HB 1625 Charter schools.
Phillip A. Hamilton | all patrons    ...    notes
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Charter schools. Authorizes the establishment of charter schools in Virginia. Individuals or organizations may initiate the charter application process by submitting a proposed agreement for the operation of a charter school to the local school board. Each charter application must include a school mission statement; goals and performance standards; evidence of parental, teacher, and pupil support; a statement of need; a description of standards, which must meet or exceed the Standards of Quality (SOQ); a proposed budget; a plan for displaced pupils and teachers; and a description of governance, employment conditions, and other related matters. While a charter contract releases the school from division policies and state regulations, these public, nonsectarian, nonreligious, non-home-based schools are subject to the SOQ, state and federal anti-discrimination laws, and court-ordered desegregation plans. Tuition-free, charter schools are deemed part of the school division and are accountable to the local school board. The conversion of a private, nonpublic, religious, or home-based program into a charter school is specifically prohibited.

The school board may restrict the number of charters granted, and no more than 10 charters may be granted per division before July 1, 1996. The term of any charter--whether initial or renewed--may not exceed three years. At least half of a division's charters must be reserved for applications designed to increase opportunities for at-risk students and priority given to these applications.

While the local school board retains ultimate authority over the approval of charter contracts, the measure creates separate appeals processes for the grant and denial of charters. The Board of Education may review the local board's decision on its own motion or upon appeal. The Board's decision to overturn the granting of a charter that violates civil rights laws or court orders, or threatens student safety shall be final. The local board makes the final decision regarding denials of charters upon remand from the Board of Education. Local boards may revoke or deny renewal of a charter for failure to make progress toward performance standards, violations of law or charter conditions and standards, upon a determination that the charter is "not in the public interest," or for fiscal mismanagement. Charter revocations are subject to appeal.

State and local funds for a charter school must equal at least 80 percent of the required state and local shares for SOQ. The proportionate share of state and federal money for disabled pupils and special education personnel as well as state and federal categorical aid must also go to the charter school.

Enrollment is open to any child residing in the school division. Students enrolled in a charter school are included in the division's average daily membership.

Licensed personnel may volunteer for employment at the charter school on an annual contract basis; charter school teachers are entitled to the same benefits as noncharter teachers. Teachers who are reassigned from a charter school (voluntarily and involuntarily) other than for grounds cited in 22.1-307 (incompetence, conviction of a felony, etc.) are guaranteed involuntary transfer to a noncharter school in the division.

Charter schools may contract for the use of facilities, maintenance, operations, and other services. Services contracted with the school division must be provided at cost. The charter school may not be charged rent for the use of school division facilities.

School boards must submit an annual evaluation of their charter schools to the Board of Education; the Board, in turn, must report its findings to the Governor and the General Assembly beginning January 1996.

Full text:
01/13/95  House: Presented & ordered printed LD1159264  pdf

01/13/95  House: Presented & ordered printed LD1159264
01/13/95  House: Referred to Committee on Education
02/08/95  House: No action taken by Education by voice vote