Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Harry's Last Stand

Retiring State Representative Harry Moberly of Richmond has filed House Bill 7, a measure that could allow charter schools in Kentucky.

Moberly has long been a staunch advocate for providing better public schools in the state. (Or if you want a different slant, he got a semi-nice shout out from Andy Hightower at Kentucky Club for Growth.) Moberly's command of the state budgetary process and his support for KERA have distinguished him from journeyman legislators for thirty years. He was recently recognized by the Prichard Committee for his work.

House Bill 7 is very likely his last effort as a legislator.

Moberly told WHAS that he filed HB 7 at the request of Education Commissioner Terry Holliday who has said the addition of charter schools could give Kentucky the points it needs to do well in the next round of federal "Race To The Top" education grants.

Full implementation of Senate Bill 1 may well depend on securing federal dollars.

With a charter school law Kentucky stands to gain $175 million for the Commonwealth in the Obama administration's Race to the Top competition.
Governor Beshear says he'd consider amending his call if the 2 chambers could come to agreement on the bill Monday, in order to wrap up the special session in the allotted 5-day timeframe. He doesn't consider that likely, although he's in favor of the charter school idea.As it stands, the bill's been referred to a committee, but can't be given a first reading because it's not on the call, the specific agenda the Governor set for the session.
This from Brad Hughes at KSBA:


Charter school bill eliminates exemption option,
creates “district charter school” option

Bill not scheduled for special session action
- at this time


...Some of the new and/or different wrinkles in Moberly’s charter school bill compared to the Holliday proposal include:

Removing language that could have allowed Jefferson County Schools to opt out of considering charter schools. Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Sheldon Berman and some members of the Jefferson County school board have strongly opposed charter school legislation...

Creating the option of a “district charter school,” which would operate under the authority of the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) and not by the locally elected school board. Some independent system superintendents have publicly expressed interest in the district charter option...

... mandating that all participating students must either live in the charter-granting district or are covered by a non-resident enrollment pact with their home district.

... HB 7 would make the state board the “final decision-making authority over situations in which KBE determines actions of the local board were contrary to the best interests of students…

... exempts charters from having to adhere to the requirements of Kentucky’s school council statute, KRS 160.345.

Requiring, rather than permiting, local school boards to create review panels to consider all charter school applications before the board considers the proposals.

Placing charter schools under the same Open Meetings and Open Records requirements that apply to Kentucky public schools.

This bill summary from the LRC:

HB 7 (BR 15) - H. Moberly Jr.

AN ACT relating to charter schools, making an appropriation therefor, and declaring an emergency. Create new sections of KRS Chapter 60 to authorize the formation of charter schools within local school districts that are public schools converted from existing public schools;

  • the formation of district charter schools that are career academies, early, or middle colleges in cooperation with public postsecondary education institutions;
  • authorize the formation of a public statewide virtual charter school;
  • define terms;
  • provide that local school boards are the only authorizers of charter school and that the Kentucky Board of Education is the authorizer of a statewide virtual charter school, and the commissioner of education may approve a district charter school based on state board administrative regulations;
  • define the components that must be in an application for a charter or district charter school for initial approval and for renewal;
  • provide that charters may be approved for 3 year, 4 year, or 5 year contracts;
  • require annual financial audits and performance reviews based on the contract;
  • permit a charter to be revoked at any time or non-renewed for certain reasons;
  • require charter schools to serve only students that reside in the district and those eligible to attend school in the district based on local board nonresident student contracts;
  • require teachers in a charter school to meet Education Professional Standards Board certification requirements;
  • define the role of the Department of Education;
  • provide flexibility to charter schools to request waiver of selected statutory provisions and administrative regulations;
  • establish new sections of KRS Chapter 156 to require the state board to promulgate administrative regulations to implement charter schools;
  • create a new section of KRS 157 to describe how funds shall be distributed to a charter school;
  • create a new section of KRS 161 to provide that teachers in charter schools continue in Kentucky Teachers' Retirement and enable them to earn continuing service status under KRS 161.740;
  • APPROPRIATIONS; EMERGENCY.
The big honkin' Text of House Bill 7

AN ACT relating to charter schools, making an appropriation therefor, and declaring an emergency.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

SECTION 1. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 160 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

(1) It is the intent of the General Assembly to ensure that all children have the opportunity to learn in schools that reflect high expectations and to encourage the use of different, high-quality models of teaching, governing, scheduling, or other aspects of schooling that meet a variety of students' needs, including at-risk students, and hereby authorizes the formation of charter schools to benefit students, parents, teachers, and to increase community involvement.

(2) Charter schools shall:

(a) Focus on closing achievement gaps between high-performing and low-performing groups of public school students by expanding learning experiences for students who are identified as academically low-achieving;

(b) Increase student learning through the implementation of high, rigorous standards for student performance;

(c) Provide parents and students with expanded choices in the types of education opportunities that are available within the public school system; and

(d) Be allowed freedom and flexibility in exchange for exceptional levels of results-driven accountability.

SECTION 2. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 160 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

As used in Sections 1 to 8 of this Act:

(1) "At-risk student" means a student who is academically unprepared and has inadequate preparation for the next educational level, especially the student affected by socioeconomic or cultural factors;

(2) "Charter school" means a conversion school, which is nonsectarian, nonreligious, non-home-based, tuition-free public school that operates within a local school district; or a statewide virtual public school established by the Kentucky Department of Education through collaboration with Kentucky Educational Television and local school districts and approved by the Kentucky Board of Education; or a career academy, early or middle college operated as a district charter school under a third party contract with a public postsecondary education institution and approved by the commissioner of education;

(3) "Conversion school" means any existing public school that, upon the favorable vote of seventy-five percent (75%) of the faculty at the school and seventy-five percent (75%) of the voting parents of students enrolled in the school, chooses to apply to the local board of education in which the school is located to become a charter school;

(4) "Governing body" means the body identified by a charter school in its contract with a local board or the state board as appropriate that has legal responsibility and authority over the charter school policies, operations, and administration;

(5) "Local board" means the local board of education of a school district;

(6) "Local school district" means a county or independent school district;

(7) "State board" means the Kentucky Board of Education;

(8) "Qualified administrator" means a person certified by the Education Professional Standards Board under KRS 161.027 and 161.028; and

(9) "Qualified teacher" means a person certified by the Education Professional Standards Board under KRS 161.028, 161.030, 161.046, and 161.048.

SECTION 3. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 160 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

(1) A charter school shall be a public school within the school district that grants its charter and shall be accountable to the school district's local board of education for purposes of ensuring compliance with applicable laws and charter provisions. A school cannot apply to, or be granted a charter by, a local board unless all of the school's students reside in the chartering school district or qualify to attend a school in the chartering school district school under a nonresident student agreement. A district charter school or a state virtual charter school shall be accountable to the state board of education.

(2) A charter school shall be subject to all federal and state laws and constitutional provisions prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, gender, national origin, religion, ancestry, or need for special education services. Enrollment decisions shall be made in a nondiscriminatory manner as specified by the charter school applicant in the charter school application.

(3) A charter school shall be administered and governed by a governing body as specified by the charter school applicant and agreed to by the local board. A charter school may use a school-based decision making model within its governing structure, but it shall be exempt from the specific requirements of KRS 160.345, unless the contract includes those requirements.

(4) A charter school may organize as a nonprofit corporate entity organized under KRS Chapter 273 and exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

(5) A charter school for purposes of tax-exempt financing is a governmental entity. Direct leases and financial obligations of a charter school shall not constitute debt or financial obligations of the school district unless the school district specifically assumes such obligations.

(6) Based on the contract between the charter school and the local board, a charter school may not be subject to specific district policies and state administrative regulations, except a charter school shall not be exempt from annual financial and performance audits. Based on the contract, a local board may waive locally imposed school district requirements without seeking approval of the state board. The state board may waive state statutory requirements or administrative regulations promulgated by the state board, except those relating to curriculum, assessment, and accountability under KRS 158.6451, 158.6453, 158.6455, 158.6457, 158.6458, and 158.6459 and those specifically required in Sections 1 to 8 of this Act. Any waivers of statutory provisions or administrative regulations granted under this subsection shall be for the term of the charter, except the state board shall review any waivers granted every two (2) years and may revoke any waiver it deems no longer necessary.

(7) A charter school shall not charge tuition, except a charter school may charge fees as may be allowed by other schools within the school district in which it is located.

(8) A charter school shall be responsible for its own operation, including but not limited to preparation of a budget, contracting for services, and personnel matters.

(9) (a) A charter school may negotiate and contract with a school district or the governing board of a state public postsecondary education institution for the use of a school building and grounds, the operation and maintenance of the facility and grounds, and the provision of any service or activity that the charter school needs in order to offer the educational program described in its charter.

(b) A charter school shall not be required to pay rent for space which is deemed available, as negotiated by contract, in school district facilities. All other costs for the operation and maintenance of the facilities used by the charter school shall be subject to negotiation between the charter school and the local board.

(c) Any service that a local board provides to a charter school under its contract shall be provided at the district's cost.

(d) The charter shall have standing to sue and be sued in its own name for the enforcement of any contract entered into under this subsection.

(10) A charter school shall adhere to the same open meetings and open records, health, safety, and facility requirements as other public schools. Charter schools that are located in a school district's facilities shall be included in the district's local facility plan.

(11) A charter school's results on state assessments shall be included and reported in the chartering district's assessment results.

(12) No local school district shall be required to obligate local funds for the operation of a statewide virtual charter school.

SECTION 4. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 160 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

(1) An approved charter school application shall serve as the basis for a contract between the charter school and the local board of education. A revision of the terms of the contract may be made only with the approval of the local board and the governing body of the charter school.

(2) The charter school application shall be a proposed agreement and shall include:

(a) A mission statement for the charter school and a description of the educational program that it plans to implement;

(b) A description of the charter school's educational program, curriculum, and student achievement performance standards for the school's educational program. The educational programs shall meet or exceed the student performance standards adopted by the state board;

(c) A description of the methods for evaluating whether students have attained the skills and knowledge specified for its performance standards, the timeline for achievement of the standards, and the procedures for taking corrective action in the event that student performance at the charter school does not meet the standards;

(d) A description of the governance and operation of the charter school, including how parents, professional educators, and community members will be involved in the governance and operation of the school;

(e) Evidence that the plan for the charter school is economically sound for both the charter school and the school district, a proposed budget for the term of the charter, a description of how an annual audit of the financial and administrative operations of the charter school, including any services provided by the school district, is to be conducted;

(f) The employment policies and procedures of the school, including the employment of qualified teachers and administrators in compliance with KRS Chapter 161 and any locally bargained contract in effect;

(g) If appropriate, a plan for the displacement of students, teachers, and other employees who will not attend or be employed in a conversion school;

(h) A description of the charter school's enrollment policy;

(i) The rules and procedures by which students may be disciplined, including but not limited to expulsion or suspension from the school, which shall be consistent with the requirements of due process and with federal laws and regulations governing the placement of students with disabilities;

(j) A description of how the school plans to meet students' transportation needs;

(k) A description of the student ages and grade levels to be served by the school;

(l) The school calendar and school day schedule, which shall total at least the number of days, or their equivalent as provided under KRS 158.070, or as otherwise directed by the General Assembly;

(m) Types and amounts of insurance coverage to be obtained by the school, which shall include adequate insurance for liability, property loss, errors and omissions, and the personal injury of students in compliance with administrative regulations promulgated by the state board;

(n) The term of the charter, which shall be three (3), four (4), or five (5) years;

(o) A description of the health and food services to be provided to students attending the school;

(p) Methods and strategies for serving students with disabilities in compliance with all federal laws and regulations relating thereto;

(q) Procedures to be followed in the case of the closure or dissolution of the school, including provisions for the transfer of students and student records to the local school district in which the charter school is located or to another charter school located within the local school district as determined appropriate by the local board; and

(r) All requests for release of the charter school from specific state statutory and regulatory provisions.

(3) No person, group, or organization may submit an application to convert a private school or a nonpublic home-based education program into a charter school or to create a charter school which is a nonpublic home-based educational program.

(4) The following shall apply to the process for the submission and review of a charter school application:

(a) An applicant shall assure the local board that the charter school's students will reside in the chartering school district or qualify for attendance under a nonresidential student agreement with the chartering district;

(b) Applications shall be filed with the local board of education by October 1 to be eligible for consideration for the following school year;

(c) The local board of education shall review all applications and, if the board finds the charter school application is incomplete, the board shall request the necessary information from the charter applicant. The board shall appoint a district review committee to analyze the application before the board considers it for action. A district review committee may be composed of persons with a demonstrated knowledge of innovative educational practices, including charter schools, who may reside inside or outside the district; parents or legal guardians of students that reside in the school district; teachers and administrators; and community leaders;

(d) After giving reasonable public notice, the local board shall hold at least one (1) public meeting to obtain information to assist the board in making its decision to approve a charter school application. The local board of education shall take action on the application in a regularly scheduled meeting of the board within seventy-five (75) days after receiving the application filed under this section. All negotiations between the charter school and the local board on the contract shall be concluded by, and all terms of the contract agreed upon, no later than ninety (90) days after the local board of education rules on the application for a charter school unless the parties mutually agree to waive this deadline;

(e) If a local board denies a charter school application, it shall give its reasons for the denial to the applicant in writing. If a local board grants a charter, it shall send a copy of the approved charter to the Kentucky Department of Education within fifteen (15) days of granting the charter; and

(f) If a local board denies a charter school application or unilaterally imposes conditions for approval that are unacceptable to the charter applicant, the applicant may appeal the decision to the state board.

(5) The following shall apply to the initial approval and renewal of charter schools:

(a) A new charter school may be approved for a period of three (3), four (4), or five (5) years;

(b) Each renewal of a charter may be for a period not to exceed five (5) years with no limit on the number of renewals;

(c) A charter school renewal application shall be submitted to the local board and contain:

1. A report on the progress of the charter school in achieving the goals, objectives, student performance standards, content standards, and other terms of the initial approved charter application;

2. A financial statement that discloses the costs of administration, instruction, and other spending categories for the charter school that is transparent to the general public and that will allow comparison of such costs to other schools or other comparable organizations, in a format required by the state board; and

3. Requested changes to terms in the initial contract.

(6) A charter may be revoked at any time or not renewed by the local board if the board determines that the charter school did any of the following:

(a) Committed a material violation of any of the conditions, standards, or procedures set forth in the charter contract;

(b) Failed to meet or make reasonable progress toward achievement of the content standards or student performance standards identified in the charter contract;

(c) Failed to meet generally accepted standards of fiscal management; or

(d) Violated any provision of law from which the charter school was not specifically exempted.

(7) A local board may choose not to renew a charter if it determines that it is not in the interest of students residing within the school district to continue the operation of the charter school.

(8) A charter school that has its contract revoked or not renewed by a local board may appeal to the state board according to the procedures established by the state board under Section 6 of this Act.

SECTION 5. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 156 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

(1) Notwithstanding any other statute to the contrary, the commissioner of education may
approve a district charter for a career academy or middle or early college that is established by a local board and a public postsecondary education institution for purposes of granting high school and college credit and which allows students to fulfill high school graduation requirements and compulsory school attendance; providing rigorous academic curriculum within a supportive and nurturing environment for underserved students; and encouraging academic success by linking students, teachers, and community partners in innovative ways.


(2) The state board shall promulgate administrative regulations that:

(a) Define a career academy, middle college, and early college;

(b) Specify the required elements of the district application that mirror those items deemed appropriate by the state board that are application requirements for charter schools in Section 4 of this Act;

(c) Specify the annual reporting, auditing, and accountability requirements;
(d) Specify the procedures for approvals of contract amendments between the local district and the postsecondary education institutions;
(e) Specify the procedures for renewals of district charters; and
(f) Identify any other specifications needed for implementing district charter schools.
√ĘSECTION 6. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 156 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

(1) The Kentucky Board of Education shall promulgate administrative regulations to implement the establishment of charter schools under Sections 1 to 8 of this Act including:

(a) Procedures for resolutions of disputes between a charter school and a local board of education arising with regard to governing policy provisions of a charter school's charter contract;

(b) Procedures for appeal concerning the denial of a charter school application, the nonrenewal or revocation of a charter school's charter, or the unilateral imposition of conditions on a charter applicant;

(c) Evaluation and reporting requirements from local districts to the state board;

(d) Policy areas which may be considered by the state board for waivers from its administrative regulations or for waiver of statutory provisions; and

(e) Any other provisions necessary to implement charter schools within the state pursuant to Sections 1 to 8 of this Act.

(2) Appeals to the state board shall be reviewed based on the procedures established in administrative regulation under subsection (1) of this section; however, the state board shall have the final decision-making authority over situations in which the state board determines that the actions of the local board were contrary to the best interests of the students, school district, and the community and shall direct the local board in what actions to take.
√ĘSECTION 7. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 161 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

(1) (a) Teachers and employees in a charter school shall participate in the Kentucky Teachers' Retirement System and the Kentucky Employees Retirement System. The charter school shall remit to the retirement systems the employer contributions required by law for participating employers. Teachers and other certified personnel shall make the employee contributions to the Kentucky Teachers' Retirement System under KRS 161.540 and 161.560. Classified employees shall make the employee contributions to the Kentucky Employees Retirement System under KRS 61.543.

(b) Every charter school employee shall be provided the health and life insurance and other benefit programs extended to other school employees by the local board of education, unless the employee waives participation.

(c) A person who is employed in a charter school shall accrue service credit in the same manner as other school employees in the local district.

(2) All teachers employed in a charter school are eligible to receive continuing service status under KRS 161.740.
√ĘSECTION 8. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 157 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

(1) The local board shall pay the charter school any federal or state aid attributable to an exceptional student as defined in KRS 157.200 attending the charter school, in proportion to the level of services for the student that the charter school provides directly or indirectly.

(2) State, local, and school district funds shall be distributed to a charter school by using the same formulas and allocation processes as are used to distribute funds to any other school in the district. State and local funding shall be distributed monthly by the local board to the charter school beginning July 1 following the approval of the charter school's application. The local board shall continue to disburse funds to the charter school for the duration of its contract and for the duration of any subsequent renewals.

(3) During the years of the charter school's operation, as received and to the extent allowed by federal law, a local board shall distribute federal funds to the charter school on the basis of the number of special characteristics of the students attending the charter school.

(4) Notwithstanding subsection (2) of this section, the proportionate share of state and federal resources generated by exceptional students attending a charter school and funds generated under other federal or state categorical aid programs by students attending a charter school or staff serving them shall be directed to the local board of education for distribution to the charter school serving students eligible for aid under state and federal law.

(5) A charter school shall be eligible for federal and state competitive grants and shall not be excluded from opportunity to participate as long as the available grants align with the grade levels included in the charter school and the other criteria established for the respective grants.

(6) All awards, grants, or gifts received by a charter school shall be retained by the charter school.

(7) (a) The governing body of a charter school may accept gifts, donations, or grants of any kind made to the school and expend or use the gifts, donations, or grants in accordance with the conditions prescribed by the donor.

(b) A gift or donation shall not be required for admission to the charter school.

(c) A gift, donation, or grant shall not be accepted by the governing body if subject to a condition that is contrary to law or contrary to the terms of the contract between the charter school and local board.

(d) All gifts, donations, or grants shall be reported to the local school district in the charter school's annual audit report.

Section 9. Whereas it is necessary for the state board to promulgate administrative regulations in a timely manner in order to permit the implementation of a charter school option, an emergency is declared to exist, and this Act takes effect upon its passage and approval by the Governor or upon its otherwise becoming a law.

1 comment:

Penney said...

Thanks Rep. Moberly-

This bill draft looks like an excellent place to start KY's discussion of Charter schools.

Happy retirement-


Penney Sanders