Commonwealth Charter Schools. Establishes definitions, mechanisms, limitations, etc., for the granting of school charters to public schools. The school charters will be founded on performance-based contracts between the Board of Education and the supervising school board. Before a school charter petition is filed with the local school board, agreement at the school level must be obtained from two-thirds of the licensed school personnel of the school and two-thirds of the parents attending a meeting for this purpose; however, the parents present at the meeting must represent at least 30 percent of the students in average daily membership at the relevant school. The petition will include a school community commitment plan to ensure that school personnel and students' parents, and, in the case of high schools, the students, will be involved in the development of the school improvement plan; will be involved in monitoring the progress and evolution of the school improvement plan; and will be provided opportunity to express ideas, opinions, and concerns. The community at large must also be involved in the implementation of any school charter. A school improvement plan must also be developed, including measurable and academically challenging educational achievement goals to improve student learning. Clear performance-based and student-achievement-based objectives and performance criteria for measuring these objectives and determining student progress must be provided in the school improvement plan. The school charter petition will also include the approval of the supervising school board. If the school charter petition is not approved, the denying body must inform the school in writing within 30 days and provide the reasons for disapproval and corrective actions that may be taken to obtain approval. Schools may resubmit the school charter petitions; however, all agreements and plans must be completed as required for the initial submission. The student body of a Commonwealth Charter School shall live in the attendance zone established before the granting of the charter application. However, any school board approving a charter petition will have to establish procedures for students living in the school's attendance zone to transfer and, if the school can accommodate additional students, the school board will have to establish procedures for transfers into the Commonwealth Charter School. These procedures will have to be on a first-come-first-served basis. School personnel must also be accorded transfer privileges, upon request, for vacant comparable positions or as an exchange with other consenting personnel for comparable positions.
This bill requires the Board of Education to assist schools with high concentrations of at-risk students in establishing Commonwealth Charter Schools. The Board of Education is authorized to determine compliance exemptions from state and local law, regulations, ordinances, and rules, except for the state and federal constitutions, the Standards of Quality, and certain superseding federal laws. Standard 3 of the Standards of Quality is amended to provide the Board with the authority to include in these regulations flexible alternatives for Commonwealth Charter Schools. The Board must establish regulations providing criteria and procedures for granting school charters, which include compliance exemptions and guidelines for flexible site-based operation and management. An initial school charter may be granted for three years; thereafter, the Board may renew a school charter for one to three years, with all documents and agreements required to be completed as initially. The Board will report to the Governor and the General Assembly annually beginning in January 1996. No more than six school charters can be granted in one division superintendent's region, with no more than two school charters per educational level (elementary, middle, and high school). Review ranking numbers must be assigned according to the time of charter application receipt. Private schools may not convert to Commonwealth Charter Schools. This provision will not require additional local appropriations; however, local governments may provide additional funding. This measure was carried over by the House Education Committee.Full text:
01/25/94 House: Presented and ordered printed pdf
01/25/94 House: Presented and ordered printed
01/25/94 House: Referred to Committee on Education
02/03/94 House: Assigned to Education sub-committee: 1
02/04/94 House: Continued to 1995 in Education (22-Y 0-N)
12/20/94 House: No action taken by Education by voice vote