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Charter School Oversight   

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Charter schools are generally exempt from provisions of the Education Code unless they are expressly included in the law. However, charter schools are subject to the terms of their charters, any memorandum of understanding with their chartering authority, and other legal requirements including, but not limited to, requirements that each charter school:

1. Comply with the state and federal constitution and applicable federal laws

2. Comply with state laws that apply to governmental agencies in general, such as the Brown Act requirements in Government Code 54950-54963

3. Be nonsectarian in its programs, admission policies, employment practices, and all other operations (Education Code 47605)

4. Not discriminate against any student on the basis of the characteristics listed in Education Code 220 (Education Code 47605)

5. Not charge tuition (Education Code 47605)

6. Not charge student fees for any activity that is an integral component of the educational program, except as authorized by those Education Code provisions that explicitly apply to charter schools

7. Adhere to all laws establishing minimum age for public school attendance (Education Code 47610)

8. Serve students who are California residents and who, if over 19 years of age, are continuously enrolled in a public school and making "satisfactory progress" toward a high school diploma as defined in 5 CCR 11965 (Education Code 47612)

9. Serve students with disabilities in the same manner as such students are served in other public schools (Education Code 47646, 56145)

10. Admit all students who wish to attend the school, according to the following criteria and procedures:

a. Admission to the charter school shall not be determined according to the student's place of residence, or that of his/her parents/guardians, within this state, except that any existing public school converting partially or entirely to a charter school shall adopt and maintain a policy giving admission preference to students who reside within the school's former attendance area. (Education Code 47605)

However, if a charter school will be physically located in a public elementary school attendance area in which 50 percent or more of the student enrollment is eligible for free or reduced-price meals, it may also establish an admissions preference for students who are currently enrolled in the public elementary school and for students who reside in the public school attendance area. (Education Code 47605.3)

b. If the number of students who wish to attend the charter school exceeds the school's capacity, attendance shall be determined by a public random drawing, except that preferences shall be extended to students currently attending the charter school and students who reside in the district, except as provided for in Education Code 47614.5. (Education Code 47605)

c. Other admissions preferences may be established on an individual school basis as consistent with law.

11. If the school offers a kindergarten program, offer a transitional kindergarten program to eligible students who do not yet meet the age criterion for entry into kindergarten (Education Code 48000)

12. Require its teachers 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 (Education Code 47605)

13. Require its teachers of core academic subjects to satisfy requirements for "highly qualified teachers" as defined by the State Board of Education (SBE) (20 USC 6319; 34 CFR 300.18)

14. Not hire any person, in either a certificated or classified position, who has been convicted of a violent or serious felony except as otherwise provided by law (Education Code 44830.1, 45122.1)

15. Meet the requirements of Education Code 47611 regarding the State Teachers' Retirement System (Education Code 47610)

16. Meet the requirements of Government Code 3540-3549.3 related to collective bargaining in public education employment (Education Code 47611.5)

17. If applicable, meet federal requirements for qualifications of paraprofessionals working in programs supported by Title I funds (20 USC 6319)

18. Meet all statewide standards and conduct the student assessments required by Education Code 60605 and 60851 and any other statewide standards or assessments applicable to noncharter public schools (Education Code 47605, 47612.5)

19. Offer at least the number of instructional minutes set forth in Education Code 47612.5 for the grade levels provided by the charter school (Education Code 47612.5)

20. Meet the requirements of Education Code 51745-51749.3 if it provides independent study, except that it may be allowed to offer courses required for graduation solely through independent study as an exception to Education Code 51745(e) (Education Code 47612.5, 51747.3; 5 CCR 11705)

21. Identify and report to the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) any portion of its average daily attendance that is generated through nonclassroom-based instruction, including, but not limited to, independent study, home study, work study, and distance and computer-based education (Education Code 47612.5, 47634.2; 5 CCR 11963.2)

22. On a regular basis, consult with parents/guardians and teachers regarding the school's educational programs (Education Code 47605)

23. Provide students the right to exercise freedom of speech and of the press including, but not limited to, the use of bulletin boards; the distribution of printed materials or

petitions; the wearing of buttons, badges, and other insignia; and the right of expression in official publications (Education Code 48907, 48950)

24. Maintain written contemporaneous records that document all student attendance and make these records available for audit and inspection (Education Code 47612.5)

25. If a student subject to compulsory full-time education is expelled or leaves the charter school without graduating or completing the school year for any reason, notify the Superintendent of the school district of the student's last known address within 30 days and, upon request, provide that district with a copy of the student's cumulative record, including a transcript of grades or report card, and health information (Education Code 47605)

26. Comply with the California Building Standards Code as adopted and enforced by the local building enforcement agency with jurisdiction over the area in which the charter school is located, unless the charter school facility meets either of the following conditions: (Education Code 47610, 47610.5)

a. The facility complies with the Field Act pursuant to Education Code 17280-17317 and 17365-17374.

b. The facility is exclusively owned or controlled by an entity that is not subject to the California Building Standards Code, including, but not limited to, the federal government.

27. Promptly respond to all reasonable inquiries from the district, the county office of education, or the SPI, including, but not limited to, inquiries regarding its financial records (Education Code 47604.3)

28. Annually prepare and submit financial reports to the Governing Board and the County Superintendent of Schools in accordance with the following reporting cycle:

a. By July 1, a preliminary budget for the current fiscal year. For a charter school in its first year of operation, financial statements submitted with the

charter petition pursuant to Education Code 47605(g) will satisfy this requirement. (Education Code 47604.33)

b. By December 15, an interim financial report for the current fiscal year reflecting changes through October 31. (Education Code 47604.33)

c. By March 15, a second interim financial report for the current fiscal year reflecting changes through January 31. (Education Code 47604.33)

d. By September 15, a final unaudited report for the full prior year. The report submitted to the Board shall include an annual statement of all the charter school's receipts and expenditures for the preceding fiscal year. (Education Code 42100, 47604.33)

e. By December 15, a copy of the charter school's annual, independent financial audit report for the preceding fiscal year, unless the charter school's audit is encompassed in the district's audit. The audit report shall also be submitted to the state Controller and the California Department of Education. (Education Code 47605)


version: August 9, 2012 Petaluma, California