Senate Bill No. 591
(By Senator Sprouse)
[Introduced February 14, 2002; referred to the Committee
on Education; and then to the Committee on Finance.]
A BILL to amend chapter eighteen of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by adding
thereto a new article, designated article ten-f, relating to
establishing charter schools; stating objectives and
definitions; how established and operated; providing for
contracts for public charter schools and release from certain
policies and rules; review of applications by local or county
boards of education; decision of county board final with no
right of review; restrictions; terms, renewals and
revocations; employment of personnel; funding and services
provided; annual evaluations; permitting joint and regional
schools; and authorizing right of imminent domain for such
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That chapter eighteen of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by adding
thereto a new article, designated article ten-f, to read as
ARTICLE 10F. ESTABLISHMENT OF CHARTER SCHOOLS.
§18-10F-1. Objectives; definitions.
(a) In order to: (i) Stimulate the development of innovative
programs within public education; (ii) provide opportunities for
innovative instruction and assessment; (iii) provide parents and
students with more options within their school districts; (iv)
provide teachers with a vehicle for establishing schools with
alternative innovative instruction and school scheduling,
management and structure; (v) encourage the use of performance-
based educational programs; (vi) establish high standards for both
teachers and administrators; and (vii) develop models for
replication in other public schools, public charter schools may be
established in West Virginia as provided in this article.
(b) As used in this article:
"At-risk pupil" means a student having a physical, emotional,
intellectual, socioeconomic or cultural risk factor, as defined in
board of education criteria, which research indicates may
negatively influence educational success.
"Public charter school" means a public, nonsectarian,
nonreligious, or nonhome-based alternative school located within a
public school district. A public charter school may be created as a new public school or through the conversion of all or part of an
existing public school; however, no public charter school may be
established through the conversion of a private school or a
nonpublic-based educational program. A charter school for at-risk
pupils may be established as a residential school.
"Regional public charter school" means a public charter school
operated by two or more county school boards and chartered directly
by the participating county school boards.
§18-10F-2. Establishment and operation of public charter schools;
(a) A public charter school is subject to all federal and
state laws and rules and constitutional provisions prohibiting
discrimination on the basis of disability, race, creed, color,
gender, national origin, religion, ancestry or need for special
education services and is subject to any court-ordered
desegregation plan in effect for the school district or, in the
case of a regional public charter school, any court-ordered
desegregation plan in effect for participating school districts.
Enrollment is open to any child who is determined to reside
within the relevant school district or, in the case of a regional
public charter school, within any of the participating school
districts, through a lottery process on a space-available basis.
A waiting list shall be established if adequate space is not
available to accommodate all students whose parents have requested to be entered in the lottery process. The waiting list shall also
be prioritized through a lottery process and parents shall be
informed of their student's position on the list.
(b) A public charter school shall be administered and managed
by a management committee, composed of parents of students enrolled
in the school, teachers and administrators working in the school,
and representatives of any community sponsors, in a manner agreed
to by the public charter school applicant and the local school
board. Pursuant to a charter contract, a public charter school may
operate free from specified school district policies and state
rules, and, as public schools, is subject to the requirements of
the standards of quality, including the standards of learning and
the standards of accreditation.
(c) Pursuant to a charter agreement, a public charter school
is responsible for its own operations, including, but not limited
to, such budget preparation, contracts for services, and personnel
matters as are specified in the charter agreement. A public
charter school may negotiate and contract with a school district,
the governing body of a public institution of higher education, or
any third party for the use of a school building and grounds, the
operation and maintenance thereof, and the provision of any
service, activity, or undertaking which the public charter school
is required to perform in order to carry out the educational
program described in its charter. Any services for which a public charter school contracts with a school district may not exceed the
district's costs to provide these services.
(d) In no event may a public charter school be required to pay
rent for space which is determined available as negotiated by
contract, in school district facilities. All other costs for the
operation and maintenance of the facilities used by the public
charter school are subject to negotiation between the public
charter school and the school district or, in the case of a
regional public charter school, between the regional public charter
school and the participating school districts.
(e) A public charter school may not charge tuition.
§18-10F-3. Contracts for public charter schools; release from
certain policies and rules.
An approved charter application constitutes an agreement, and
its terms are the terms of a contract between the public charter
school and the local school board or, in the case of a regional
public charter school, between the regional public charter school
and the participating county school boards. The contract between
the public charter school and the county school board or
participating school boards shall reflect all agreements regarding
the release of the public charter school from school district
policies. The contract between the public charter school and the
county school board or participating school boards shall reflect
all requests for release of the public charter school from state rules. The county school board or participating school boards, on
behalf of the public charter school, shall request the releases
from the board of education.
If the charter application proposes a program to increase the
educational opportunities for at-risk students, including those
proposals for residential charter schools for at-risk students, the
county school board or participating school boards, as the case may
be, on behalf of the public charter school, shall also request that
the board of education approve an individual school accreditation
plan for the evaluation of the performance of the school.
Any material revision of the terms of the contract may be made
only with the approval of the county school board or participating
school boards and the management committee of the public charter
§18-10F-4. Charter application.
(a) Any person, group or organization may submit an
application for the formation of a public charter school.
(b) The public charter school application shall be a proposed
agreement and shall include:
(1) The mission statement of the public charter school that
must be consistent with the principles of the standards of quality.
(2) The goals and educational objectives to be achieved by the
public charter school, which educational objectives must meet or
exceed the standards of learning.
(3) Evidence that an adequate number of parents, teachers,
pupils or any combination thereof, support the formation of a
public charter school.
(4) A statement of the need for a public charter school in a
school district or participating school districts in the case of a
regional public charter school, or in a geographic area within a
school district or participating school districts, as the case may
(5) A description of the public charter school's educational
program, pupil performance standards and curriculum, which must
meet or exceed any applicable standards of quality; the assessments
to be used to measure pupil progress towards achievement of the
school's pupil performance standards; the timeline for achievement
of the standards; and the procedures for taking corrective action
in the event that pupil performance at the public charter school
falls below those standards.
(6) A description of the lottery process to be used to
determine enrollment. A lottery process shall also be developed
for the establishment of a waiting list for students for whom space
is unavailable and, if appropriate, a tailored admission policy
that meets the specific mission or focus of the public charter
school and is consistent with all federal and state laws and rules
and constitutional provisions prohibiting discrimination that are
applicable to public schools and with any court-ordered desegregation plan in effect for the school district or, in the
case of a regional public charter school, in effect for any of the
participating school districts.
(7) Evidence that the plan for the public charter school is
economically sound for both the public charter school and the
school district or participating school districts, as the case may
be; a proposed budget for the term of the charter; and a
description of the manner in which an annual audit of the financial
and administrative operations of the public charter school,
including any services provided by the school district or
participating school districts, as the case may be, is to be
(8) A plan for the displacement of pupils, teachers and other
employees who will not attend or be employed in the public charter
school and for the placement of public charter school pupils,
teachers and employees upon termination or revocation of the
(9) A description of the management and operation of the
public charter school, including the nature and extent of parental,
professional educator, and community involvement in the management
and operation of the public charter school.
(10) An explanation of the relationship that will exist
between the proposed public charter school and its employees,
including evidence that the terms and conditions of employment have been addressed with affected employees.
(11) An agreement between the parties regarding their
respective legal liability and applicable insurance coverage.
(12) A description of how the public charter school plans to
meet the transportation needs of its pupils.
(13) Assurances that the public charter school: (i) Is
nonsectarian in its programs, admission policies, employment
practices, and all other operations; and (ii) does not charge
(14) In the case of a residential charter school for at-risk
students, a description of: (i) The residential program,
facilities, and staffing; (ii) any parental education and
after-care initiatives; (iii) the funding sources for the
residential and other services provided; and (iv) any counseling or
other social services to be provided and their coordination with
any current state or county initiatives.
§18-10F-5. Review of public charter school applications.
(a) Public charter school applications may only be received
and reviewed by a county school board or, in the case of a regional
public charter school, by all of the participating school boards,
after public notice, a public hearing, and adoption by the county
school board or boards of a resolution stating the intent to
receive applications for the establishment of other public charter
schools in the relevant school districts. The public notice shall appear once a week for two successive weeks in a newspaper having
a general circulation in the jurisdiction of the relevant school
districts. The second publication may not be sooner than one
calendar week after the first publication.
Each county school board that adopts a resolution announcing
its intent to accept applications for public charter schools and
publishes the notice of its intent shall establish procedures for
receiving, review and ruling upon applications and shall make a
copy of any procedures available to all interested parties upon
request. If any board finds the public charter school application
is incomplete, the board shall request the necessary information
from the charter applicant.
(b) To provide appropriate opportunity for input from parents,
teachers and other interested parties and to obtain information to
assist county school boards in their decisions to grant a public
charter school application, county school boards may establish a
procedure for public notice, comment or hearings on public charter
(c) Each county school board shall provide public notice by
the thirtieth day of December, two thousand two, of its intent to
accept or not to accept applications for public charter schools.
§18-10F-6. Decision of county board final.
The decision of a county school board to grant or deny a
public charter school application or to revoke or fail to review a charter agreement is final and is not subject to appeal.
§18-10F-7. Public charter school restrictions.
(a) On and after the first day of July, two thousand one,
county school boards electing to receive applications for public
charter schools may establish public charter schools within the
school district and may limit the number of schools so established;
however, the total number of public charter schools, including
those designed to increase educational opportunities for at-risk
pupils but not including any regional public charter schools, may
not exceed ten percent of the school district's total number of
schools or two public charter schools, whichever is greater.
Priority shall be given to public charter school applications
designed to increase the educational opportunities of at-risk
students, and at least one half of the public charter schools per
district shall be for at-risk students.
(b) County school boards that grant public charter school
applications shall report the action to the state board and shall
specify the maximum number of charters that may be authorized, if
any; the number of charters granted; and whether a public charter
school is designed to increase the educational opportunities of
(c) Nothing in this article may be construed to prevent a
school that is the only school in the district from applying to
become a public charter school.
§18-10F-8. Public charter school term; renewals and revocations.
(a) A charter may be approved or renewed for a period not to
exceed three school years. A public charter school renewal
application submitted to the county school board or, in the case of
a regional public charter school, to the participating school
boards shall contain:
(1) A report on the progress of the public charter school in
achieving the goals, objectives, program and performance standards
for students, and such other conditions and terms as the school
board or boards may require upon granting initial approval of the
charter application; or
(2) A financial statement, on forms prescribed by the state
board, that discloses the costs of administration, instruction and
other spending categories for the public charter school and that
has been concisely and clearly written to enable the school board
or boards and the public to compare the costs to those of other
schools or comparable organizations.
(b) County school boards may revoke a charter if the public
(1) Violates the conditions, standards or procedures
established in the public charter school application;
(2) Fails to meet or make reasonable progress toward
achievement of the content standards or student performance
standards identified in the charter application;
(3) Fails to meet generally accepted standards of fiscal
(4) Violates any provision of law from which the public
charter school was not specifically exempted.
A charter may be revoked if the county school board
determines, in its discretion, that it is not in the public
interest or for the welfare of the students within the school
district to continue the operation of the school or, in the case of
a regional public charter school, to continue its participation in
the operation of the school.
(c) Nothing in this section may be construed to restrict the
authority of county school boards to decline to renew a charter
§18-10F-9. Employment of professional, licensed personnel.
(a) Public charter school personnel shall be employees of the
county school board or boards granting the charter.
(b) Professional, licensed education personnel may volunteer
for assignment to a public charter school. Assignment in a public
charter school shall be for one contract year. Upon request of the
employee and the recommendation of the management committee of the
public charter school, reassignment to the public charter school
shall occur on an annual basis.
(c) At the completion of each contract year, professional,
licensed education personnel who request assignment to a public noncharter school in the relevant school district or who are not
recommended for reassignment in the public charter school shall be
guaranteed an involuntary transfer to a public noncharter school in
the school district according to the employment policies of the
(d) Professional, licensed personnel of a public charter
school shall be granted the same employment benefits given to
professional, licensed personnel in public noncharter schools in
accordance with the policies of the relevant schools board or
(e) Nothing in this section may be construed to restrict the
authority of the county school board to assign professional,
licensed personnel to a public charter school or any other public
(f) School boards may employ such health, mental health,
social service and other related personnel to serve in residential
charter schools for at-risk pupils as set forth in the charter
agreement between the school board and the charter school; however,
nothing herein requires a school board to fund the residential or
other services provided by a residential charter school.
§18-10F-10. Funding of public charter schools; services provided.
(a) For the purposes of this article, students enrolled in a
public charter school shall be included in the average daily
membership of the relevant school district; however, public charter schools may not be reported in fall membership for purposes of
calculating the state and county shares required to fund the
standards of quality if the enrollment at the public charter school
is less than one hundred students and constitutes less than five
percent of the total enrollment of the relevant grades in that
(b) Insofar as constitutionally valid, a county school board
or, in the case of a regional public charter school, the
participating school boards may establish by contract an agreement
stating the conditions for funding the public charter school,
including funding for the educational program to be provided by a
residential charter school for at-risk students.
(c) Services provided the public charter school by the county
school board or participating school boards may include food
services; custodial and maintenance services; curriculum, media,
and library services; warehousing and merchandising; and such other
services not prohibited by the provisions of this article or state
and federal laws.
(d) Funding and service agreements between county school
boards and public charter schools may not provide a financial
incentive or constitute a financial disincentive to the
establishment of a public charter school, including any regional
public charter school.
(e) Any educational and related fees collected from students enrolled at a public charter school shall be credited to the
account of the public charter school established by the relevant
county school board.
(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the
proportionate share of state and federal resources allocated for
students with disabilities and school personnel assigned to special
education programs shall be directed to public charter schools
enrolling these students. The proportionate share of moneys
allocated under other federal or state categorical aid programs
shall be directed to public charter schools serving students
eligible for this aid.
(g) The management committee of a public charter school may
accept gifts, donations or grants of any kind made to the public
charter school land to spend these funds in accordance with the
conditions prescribed by the donor. However, no gift, donation or
grant may be accepted by the management committee of a public
charter school if the conditions for the funds are contrary to law
or the terms of the agreement between the county school board and
the public charter school or, in the case of a regional public
charter school, the participating school boards and the regional
public charter school.
(h) The state board of education shall provide technical
assistance to county school boards electing to receive, review and
act upon applications for public charter schools.
§18-10F-11. Evaluation of public charter schools; reports.
County school boards establishing public charter schools shall
submit annual evaluations of the schools to the state board of
education. The state board shall review the evaluations against
any board rules and policies waived for the public charter schools
to determine the efficacy of the waivers and whether the public
charter schools accomplished established goals and objectives. The
county school boards shall also submit annually to the state board
a comparison of the performance of public charter school students
and students enrolled in the regular schools of such relevant
school district and a report of the number of students enrolled in
the public charter schools at the end of the school year.
The state board shall report annually its findings and
evaluations of any public charter schools established in the state
to the governor and the Legislature, beginning in January, two
§18-10F-12. Joint and regional schools; regional public charter
Two or more county school boards may, with the consent of the
state board, establish joint or regional schools, including
regional public charter schools and regional residential charter
schools for at-risk pupils, for the use of their respective school
districts and may jointly purchase, take, hold, lease, convey and
condemn both real and personal property for the joint, regional or regional public charter schools. The county school boards, acting
jointly, have the same power of condemnation as other county school
boards except that land so condemned may not be in excess of thirty
acres for the use of any one joint or regional school. The title
to all property acquired for these purposes shall vest jointly in
the county school boards in the respective proportions as the
county school boards may determine, and the schools shall be
managed and controlled by the county school boards jointly, in
accordance with such rules promulgated by the state board.
However, the rules in force at the time of the adoption of a plan
for the operation of a joint, regional or regional public charter
school may not be changed for the joint, regional or regional
public charter school by the state board without the approval of
the county school boards. The county school boards operating a
regional public charter school shall determine the school district
to which any regional public charter school is assigned for the
purposes of any restrictions on the number of public charter
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to authorize the
establishment of charter schools in West Virginia.
This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.