SB 0185 Charter Schools Act
Committee:EDUCLR Number:S0405.03I
Last Action:02/07/95 - Hearing Conducted S Education Committee
Effective Date:August 28, 1995
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Current Bill Summary

SB 185 - This act shall be known as "The Charter Schools Act". One or more school boards may sponsor a charter school. The sponsor may authorize, by written contract, one or more persons to establish the charter school. The school shall be in the charge of a board of directors. Vacancies shall be filled by the remaining directors with approval of the school board.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) shall provide technical assistance in review of contracts. The contract must be filed with DESE after review by an attorney and a certified public accountant. DESE shall provide information on forming charter schools to all school districts.

The act specifies items which must be included in the written contract including: a description of the school program, specific pupil outcomes, admission policies, a plan for administration and management, procedures for program and finance audits, assumption of liability, type and amounts of insurance coverage, the term of the contract (no more than 5 years), provisions to ensure that capital property purchased by the sponsor remains in the sponsor's possession, declaration of the school as public and non-sectarian, tuition for pupil residing in non-sponsoring districts, the amount of aid per pupil to be provided to the school by the sponsor and the name and address of each member of the board of directors.

The charter school is exempt from all rules not specified in the bill.

The charter school shall: meet health and safety requirements, be located in Missouri, be non-sectarian, provide a comprehensive instruction program, be subject to financial audits and tort liability, comply with existing laws regarding education of handicapped pupils, provide at least the minimum number of days and hours of attendance required by law and establish an assessment system which shall satisfy, and may exceed, state requirements for assessment systems.

The charter school may limit pupil admission based on an age or grade level and may require a written commitment of effort signed by the pupil and parent or legal guardian. The charter school may not limit admission on the basis of intellectual ability, or measures of achievement, aptitude or athletic ability. The charter school shall enroll pupils who submit timely applications. If the number of applications exceeds the school's capacity, then the pupils will be accepted by lot, first from within the sponsoring district(s) and then from outside the sponsoring district(s) if space allows.

The charter school shall employ any persons needed and may discharge any teacher or other employee as provided by law. The charter school shall control budgeting, curriculum and operating procedures. The charter school shall annually report to the sponsor and the state board any information required in the written contract. The charter school may lease space from a school board or other nonprofit, nonsectarian entity.

A district shall grant a teacher's request for a leave of absence to teach at a charter school for up to the term of the charter contract and such leave shall be extended on request by the teacher. A teacher may continue to accrue retirement benefits by paying contributions as provided in the contract between the teacher and the school.

The duration of the contract shall be provided in the contract and a sponsor may elect not to renew the contract for cause. The sponsor may, after holding a hearing, terminate or refuse to renew a charter school contract for cause. The sponsoring school board shall conduct a review of the school beginning on the first day of the last year of the contract. The school shall be notified at least 60 days in advance of such termination or failure to renew. Valid causes not to renew are: failure to meet pupil outcome requirements, poor fiscal management, violations of law or other good cause shown.

A charter school may sue and be sued. A charter school may not levy taxes or issue bonds. A charter school may receive grants, aid and revenue as provided in the written contract. Federal aid for which the school is eligible shall be paid to the charter school.