submit a written renewal request to the Board for consideration at least 180 days prior to the expiration of the charter.
  4. Within 45 days after receiving a written renewal request from a public charter school, the Board shall hold a public hearing regarding the renewal request.
  5. Within 10 days after the public hearing, the Board shall notify the public charter school of the Board’s intent regarding the charter renewal.
  6. Within 20 days after the public hearing, the Board shall approve the charter renewal or state in writing the reasons for denying charter renewal.
  7. If the Board approves the charter renewal, the Board and the public charter school shall negotiate a new charter within 90 days unless the Board and the public charter school agree to an extension of the time period.
  8. If the Board does not renew the charter, the public charter school may address the reasons stated for denial for the renewal and any remedial measures suggested by the Board and submit a revised request for renewal to the Board.
  9. If the Board does not renew the charter based on the revised request for renewal, the public charter school may appeal the Board’s decision to the State Board of Education for a review of whether the Board used the process required by Oregon law in denying the charter renewal.
    1. If the State Board of Education finds that the Board used the appropriate process in denying the request for renewal, it shall affirm the decision of the Board.  A public charter may seek judicial review of this order.
    2. If the State Board of Education finds that the Board did not use the appropriate process in denying the request for renewal, it shall order the Board to reconsider the request for renewal.  If after reconsideration the Board does not renew the charter, the public charter school may seek judicial review of the Board’s decision.

8.  The Board shall base the charter renewal decision on a good faith evaluation of whether the public charter school:

a)    Is in compliance with all applicable state and federal laws;

b)    Is in compliance with the charter of the public charter school’

c)    Is meeting or working toward meeting the student performance goals and agreements specified in the charter or any other written agreements between the Board and the public charter school;

d)    Is fiscally stable; and

e)    Is in compliance with any renewal criteria specified in the charter of the public charter school. 

9.            The Board shall base the renewal evaluation described above primarily on a review of the public charter school’s annual performance reports, annual audit of accounts, and annual site visit and review and any other information mutually agreed upon by the public charter school and the Board.

CharterSchoolTermination

  1. The public charter school may be terminated by the Board for any of the following reasons:
  2. Failure to meet the terms of an approved charter agreement or any requirement of ORS Chapter 338 unless waived by the State Board of Education
  3. Failure to meet the requirements for student performance as outlined in the charter agreement
  4. Failure to correct a violation of federal or state law
  5. Failure to maintain insurance
  6. Failure to maintain financial stability
  7. Failure to maintain the health and safety of the students
  8. If a charter school is terminated by the Board, the following shall occur:
  9. The district shall give the public charter school a 60-day written notification of its decision
  10. The district shall state the grounds for termination and deliver notification to the business office of the public charter school
  11. The public charter school may request a hearing by the district.  The request must be made in writing and delivered to the business address of the sponsor.
  12. Within 30 days of receiving the request for a hearing, the sponsor must provide the public charter school with the opportunity for a hearing on the proposed termination.
  13. The public charter school may appeal the decision to terminate to the State Board of Education
  14. Throughout the appeals process the public charter school shall remain closed at the discretion of the district
  15. If terminated or dissolved, assets of the public charter school, purchased by the public charter school with public funds, shall be given to the State Board of Education.
  16. If the public charter school is terminated, closed or dissolved by the governing body of the public charter school, it shall be done only at the end of a semester and with 180 days’ notice to the district, unless the health and safety of the students are in jeopardy.  Such notice must be made in writing and be delivered to the business address of the sponsor.

Assets of a terminated, closed or dissolved public charter school that were obtained with grant funds will be dispersed according to the terms of the grant.  If the grant is absent any reference to ownership or distribution of assets of a terminated, closed or dissolved public charter school, all assets will be given to the State Board of Education for disposal.

District Immunity

The District, members of the Board and employees of the district are immune from civil liability with respect to the public charter school’s activities.

McMinnville Education Foundation website