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
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
ARTICLE 5C. CHARTER INNOVATION SCHOOLS.
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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
§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
(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
(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
(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:
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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(2) Support from parents, students, the community, the county
board, the local school improvement council and school business
(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.
(a) Authorized schools shall comply with federal and state
laws and regulations regarding personnel certification and teaching
(b) Employees of authorized schools shall be employees of the
(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
(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
(4) Compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws
§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
(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
(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
§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.
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
§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
(2) Identification of an education service provider (ESP);
(3) Requests for waivers of statute or state board policy, if
(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
(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
(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