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Tuolumne COE |  BP  0420.4  Philosophy, Goals, Objectives and Comprehensive Plans

Charter Schools   

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The County Board of Education (County Board, Board) encourages the establishment of charter schools in Tuolumne County as an integral part of the California educational system. The Board believes that charter schools provide an opportunity to implement school-level reform, and to support innovations that improve student learning while enabling students to become self-motivated, competent, lifelong learners. These schools shall operate under the provisions of their charters, specific state and/or federal laws, Title 5, the California Code of Regulations adopted by the State Board of Education, and the general oversight of the chartering authority.

Petitions for the establishment of charter schools shall be submitted to the County Board for approval, under the following provisions:

County Program Charters

County Program Charters serve students for whom the Tuolumne County Office of Education would otherwise be responsible for providing direct education and related services. (Education Code 47605.5)

Countywide Charters

Countywide Charters provide instructional services not generally provided by the Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools Office to a student 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. (Education Code 47605.6(d))

Secondary Applications

A charter school petition denied by a district governing board of a school district within the County Board's jurisdiction may be submitted to the County Board for approval within 180 calendar days of the denial. If, upon receipt of the petition, the Board fails to act within 120 days, the petitioner(s) may seek judicial review of the district board's denial. (Education Code 47605, 5 CCR 11967)

Criteria for Granting Charters

The following policy provisions shall pertain to all petitions received by the County Board, except where noted. The Board also shall assess community support for the charter school and the ability of the school to provide opportunities not currently available at district schools.

It is the objective of the County Board that teachers, parents, and guardians of pupils may petition the Board to approve a charter school in accordance with the following procedures:

A. Petition

Charter petitioners shall submit ten (10) printed copies of the charter as well as one (1) electronic copy of the charter school petition.

A petition to the County Board to approve any type of charter as outlined above shall include all information required by Education Code 47605 et seq.

1. The name, address and phone number of each applicant, together with a statement signed by each of them, formally applying to the Board for approval of the charter school.

2. A thorough description of the education, work experience, credentials, degrees and certifications of the individuals to comprise the directors, administrators and managers of the proposed charter school.

3. The applicable By-laws, articles of incorporation, policies, procedures, and other management documents proposed to govern the charter school. The information in this section shall specify that the charter school will be subject to the Brown Act, the Public Records Act, and the Conflict of Interest requirements of common law. (Government Code 1090 and the Fair Political Practices Act, Government Code 83111 et seq.)

4. A list of consultants whom the petitioners propose to engage for the development, operation, and evaluation of the charter school, together with a thorough description of the qualifications of each consultant.

5. The names, addresses and telephone numbers of those persons endorsing the proposal, with original signatures of such petitioners, and in the form provided in Education Code 47605.6. The petition for must indicate that a copy of the charter school proposal was attached such that petitioners were able to review it prior to signing. Parents/guardians signing the petition must reside in Tuolumne County and must have one or more children who are age appropriate for the proposed charter school. Teachers signing the petition must be properly credentialed to teach in the proposed charter school. The board may investigate the validity of signatures submitted in support of the charter school petition.

6. Countywide Charter School Proposals shall include reasonably comprehensive descriptions of those elements of school philosophy, curriculum, and practice, as called for in Education Code 47605.6(b)(5)(A) through 47605.6(b)(5)(Q) inclusive. Charter Secondary Applications and County Program Charters shall include the descriptions called for in Education Code 47605(b)(5)(A) through 47605(b)(5)(P) inclusive. The descriptions for all charters shall include information on whether the program is classroom based or uses any distance-learning instructional strategies.

A "reasonably comprehensive" description, within the meaning of Education Code 47605(b)(5) and 5 CCR 11967.5.1 shall include, but not be limited to, information that:

a. Is substantive and is not, for example, a listing of topics with little elaboration.

b. For elements that have multiple aspects, addresses essentially all aspects of the elements, not just selected aspects.

c. Is specific to the charter petition being proposed, not to charter schools or charter petitions generally.

d. Describes, as applicable among the different elements, how the charter school will:

i. Improve student learning.

ii. Increase learning opportunities for its students, particularly students who have been identified as academically low achieving.

iii. Provide parents, guardians, and students with expanded educational opportunities.

iv. Hold itself accountable for measurable, performance-based student outcomes.

v. Provide vigorous competition with other public school options available to parents, guardians, and students.

7. A description of how the charter school shall meet all statewide standards and conduct the pupil assessments required pursuant to Education Code 60605 and any other statewide standards required by statute or pupil assessments as applicable to pupils in non charter public schools. The description shall state whether the charter school intends to participate in the Alternative Schools Accountability Model (ASAM) or the main accountability system.

8. A signed statement affirming that the school shall be nonsectarian in its programs, admissions policies, employment practices, and all other operations, and that it shall not charge tuition, nor discriminate against any person on the basis of ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, gender expression or disability as set forth in Education Code 47605.6(e)(1).

9. The address and a description of the charter school facilities, located within the geographic boundaries of the county, together with documentation sufficient to provide reasonable evidence that the charter school facility is safe, habitable, and well-suited for its educational purpose, and that the applicant has secured, or has reasonable assurance of securing, the facilities for use by the charter school.

10. A description of the proposed charter school's building maintenance, replacement, and expansion policies, including related financial projections. Current financial statements for the charter school, including a detailed balance sheet and statements of income and expense, shall be included in cases of renewal applications. Additionally, a three to five year business plan shall be included.

11. A detailed, complete, and fully annotated operational budget with estimates of charter school revenues and expenditures, cash-flows, and reserve positions for the first three years of operation, including startup costs and the precise salary and benefits paid and to be paid to the persons identified in paragraphs A(1), A(2), A(4), and A(13) of this policy.

12. A narrative from the charter school applicant providing a thorough description of the potential civil liability, if any, on the charter school, any school district where the charter school may operate, and the Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools Office.

13. A summary of the administrative structure and organization of the school, including special education, the educational agency liaison, and other basic elements of school operation. This section should detail the proposed academic calendar including: days of instruction, hours of operation, and expectations for pupil attendance and annual instructional minutes for each grade level to be served.

14. The manner, form and content by which the charter school proposes to regularly report to the County Board, or designee, concerning charter implementation, measurable student progress, current and projected financial viability of the school, and School Accountability Report Card (SARC) performance.

15. Description of how the school will inform parents about the transferability of courses to other public high schools and the eligibility of courses to meet college entrance requirements for charter schools serving high school students.

16. A description of charter school admission procedures where applicable.

17. A complete description of how the charter school will serve special education students, low-achieving and other special needs students.

18. The augmented plans to ensure the health and safety of students and staff beyond those listed as Required Elements (EC 47605.6(b)(5)(G) for Countywide Charters, and 47605(b)(5)(F) for Charter Appeals or County Program Charters), including any plans for additional tuberculosis screening, student supervision, safety training for staff, and immunization screening requirements.

19. A description of the procedures to be used if the charter school closes. These procedures shall ensure a final audit of the school to determine the disposition of all assets and liabilities of the charter school, including plans for the disposal of assets and for the maintenance and transfer of pupil records. The Board expresses a preference for procedures that include a provision whereby residual assets of the charter school will accrue to the benefit of the Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools Office (TCSOS).

20. The County Board and/or the County Superintendent may impose any additional requirements deemed necessary for the sound operation of a Countywide Charter petition. (EC 47605.6(b)(6))

B. Process

1. Upon receipt of a petition, a designated employee of the TCSOS shall date stamp the cover page of the submitted materials. A charter school petition shall include all of the information referenced in the Charter Schools Act by which the County Board may evaluate the application. While a charter school petition may be submitted at any time during the year, applicants are encouraged to submit a petition during a period when a regular Board meeting is scheduled to occur within the next 30 days. In addition, petitioners seeking approval to commence charter school operation at the start of the next school year shall initiate the process not later than the prior December 15th. In the case of petitions received after that date, The Board reserves the right to consider approval on the basis of a one-year delay in the commencement of charter school operation.

2. Not later than 60 days after receiving the Countywide Charter School Petition, or 30 days after receiving a Charter Appeal or County Program Charter School Petition, the Board shall hold a public hearing on the provisions of the charter, at which time the level of support for the petition by teachers, other employees, parents and guardians, and the school districts where the charter school applicants propose to place school facilities shall be considered. Charter school applicants shall be provided an opportunity to appear and provide testimony to the County Board.

3. In the case of a Countywide Charter School Petition, each school district where the charter school proposes to operate a facility is notified in advance of the charter school proposal.

4. Countywide Charter Petitions shall either be granted or denied by the board within 90 days of receipt or 120 days based upon agreement between the applicant and TCSOS.

Charter Appeal and County Program Charter Petitions: shall be either granted or denied within 60 days of receipt or 90 days based upon agreement between the applicant and TCSOS.

When any charter petition/appeal is approved, the County Office shall notify the Charter School Section of the State Department of Education, and all other legally required agencies, including the school districts within the county.

C. Denial of Petition - Findings

It is the intent of the Board that charter schools with sound educational practice should be encouraged. The Board shall not deny a direct or appeal petition unless the Board makes written factual findings, specific to the particular petitioner, setting forth specific facts to support one, or more, of the following findings:

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.

4. The petition does not contain an affirmation of each of the conditions as described in EC 47605.6(d).

5. The petition does not contain reasonably comprehensive descriptions of the charter provisions in EC 47605(b).

6. In addition to 1-5 above, Countywide Charters have the following provisions:

a. The petition does not provide reasonable justification for why it could not be established by petition to a school district as provided by law

b. Any other basis that the Board finds justifies denial of the petition.

The Board shall deny the charter petition if it makes any of the findings 1 through 6 above.

The Board shall deny any petition to authorize the conversion of a private school to a charter school or that proposes to serve students in a grade level that is not served by the district, unless the petition proposes to serve students in all the grade levels served by the district.

The Board shall not deny a petition for the establishment of a charter school based on actual or potential costs of students with disabilities.

D. Charter Approval

An initial approval of a charter petition by the Board shall be for a period normally not to exceed three years. In no case shall the Board approve a charter for more than five years.

E. Charter School Monitoring

The Board shall monitor each charter school to determine whether it makes "adequate yearly progress" as defined by the State Board of Education and federal Title I accountability requirements. If a charter school fails to make adequate yearly progress for two or more consecutive years, the Board shall take action for program improvement in accordance with law, Board policy, and administrative regulations.

F. Charter Renewal and Revocations

Upon the request of the charter school that it would like to renew its charter and at least 90 days before the expiration date of the charter, the Board shall evaluate the charter school's performance and determine whether to renew the charter for an additional term.

Renewal shall be subject to the school's ability to demonstrate reasonable, measurable progress toward the goals specified in its charter, including but not limited to: evidence of student achievement and other student outcomes; compliance with legal requirements; fiscal management; parent/guardian, student and staff satisfaction with the program; and the ability of the school's governance structure to provide access and accountability to the public. The Board may require that the school amend its charter to address any new issues before granting renewal.

During the term of any charter, the Board may revoke the charter if deemed necessary in accordance with the law, board policy and administrative regulations.

G. Miscellaneous

1. Should a charter school elect to operate as, or be operated by, a nonprofit public benefit corporation, the County Board may appoint a representative to serve on the board of directors of that corporation.

2. A charter school shall promptly respond to all reasonable inquiries and/or requests for written information of any kind or sort from the TCSOS, without charge.

3. The County Superintendent or designee is charged with developing such administrative regulations as may be necessary or prudent to implement this policy.

4. Nothing contained in this policy shall be interpreted to mean that any charter school is not otherwise required to meet all legal regulatory standards and requirements, as well as comply with all generally accepted principles and practices of sound accounting, management, and education.

Legal Reference:

EDUCATION CODE

47600-47616.7 Charter Schools Act of 1992

Policy TUOLUMNE COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS

adopted: March 13, 2017 Sonora, California