SCS/SBs 291, 184 & 294 – This act modifies the charter school laws.
SECTION 160.400 - Charter schools may be operated in school districts other than St. Louis and Kansas City provided they are sponsored by the school board of the district in which they are located.
This act prohibits a charter school governing board member from being selected by an employee of a company that provides substantial services to the school.
A charter school sponsor must develop policies and procedures for the review of a charter school proposal and the awarding of a charter, including procedures to be used when a school closes for the transfer or repository of student records and the disposition of school assets.
If the state board serves as interim sponsor of a charter school, the board may revoke the school's charter if the school fails to meet academic performance or other goals in the charter.
This act allows the Special Administrative Board of the St. Louis City School District to be the sponsor of a charter school and declare itself as the local education agency of the charter school for school funding purposes. If the special administrative board if dissolved, the charter school may continue to operate provided it seeks and obtains a new sponsorship under the new governing board of the school district.
SECTION 160.405 - This act replaces the requirement that a charter state educational goals and objectives to be achieved by the school with the requirement that the charter contain an accountability plan, as described in the act. If the charter school is operated by a management company, the charter must also contain a copy of the written contract.
A charter must be submitted to the sponsor by August 15 of the year prior to the proposed opening date.
Charter schools must conduct a background check of education personnel, including through the Family Care Safety Registry.
Charter schools may be classified as experiencing financial stress by the Department of Elementary and Secondary education. When a charter school finishes a school year with a combined fund balance of less than one percent of the amount spent from the previous fiscal year, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must notify the charter school.
Charter school board members who neglect or refuse to comply with statutory duties will be subject to a misdemeanor violation.
Charter schools will be subject to the annual financial report currently required of school districts in section 162.821.
This act allows proposed or existing high risk or alternative charter schools to include alternative arrangements for students to obtain credits for satisfying graduation requirements in the charter application and charter. Alternative arrangements may include credit for off-campus instruction, embedded credit, work experience, independent studies, and performance-based credit options. Upon approval of the charter by the State Board of Education, any alternative arrangements will be approved at the same time.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must conduct a study of any such charter school granted alternative arrangements for students to obtain credit to assess student performance, graduation rates, educational outcomes, and entry into the workforce or higher education.
Currently, charter schools must collect baseline data during at least the first three years to determine performance. This act requires charter schools to establish baseline student performance during the first year of operation and collect student performance data, as described in the act, throughout the duration of the charter based upon grade levels offered by the school.
The sponsor, governing board, and charter school staff must jointly review the school's performance, management, and operations during the first year of operation and then every other year, instead of the current requirement of at least once every two years.
SECTION 160.410 – This act requires charter schools whose mission includes student drop-out prevention or recovery to enroll nonresident pupils from the same or an adjacent county who reside in residential care facilities, transitional living group homes, or independent living programs, whose last school of enrollment is in the school district where the charter school is established, who submit a timely application. Preference will be given to resident pupils over non-resident pupils if there is insufficient capacity. Charter schools may also give an admissions preference to high-risk and dropout students.
SECTION 160.415 - Charter schools will be eligible to receive Proposition C funds. Charter school weighted average daily attendance will be included in the distribution of Proposition C funds.
SECTION 160.420 - In addition to existing criminal background check requirements, charter schools must ensure that a Family Care Safety Registry check is conducted for employees.
SECTION 160.539 – This act also allows charter schools to participate in the School Flex Program. In addition, the program will be expanded to include students ages seventeen to twenty-one who have not obtained a high school degree, who meet the other program requirements.
This act is similar to HCS/HB 473 (2011), HB 897 (2011), SB 838 (2010), SB 835 (2010), HB 2200 (2010), SB 317 (2009), SB 1027 (2008) and SB 64 (2009).
SA 1: WHEN A CHARTER SCHOOL CLOSES, THE SPONSOR MUST ENSURE THAT ANY REMAINING CASH ASSETS BE RETURNED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION FOR THEIR DISPOSITION.
SA 3: THE STATE AUDITOR MAY AUDIT CHARTER SCHOOLS IN THE SAME MANNER IN WHICH IT MAY AUDIT AN AGENCY OF THE STATE.