(a) (1) In addition to the authority provided by Section 47605.5, a county board of education may also approve a petition for the operation of a charter school that operates at one or more sites within the geographic boundaries of the county and that provides instructional services that are not generally provided by a county office of education. A county board of education may approve a countywide charter only if it finds, in addition to the other requirements of this section, that the educational services to be provided by the charter school will offer services to a pupil population that will benefit from those services and that cannot be served as well by a charter school that operates in only one school district in the county. A petition for the establishment of a countywide charter school pursuant to this subdivision may be circulated throughout the county by any one or more persons seeking to establish the charter school. The petition may be submitted to the county board of education for review after either of the following conditions is met:
(A) The petition is signed by a number of parents or guardians of pupils residing within the county that is equivalent to at least one-half of the number of pupils that the charter school estimates will enroll in the school for its first year of operation and each of the school districts where the charter school petitioner proposes to operate a facility has received at least 30 days' notice of the petitioner's intent to operate a charter school pursuant to this section.
(B) The petition is signed by a number of teachers that is equivalent to at least one-half of the number of teachers that the charter school estimates will be employed at the school during its first year of operation and each of the school districts where the charter school petitioner proposes to operate a facility has received at least 30 days' notice of the petitioner's intent to operate a charter school pursuant to this section.
(2) An existing public school shall not be converted to a charter school in accordance with this section.
(3) After receiving approval of its petition, a charter school that proposes to establish operations at additional sites within the geographic boundaries of the county board of education shall notify the school districts where those sites will be located. The charter school shall also request a material revision of its charter by the county board of education that approved its charter and the county board of education shall consider whether to approve those additional locations at an open, public meeting, held no sooner than 30 days following notification of the school districts where the sites will be located. If approved, the location of the approved sites shall be a material revision of the charter school's approved charter.
(4) A petition shall include a prominent statement indicating that a signature on the petition means that the parent or guardian is meaningfully interested in having his or her child or ward attend the charter school, or in the case of a teacher's signature, means that the teacher is meaningfully interested in teaching at the charter school. The proposed charter shall be attached to the petition.
(b) No later than 60 days after receiving a petition, in accordance with subdivision (a), the county board of education shall hold a public hearing on the provisions of the charter, at which time the county board of education shall consider the level of support for the petition by teachers, parents or guardians, and the school districts where the charter school petitioner proposes to place school facilities. Following review of the petition and the public hearing, the county board of education shall either grant or deny the charter within 90 days of receipt of the petition. However, this date may be extended by an additional 30 days if both parties agree to the extension. A county board of education may impose any additional requirements beyond those required by this section that it considers necessary for the sound operation of a countywide charter school. A county board of education may grant a charter for the operation of a charter school under this part only if it is satisfied that granting the charter is consistent with sound educational practice and that the charter school has reasonable justification for why it could not be established by petition to a school district pursuant to Section 47605. The county board of education shall deny a petition for the establishment of a charter school if it finds one or more of the following:
(1) The charter school presents an unsound educational program for the pupils to be enrolled in the charter school.
(2) The petitioners are demonstrably unlikely to successfully implement the program set forth in the petition.
(3) The petition does not contain the number of signatures required by subdivision (a).
(4) The petition does not contain an affirmation of each of the conditions described in subdivision (e).
(5) The petition does not contain reasonably comprehensive descriptions of all of the following:
(A) (i) The educational program of the charter school, designed, among other things, to identify those pupils whom the charter school is attempting to educate, what it means to be an "educated person" in the 21st century, and how learning best occurs. The goals identified in that program shall include the objective of enabling pupils to become self-motivated, competent, and lifelong learners.
(ii) The annual goals for the charter school for all pupils and for each subgroup of pupils identified pursuant to Section 52052, to be achieved in the state priorities, as described in subdivision (d) of Section 52060, that apply for the grade levels served, or the nature of the program operated, by the charter school, and specific annual actions to achieve those goals. A charter petition may identify additional school priorities, the goals for the school priorities, and the specific annual actions to achieve those goals.
(iii) If the proposed charter school will enroll high school pupils, the manner in which the charter school will inform parents regarding the transferability of courses to other public high schools. Courses offered by the charter school that are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges may be considered to be transferable to other public high schools.
(iv) If the proposed charter school will enroll high school pupils, information as to the manner in which the charter school will inform parents as to whether each individual course offered by the charter school meets college entrance requirements. Courses approved by the University of California or the California State University as satisfying their prerequisites for admission may be considered as meeting college entrance requirements for purposes of this clause.
(B) The measurable pupil outcomes identified for use by the charter school. "Pupil outcomes," for purposes of this part, means the extent to which all pupils of the charter school demonstrate that they have attained the skills, knowledge, and aptitudes specified as goals in the charter school's educational program. Pupil outcomes shall include outcomes that address increases in pupil academic achievement both schoolwide and for all groups of pupils served by the charter school, as that term is defined in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) of Section 47607. The pupil outcomes shall align with the state priorities, as described in subdivision (d) of Section 52060, that apply for the grade levels served, or the nature of the program operated, by the charter school.
(C) The method by which pupil progress in meeting those pupil outcomes is to be measured. To the extent practicable, the method for measuring pupil outcomes for state priorities shall be consistent with the way information is reported on a school accountability report card.
(D) The location of each charter school facility that the petitioner proposes to operate.
(E) The governance structure of the charter school, including, but not limited to, the process to be followed by the charter school to ensure parental involvement.
(F) The qualifications to be met by individuals to be employed by the charter school.
(G) The procedures that the charter school will follow to ensure the health and safety of pupils and staff. These procedures shall include the requirement that each employee of the charter school furnish the charter school with a criminal record summary as described in Section 44237.
(H) The means by which the charter school will achieve a racial and ethnic balance among its pupils that is reflective of the general population residing within the territorial jurisdiction of the school district to which the charter petition is submitted.
(I) The manner in which annual, independent, financial audits shall be conducted, in accordance with regulations established by the state board, and the manner in which audit exceptions and deficiencies shall be resolved.
(J) The procedures by which pupils can be suspended or expelled from the charter school for disciplinary reasons or otherwise involuntarily removed from the charter school for any reason. These procedures, at a minimum, shall include an explanation of how the charter school will comply with federal and state constitutional procedural and substantive due process requirements that is consistent with all of the following:
(i) For suspensions of fewer than 10 days, provide oral or written notice of the charges against the pupil and, if the pupil denies the charges, an explanation of the evidence that supports the charges and an opportunity for the pupil to present his or her side of the story.
(ii) For suspensions of 10 days or more and all other expulsions for disciplinary reasons, both of the following:
(I) Provide timely, written notice of the charges against the pupil and an explanation of the pupil's basic rights.
(II) Provide a hearing adjudicated by a neutral officer within a reasonable number of days at which the pupil has a fair opportunity to present testimony, evidence, and witnesses and confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses, and at which the pupil has the right to bring legal counsel or an advocate.
(iii) Contain a clear statement that no pupil shall be involuntarily removed by the charter school for any reason unless the parent or guardian of the pupil has been provided written notice of intent to remove the pupil no less than five schooldays before the effective date of the action. The written notice shall be in the native language of the pupil or the pupil's parent or guardian or, if the pupil is a foster child or youth or a homeless child or youth, the pupil's educational rights holder, and shall inform him or her of the right to initiate the procedures specified in clause (ii) before the effective date of the action. If the pupil's parent, guardian, or educational rights holder initiates the procedures specified in clause (ii), the pupil shall remain enrolled and shall not be removed until the charter school issues a final decision. For purposes of this clause, "involuntarily removed" includes disenrolled, dismissed, transferred, or terminated, but does not include suspensions specified in clauses (i) and (ii).
(K) The manner by which staff members of the charter school will be covered by the State Teachers' Retirement System, the Public Employees' Retirement System, or federal social security.
(L) The procedures to be followed by the charter school and the county board of education to resolve disputes relating to provisions of the charter.
(M) Admission policy and procedures, consistent with subdivision (e).
(N) The public school attendance alternatives for pupils residing within the county who choose not to attend the charter school.
(O) The rights of an employee of the county office of education, upon leaving the employment of the county office of education, to be employed by the charter school, and any rights of return to the county office of education that an employee may have upon leaving the employ of the charter school.
(P) The procedures to be used if the charter school closes. The procedures shall ensure a final audit of the charter school to determine the disposition of all assets and liabilities of the charter school, including plans for disposing of any net assets and for the maintenance and transfer of public records.
(6) A declaration of whether or not the charter school shall be deemed the exclusive public school employer of the employees of the charter school for purposes of the Educational Employment Relations Act (Chapter 10.7 (commencing with Section 3540) of Division 4 of Title 1 of the Government Code).
(7) Any other basis that the county board of education finds justifies the denial of the petition.
(c) A county board of education that approves a petition for the operation of a countywide charter may, as a condition of charter approval, enter into an agreement with a third party, at the expense of the charter school, to oversee, monitor, and report to the county board of education on the operations of the charter school. The county board of education may prescribe the aspects of the charter school's operations to be monitored by the third party and may prescribe appropriate requirements regarding the reporting of information concerning the operations of the charter school to the county board of education.
(d) (1) Charter schools shall meet all statewide standards and conduct the pupil assessments required pursuant to Section 60605 and any other statewide standards authorized in statute or pupil assessments applicable to pupils in noncharter public schools.
(2) Charter schools shall on a regular basis consult with their parents and teachers regarding the charter school's educational programs.
(e) (1) In addition to any other requirement imposed under this part, a charter school shall be nonsectarian in its programs, admission policies, employment practices, and all other operations, shall not charge tuition, and shall not discriminate against any pupil on the basis of ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or disability. Except as provided in paragraph (2), admission to a charter school shall not be determined according to the place of residence of the pupil, or of his or her parent or guardian, within this state.
(2) (A) A charter school shall admit all pupils who wish to attend the charter school.
(B) If the number of pupils who wish to attend the charter school exceeds the charter school's capacity, attendance, except for existing pupils of the charter school, shall be determined by a public random drawing. Preference shall be extended to pupils currently attending the charter school and pupils who reside in the county except as provided for in Section 47614.5. Preferences, including, but not limited to, siblings of pupils admitted or attending the charter school and children of the charter school's teachers, staff, and founders identified in the initial charter, may also be permitted by the chartering authority on an individual charter school basis. Priority order for any preference shall be determined in the charter petition in accordance with all of the following:
(i) Each type of preference shall be approved by the chartering authority at a public hearing.
(ii) Preferences shall be consistent with federal law, the California Constitution, and Section 200.
(iii) Preferences shall not result in limiting enrollment access for pupils with disabilities, academically low-achieving pupils, English learners, neglected or delinquent pupils, homeless pupils, or pupils who are economically disadvantaged, as determined by eligibility for any free or reduced-price meal program, foster youth, or pupils based on nationality, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
(iv) In accordance with Section 49011, preferences shall not require mandatory parental volunteer hours as a criterion for admission or continued enrollment
(C) In the event of a drawing, the county board of education shall make reasonable efforts to accommodate the growth of the charter school and in no event shall take any action to impede the charter school from expanding enrollment to meet pupil demand.
(3) If a pupil is expelled or leaves the charter school without graduating or completing the school year for any reason, the charter school shall notify the superintendent of the school district of the pupil's last known address within 30 days and shall, upon request, provide that school district with a copy of the cumulative record of the pupil, including report cards or a transcript of grades, and health information. If the pupil is subsequently expelled or leaves the school district without graduating or completing the school year for any reason, the school district shall provide this information to the charter school within 30 days if the charter school demonstrates that the pupil had been enrolled in the charter school. This paragraph applies only to pupils subject to compulsory full-time education pursuant to Section 48200.
(f) The county board of education shall not require an employee of the county or a school district to be employed in a charter school.
(g) The county board of education shall not require a pupil enrolled in a county program to attend a charter school.
(h) The county board of education shall require that the petitioner or petitioners provide information regarding the proposed operation and potential effects of the charter school, including, but not limited to, the facilities to be used by the charter school, the manner in which administrative services of the charter school are to be provided, and potential civil liability effects, if any, upon the charter school, any school district where the charter school may operate, and upon the county board of education. The petitioner or petitioners shall also be required to provide financial statements that include a proposed first-year operational budget, including startup costs, and cashflow and financial projections for the first three years of operation.
(i) In reviewing petitions for the establishment of charter schools within the county, the county board of education shall give preference to petitions that demonstrate the capability to provide comprehensive learning experiences to pupils identified by the petitioner or petitioners as academically low achieving pursuant to the standards established by the department under Section 54032, as that section read before July 19, 2006.
(j) Upon the approval of the petition by the county board of education, the petitioner or petitioners shall provide written notice of that approval, including a copy of the petition, to the school districts within the county, the Superintendent, and the state board.
(k) If a county board of education denies a petition, the petitioner may not elect to submit the petition for the establishment of the charter school to the state board.
(l) Teachers in charter schools shall be required to hold a Commission on Teacher Credentialing certificate, permit, or other document equivalent to that which a teacher in other public schools would be required to hold. These documents shall be maintained on file at the charter school and shall be subject to periodic inspection by the chartering authority.
(m) A charter school shall transmit a copy of its annual, independent, financial audit report for the preceding fiscal year, as described in subparagraph (I) of paragraph (5) of subdivision (b), to the county office of education, the Controller, and the department by December 15 of each year. This subdivision does not apply if the audit of the charter school is encompassed in the audit of the chartering entity pursuant to Section 41020.
(n) A charter school may encourage parental involvement but shall notify the parents and guardians of applicant pupils and currently enrolled pupils that parental involvement is not a requirement for acceptance to, or continued enrollment at, the charter school.
(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 760, Sec. 3.)