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Engrossed Version Senate Bill 1007 History

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SB1007 SUB1 eng
ENGROSSED

COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE

FOR


Senate Bill No. 1007

(By Senator Tomblin (Mr. President),

By Request of the Executive)

____________

[Originating in the Committee on Education;

reported May 18, 2010.]

____________



A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §18-5C-1, §18-5C-2, §18-5C-3, §18-5C-4, §18-5C-5, §18-5C-6, §18-5C-7, §18-5C-8, §18-5C-9, §18-5C-10, §18-5C-11, §18-5C-12, §18-5C-13, §18-5C-14, §18-5C-15, §18-5C-16, §18-5C-17 and §18-5C-18, all relating to the creation of charter schools; defining terms; establishing legislative findings and purpose; providing that Charter Innovation Schools are part of the public education system; precluding the state board from capping the number of schools; providing that provisions should be liberally construed; establishing autonomy factors; providing application contents, submission, review and approval process; authorizing memorandums of agreement and charters; providing for the renewal, revocation and termination of schools; establishing powers and duties; requiring reports; establishing review factors; providing for site-based governance councils and membership; requiring county board to serve as fiscal agent for school; allowing site-based governance council to establish staff selection committee in collaboration with county board; providing for admissions and enrollment criteria for schools; establishing lottery requirements for admission to school; providing for credit transfers; requiring school district to provide information regarding school; requiring monitoring of schools; establishing funding requirements; authorizing the receipt of grants and other moneys; requiring the reporting of grants and other moneys; requiring a study of funding of schools; establishing transportation requirements; providing for facilities; requiring notice to the county board upon move or termination of the school; requiring a facilities plan; authorizing rules and emergency rules; authorizing virtual Charter Innovation Schools; permitting students to participate in extracurricular activities; and providing for charter transition schools.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
     That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §18-5C-1, §18-5C-2, §18-5C-3, §18-5C-4, §18-5C-5, §18-5C-6, §18-5C-7, §18-5C-8, §18-5C-9, §18-5C-10, §18-5C-11, §18-5C-12, §18-5C-13, §18-5C-14, §18-5C-15, §18-5C-16, §18-5C-17 and §18-5C-18 all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 5C. CHARTER INNOVATION SCHOOLS.
§18-5C-1. Definitions.

     Unless the context clearly requires a different meaning, as used in this article:
     (1) "Authorizer" means the state board.
     (2) "Council" means the site-based governance council of a Charter Innovation School.
     (3) "Charter Innovation School" or "authorized school" means a public school or a subdivision of a public school that:
     (A) Has autonomy over decisions including, but not limited to, matters concerning finance, staff selection, scheduling, curriculum and instruction;
     (B) Is governed by a council;
     (C) Is established and operating under the terms of a charter between the school's council and its authorizer;
     (D) Is a school to which parents choose to send their children;
     (E) Is a school that admits students on the basis of a lottery if more students apply for admission than can be accommodated;
     (F) Provides a program of education for any grade or grades from kindergarten through twelfth grade;
     (G) Operates in pursuit of a specific set of educational objectives as defined in its charter; and
     (H) Operates under the oversight of its authorizer in accordance with its charter.
     (5) "Nonauthorized school" is a public school that is not an authorized school.
     (6) "Sponsor" means the entity that files an application to be a Charter Innovation School in accordance with the provisions of this article. Sponsors may include a public school, a group of existing public schools, a subdivision of a public school, a public higher education institution in partnership with a public school or group of public schools, or a county board.
§18-5C-2. Legislative findings and purpose.
     (a) The Legislature finds that:
     (1) It is in the best interest of the people of the state to provide all children with public schools that reflect high expectations;
     (2) Education reform is necessary to strengthen the performance of elementary and secondary public school students;
     (3) Those who know students best, their parents and educators, make the best education decisions regarding the students;
     (4) Parents and educators have a right and a responsibility to participate in the education institutions which serve them;
     (5) Different students learn differently and public school programs should be customized to fit the needs of individual students; and
     (6) Certain parents, educators and other citizens in the state are willing and able to offer educational programs but lack a channel through which they can direct their efforts.
     (b) The purpose of this article is:
     (1) To close achievement gaps between high-performing and low-performing groups of public school students;
     (2) To increase high-quality educational opportunities within the public education system for all students;
     (3) To create new professional opportunities for teachers, school administrators and other school personnel that allow them to have a direct voice in the operation of their schools and to create a culture of shared decision-making toward the ultimate goal of raising student achievement;
     (4) To encourage the use of different, high-quality models of teaching, governing, scheduling or other aspects of schooling that meet a variety of student needs;
     (5) To allow public schools freedom and flexibility in exchange for exceptional levels of results-driven accountability;
     (6) To provide students, parents, community members and local entities with expanded opportunities for involvement in the public education system; and
     (7) To encourage the replication of successful Charter Innovation Schools.
§18-5C-3. General provisions.
     (a) All Charter Innovation Schools established under this article are public schools and are part of the state's public education system.
     (b) The state board may not cap the number of schools authorized under this article.
     (c) A school authorized under this article shall be part of the school district in which the school is located.
     (d) The provisions of this article shall be interpreted, construed and administered liberally to accomplish the purposes set forth in section two of this article and to advance a commitment by the state to the mission, goals and diversity of public education.
§18-5C-4. Autonomy of authorized school.
     (a) The sponsor, the authorizer and the site-based governance council shall encourage an authorized school to create a culture of shared decision-making toward the ultimate goal of raising student achievement.
     (b) An authorized school may have autonomy regarding certain elements of governance and instruction. In accordance with its charter, the authorized school may:
     (1) Determine the learning model of the school, which shall be aligned with the objectives of the West Virginia Department of Education;
     (2) Determine the school's leadership model that shall include a principal as well as groups of teacher leaders;
     (3) Select and structure curriculum, instructional practices, professional development and formative assessment practices aligned with the objectives of the West Virginia Department of Education: Provided, That the school may not be exempt from assessments mandated by federal, state or county requirements;
     (4) Create family involvement programs that assure strong parental input and access;
     (5) Create student policies including promotion, attendance and discipline policies: Provided, That the school shall comply with sections one-a and one-b, article five, chapter eighteen-a of this code regarding the expulsion of students.
     (6) Determine the length of school day and year, preparation time or other related areas, subject to county board approval;
     (7) Plan and manage the budget for the school;
     (8) Recommend the selection of classroom teachers or other professional personnel employed at the school; and
     (9) Determine any other autonomies stipulated in the application, other than section seven, article two, chapter eighteen-a of this code and sections seven-a, seven-b, eight and eight-b, article four, chapter eighteen-a of this code, necessary to increase student learning and further the goals of the school.
§18-5C-5. Application development and process.
     (a) A sponsor may apply for authorization as a Charter Innovation School. Before submitting an application, the sponsor shall undergo a planning process to develop the application. The state board shall offer technical assistance to all sponsors during the planning process. The technical assistance shall include, but not be limited to, a review of state statutes and state board rules, the creation of a core founding group, access to experts and the design of a comprehensive school plan. Sponsors may obtain available funding from state and federal planning grants, private foundation grants and corporate grants.
     (b) The state board shall develop, through rule, an application process that encompasses at least the following:
     (1) The manner, time and process for the submission of a Charter Innovation School application; and
     (2) The contents of the application, including:
     (A) A detailed plan for education, including the mission, goals, objectives and strategies for improving student learning;
     (B) Performance criteria to be used to measure student learning and achievement of state goals;
     (C) Student admissions procedures, including the ways by which the school will achieve socioeconomic, racial and ethnic diversity, and student dismissal procedures;
     (D) A plan for the governance, administration and operation of the Charter Innovation School including the composition of the site-based governance council, the manner in which the council will be selected, and provisions for involvement of parents, professional personnel and community members in the governance and operation of the Charter Innovation School;
     (E) A description of the facilities that will house the authorized school and under what terms and conditions they are to be provided;
     (F) The services to be provided by the county board and the services to be provided by third parties and a memorandum of understanding signed by the sponsor and the county board which shall specify the roles, powers and responsibilities of each entity.  The memorandum of understanding shall address, but is not limited to, transportation and facilities maintenance provided by the county board;
     (G) The procedures to be followed to ensure the health and safety of students and staff;
     (H) A financial plan including a proposed budget and the manner in which the funds will be managed in accordance with the required accounting procedures for public schools;
     (I) An agreement to provide an annual report to parents, the community and the county board indicating demographic information about the student body, staff credentials, student turnover rate, educational program, student performance on state assessments, sources of revenue and financial accounting of expenditures;
     (J) A plan for evaluating the effectiveness of the school and progress made toward achieving the school goals; and
     (K) The proposed bylaws of the school.
§18-5C-6. Responsibilities of the State Board, West Virginia Department of Education and the county boards.
     (a) The county board and the state shall review applications for approval for authorized schools in accordance with this article.
    (b) The state superintendent shall review data on Charter Innovation Schools and may provide potential sponsors, the county boards, the state board and the public with topical studies relating to authorized schools as well as the results of any evaluation of existing authorized schools.
     (c) The state superintendent shall monitor the status of Charter Innovation School applications and shall maintain information on the total number of Charter Innovation School applications submitted, total number of authorizations granted by type of school and total number of applications denied.
     (d) The state superintendent shall compare the performance of authorized school students with the performance of ethnically and economically comparable groups of students in other public schools who are enrolled in academically comparable courses.
     (e) The state board may authorize regional education service agencies to provide support and assistance to the county boards, including facilities, personnel and other such services.
     (f) Each county board shall make an annual report to the state board and the State Superintendent addressing any successful innovations applied in authorized schools which may be replicated in other schools. The report shall provide information about how nonauthorized public schools may implement these innovations, especially through reliance on article five-b of this chapter.

§18-5C-7. Approval of applications; renewal, revocation and termination of authorized status.

  (a) Approval process. -- The state board shall promulgate a rule for the recommendation and approval of an application. The rule shall provide for:
  (1) The review of the application by the county board and the state board;
  (2) The requirement that both the county board and the state board approve an application in order for a school to become a Charter Innovation School;
  (3) Requiring the county board or state board, as applicable, to communicate its reasons to the school when denying an application and allowing the school to resubmit the application.
  (b) Factors considered. -- The county board and state board shall consider the following factors when evaluating an application, in addition to any other factors set forth in state board rules:
  (1) The level of staff commitment to apply for designation as an authorized school as determined by a vote by secret ballot at a special meeting of all employees regularly employed at the school who are eligible to vote. At least sixty percent of employees affected by the implementation of the application submitted by the sponsor must vote to apply for authorization as a Charter Innovation School;
  (2) Support from parents, students, the community, the county board, the local school improvement council and school business partners; and
  (3) The potential for an applicant to be successful as a Charter Innovation School.
  (c) Authorization and charter. -- Upon authorization by the state board, the school shall be authorized for three years. The application approved by the county board and approved by the state board shall become the charter of the authorized school. Authorization may be renewed for a term of up to five years by the state board. The state board shall oversee the renewal of the Charter Innovation School pursuant to a rule promulgated by the state board. If renewal of the application is denied, the state board shall communicate its reasons to the school an allow the school to resubmit the application.
  (d) Revocation. -- The state board may revoke a school's authorized status before the end of the three- or five-year term, as applicable, if the state board determines that the authorized school has not demonstrated appropriate growth in student achievement, that the school has not met the conditions outlined in the charter, or that the council has engaged in gross misconduct, mismanagement of funds, incompetence or willful neglect of duty that is detrimental to student achievement.
  (e) Dissolution. -- Upon dissolution of a Charter Innovation School for any reason, including nonrenewal, any unencumbered public funds from the authorized school shall revert to the county board of the district in which the school is located.
§18-5C-8. Site-based governance council.
  (a) In accordance with its charter, each authorized school will elect or select a site-based governance council to provide ongoing oversight of the school, effectiveness of the leadership team, finances and facilities.    
  (b) The charter shall set forth the council membership. The council membership shall include, but not be limited to, administrators, classroom teachers, service personnel, community members and parents. Classroom teachers shall comprise the majority of the membership. The county superintendent or his or her designee shall be an ex officio, nonvoting member of the council.
  (c) The council may appoint a staff selection committee to participate in the county board's hiring process by interviewing principals and classroom teachers considered for employment at the authorized school. The staff selection committee may make recommendations to the county superintendent and county board. The staff selection committee shall have no more than five members and shall include representation from the faculty senate, if applicable, and the council.
§18-5C-9. Admissions and enrollment; lottery requirements.
(a) General requirements. --

  (1) An authorized school shall be open to any student residing in the state.
  (2) A school district may not require any student enrolled in the school district to attend an authorized school.
  (3) An authorized school may not limit admission based on ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, income level, disabling condition, exceptionality, proficiency in the English language, or academic or athletic ability. An authorized school shall seek equitable distribution of students that is representative of other students in the county.
  (4) An authorized school may limit admission to students within a given age group or grade level.
  (5) An authorized school shall enroll all students seeking 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 seeking to attend the school, the authorized school shall select students through a lottery, as outlined in subsection (b).
  (b) Lottery requirements and enrollment preferences. --
  (1) Any nonauthorized public school converting entirely to an authorized school shall adopt and maintain a policy that allows all students who reside within the attendance area of the former nonauthorized school to enroll in the authorized school.
  (2) If capacity is insufficient to enroll all students seeking to attend an authorized school, the authorized school shall adopt and maintain a policy consistent with its charter for enrollment. The policy must state how enrollment preferences shall be implemented and must provide for the following:
  (A) Any nonauthorized public school converting partially to an authorized school shall give enrollment preference to students who reside in the attendance area.
  (B) An authorized school shall give enrollment preference to students enrolled in the school the previous school year and to siblings of students already enrolled in the school.
  (C) The authorized school shall select students through a lottery after all enrollment preferences are considered.
  (c) Credit transfer. -- A public school enrolling a student who was previously enrolled in an authorized school shall accept credits earned by the student in courses or instructional programs at the authorized 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. -- A school district shall provide information to parents and the general public within the district about authorized schools within the district to the same extent and through the same means that the district provides and publicizes information about nonauthorized public schools in the district.
§18-5C-10. Personnel.
  (a) Authorized schools shall comply with federal and state laws and regulations regarding personnel certification and teaching requirements.
  (b) Employees of authorized schools shall be employees of the county board.
  (c) An employee regularly employed at an authorized school or a school applying for authorization whose job duties may be affected by the authorization may request a transfer to another school in the school district. The county board shall make every reasonable effort to accommodate the transfer.
§18-5C-11. Monitoring and accountability.
  (a) Preopening requirements or conditions. -- The state board may establish reasonable preopening requirements or conditions to monitor the start-up progress of newly approved authorized schools to ensure that they are prepared to open without difficulty on the date agreed, and to ensure that each school meets all building, health, safety, insurance and other legal requirements for school opening.
  (b) Monitoring. -- Authorized schools shall be monitored at least annually by the Office of Education Performance Audits. Schools shall be monitored on the following items:
  (1) Success in student achievement using assessments required of other students statewide, including the student growth model;
  (2) Success in meeting goals set forth in its charter;
  (3) The responsible use of public funds and the reporting of the use of funds in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles; and
  (4) Compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations.
§18-5C-12. Funding; fiscal agent.
  (a)(1) The county board of the county in which an authorized school is located remains fiscally responsible for operational support of the school, including the business functions, facilities, student transportation, child nutrition and all other student services normally provided by the school district as set forth in article five-c of this chapter and in the charter. The county board shall be fiscally responsible for child nutrition and all other student services normally provided by the school district.
  (2) The county board shall allocate the same amount of funds on a per pupil basis to the authorized school as is allocated to all other schools, as defined and determined by the county board.  The per pupil expenditure shall be based on the second month head count enrollment of the district for the previous school year. All funds allocated by the county board shall be spent according to the budget of the authorized school, subject to state and federal law. The authorized school shall comply with state board and county board purchasing requirements.
  (b) For a new authorized school not created from an existing public school, funds which would otherwise be allocated on the basis of enrollment in the new authorized school in the prior year shall be allocated, during the first full academic year of operation of such authorized school, on the basis of the anticipated enrollment in the application as approved by the county board. The county board shall subsequently adjust the amount to reflect the actual number of students enrolled.
  (c)(1) Charter Innovation School sponsors, authorized schools, county boards and the State Superintendent may apply for federal funds appropriated for the support of Charter Innovation Schools.   (2) The schools may receive additional funds from the following:
  (A) Federal grants, including federal funds appropriated for the support of Charter Innovation Schools;
  (B) Gifts, devises or donations from any private sources;
  (C) State funds appropriated for the support of Charter Innovation Schools, if any; and
  (D) Any other funds that may be received by the county board of the district in which the authorized school is located.
  (3) A sponsor and an authorized school shall report to the county board the receipt of any of the funds listed in this subsection, except funds from the county board.
  (d) A council may present independent information to the county board regarding equity of funding.
  (e) County boards with Charter Innovation Schools within the district shall conduct a triennial comprehensive study to evaluate the equality of funding and programs among the various schools within the county, including any authorized schools within the county. Such study shall consider issues including, but not limited to, cost per pupil and availability of curriculum and programs. The state board shall assist the county board and shall provide a format for the report. The first report compiling the results of this study shall be due July 1, 2013. County boards shall submit the report to the state board.
  (f) The county board shall serve as the fiscal agent for the school.
§18-5C-13. Student transportation.
  Transportation shall be provided by the county board of the district within which the authorized school is located consistent with the district's transportation policy for the regular schools within the district.
§18-5C-14. Facilities.
  (a) To the extent practicable, an authorized school shall be housed in existing district school buildings or buildings which are not being used for educational purposes due to school merger or closure. Such schools shall meet applicable health and safety standards as specified by the county board or state board rule, any applicable rules of the School Building Authority of West Virginia, and other agencies of state and county government having jurisdiction for such, including, but not limited to, health departments.
  (b) An authorized school may negotiate and contract 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 a school building.
  (c) The county board shall provide maintenance for an authorized school facility. Such maintenance services shall be provided by the county board in the same manner in which maintenance services are provided to the regular schools in the county.
  (d) The state board shall require the authorized school to develop a three-year facilities plan, including specific recommendations regarding how its facility or facilities will be maintained. The plan must be submitted to the state board in the sponsor's application.
  (e) The county board shall make available to a sponsor or an authorized school, upon request, a list of vacant and unused buildings and vacant and unused portions of buildings that are owned by the school district and that may be suitable for the operation of an authorized school.
  (f) An authorized school may operate within an existing public school: Provided, That the existing public school wherein an authorized school seeks to operate consents to the operation in writing based on the approval of at least sixty percent of its Local School Improvement Council and at least sixty percent of the affected school employees through a secret ballot. The votes shall be conducted in accordance with county board policies regarding such voting. The county board policies shall detail the manner in which an election shall be conducted.
  (g) The council of an authorized school that disbands, chooses alternate facilities approved by the county board, or has its charter revoked shall notify the county board of such circumstances at least one-hundred eighty days in advance or immediately upon receiving notification of the revocation of the authorized status.
§18-5C-15. Extracurricular activities.
  Authorized school students may participate in school district athletic and extracurricular activities to the extent determined by regulation of the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission and as applied uniformly throughout the state.
§18-5C-16. Virtual Charter Innovation Schools.
  The state board may promulgate a rule in accordance with article three-b, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code that establishes conditions for the creation of Virtual Charter Innovation Schools.
§18-5C-17. Charter Innovation Transition Schools.
  (a) A Charter Innovation Transition School is a school or a subdivision of a public school approved by the county board and the state board after submitting an application for approval. A Charter Innovation Transition School shall be an existing public school and may not be a newly created school.
  (b) The state board shall develop, through rule, an expedited application process for public schools to apply to become a Charter Innovation Transition School. The application process shall encompasses at least the following:
  (1) A detailed research based plan for education, including the mission, goals, objectives and strategies for improving student learning;
  (2) Identification of an education service provider (ESP);
  (3) Requests for waivers of statute or state board policy, if any; and
  (4) An agreed upon memorandum of understanding between the school, the county board and the education service provider for the provision of assistance by the education service provider for the entire school operation or the management of the school or only the learning program.
  (c) The Charter Innovation Transition School shall communicate any successful practices to the state board so that they can be replicated in other public schools.
  (e) An education service provider (ESP) is a non-profit organization that may enter into a memorandum of understanding with an existing public school to develop a transitional plan to be submitted in an application to become a Charter Innovation Transition School and assist in the implementation of comprehensive reform as outlined in the transitional plan. An education service provider shall be affiliated with a regionally accredited institution of higher education and may work with one or more schools that desire to be a Charter Innovation Transition School. An education service provider shall be authorized by the state board.
  (f) Once a Charter Innovation Transition School's application is approved by both the county board and that state board, any statutes or policies for which exemptions are requested are waived.
  (g) No Charter Innovation Transition School may seek exemption from section seven, article two, chapter eighteen-a of this code and sections seven-a, seven-b, eight and eight-b, article four, chapter eighteen-a of this code.
  (h) Only the provisions of this section apply to a Charter Innovation Transition Schools.
  (i) The state board shall promulgate rules in accordance with article three-b, chapter twenty-nine-a to implement the provisions of this section.
§18-5C-18. Rulemaking authority.
  The state board shall promulgate rules, including emergency rules, if necessary, in accordance with article three-b, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code to implement the provisions of this article.
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