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First Substitute S.B. 178
6 LONG TITLE
7 General Description:
8 This bill modifies the Utah Charter Schools Act regarding the authorization, oversight,
9 and termination of charter schools.
10 Highlighted Provisions:
11 This bill:
12 . removes the cap on the number of charter schools that the State Charter School
13 Board may authorize;
14 . removes a time limitation imposed on the State Charter School Board for approving
15 or denying a charter school application;
16 . prohibits charter schools from being denied due to certain impacts on public
18 . allows charter schools to give additional enrollment preferences;
19 . modifies the content requirements for a charter school's charter;
20 . allows a chartering entity to take certain actions if a charter school fails to remedy
21 deficiencies within an established timeline, including:
22 . removing a school director or finance officer;
23 . removing governing board members;
24 . appointing an interim director or mentor to work with the charter school; or
25 . terminating the charter school;
26 . provides for the appeal of a chartering entity's decision to terminate a charter school
27 to the State Board of Education, and provides that the State Board of Education's
28 action is final action subject to judicial review;
29 . allows a private management company to operate a charter school, if the school is
30 terminated during a school year;
31 . provides that State Board of Education rules governing licensing of administrative
32 and supervisory personnel do not apply to charter schools; and
33 . makes technical amendments.
34 Monies Appropriated in this Bill:
36 Other Special Clauses:
38 Utah Code Sections Affected:
40 53A-1a-501.6, as enacted by Chapter 251, Laws of Utah 2004
41 53A-1a-504, as last amended by Chapter 224, Laws of Utah 2000
42 53A-1a-505, as last amended by Chapter 251, Laws of Utah 2004
43 53A-1a-506, as last amended by Chapter 259, Laws of Utah 2001
44 53A-1a-508, as last amended by Chapter 251, Laws of Utah 2004
45 53A-1a-509, as last amended by Chapter 251, Laws of Utah 2004
46 53A-1a-510, as last amended by Chapter 251, Laws of Utah 2004
47 53A-1a-512, as last amended by Chapters 251 and 330, Laws of Utah 2004
48 53A-1a-513, as last amended by Chapter 257, Laws of Utah 2004
49 53A-1a-515, as last amended by Chapter 251, Laws of Utah 2004
51 53A-1a-502, as last amended by Chapter 251, Laws of Utah 2004
53 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
54 Section 1. Section 53A-1a-501.6 is amended to read:
55 53A-1a-501.6. Power and duties of State Charter School Board.
56 (1) The State Charter School Board shall:
57 (a) authorize and promote the establishment of charter schools, subject to the
59 (b) annually review and evaluate the performance of charter schools authorized by the
60 State Charter School Board and hold the schools accountable for their performance;
61 (c) monitor charter schools authorized by the State Charter School Board for
62 compliance with federal and state laws, rules, and regulations;
63 (d) provide technical support to charter schools and persons seeking to establish charter
64 schools by:
65 (i) identifying and promoting successful charter school models;
66 (ii) facilitating the application and approval process for charter school authorization;
67 (iii) directing charter schools and persons seeking to establish charter schools to
68 sources of private funding and support;
69 (iv) reviewing and evaluating proposals to establish charter schools for the purpose of
70 supporting and strengthening proposals before an application for charter school authorization is
71 submitted to the State Charter School Board or a local school board; and
72 (v) assisting charter schools to understand and carry out their charter obligations;
73 (e) provide technical support, as requested, to a local school board relating to charter
75 (f) make recommendations on legislation and rules pertaining to charter schools to the
76 Legislature and State Board of Education, respectively; and
77 (g) make recommendations to the State Board of Education on the funding of charter
79 (2) The State Charter School Board may:
80 (a) contract;
81 (b) sue and be sued; and
82 (c) (i) at the discretion of the charter school, provide administrative services to, or
83 perform other school functions for, charter schools authorized by the State Charter School
84 Board; and
85 (ii) charge fees for the provision of services or functions.
86 Section 2. Section 53A-1a-504 is amended to read:
87 53A-1a-504. Proposal.
88 (1) A proposal to establish a charter school may be made by an individual or groups of
89 individuals, including teachers and parents or guardians of students who will attend the school,
90 or a not-for-profit legal entity organized under the laws of this state.
91 (2) (a) The principal, teachers, or parents of students at an existing public school may
92 submit a proposal to convert the school or a portion of the school to charter status.
93 (b) (i) At least 2/3 of the licensed educators employed at the school and at least
94 two-thirds of the parents or guardians of students enrolled at the school must have signed a
95 petition approving the proposal prior to its submission to the [
96 the entire school is applying for charter status.
97 (ii) The percentage is reduced to a simple majority if the conversion is for only a
98 portion of the school.
99 (c) A proposal submitted under Subsection (2)(a) must first be approved by the local
100 school board based on its determination that:
101 (i) students opting not to attend the proposed converted school would have access to a
102 comparable public education alternative; and
103 (ii) current teachers who choose not to teach at the converted charter school or who are
104 not retained by the school at the time of its conversion would receive a first preference for
105 transfer to open teaching positions for which they qualify within the school district. If no
106 positions are open, contract provisions or board policy regarding reduction in staff would
108 (3) A parochial school or home school is not eligible for charter school status.
109 Section 3. Section 53A-1a-505 is amended to read:
110 53A-1a-505. Application process -- Contract.
111 (1) (a) An applicant seeking authorization of a charter school[
113 application to the local school board of the school district in which the proposed charter school
114 shall be located either before or at the same time it files its application with the State Charter
115 School Board.
116 (b) The local board may review the application and may offer suggestions or
117 recommendations to the applicant or the State Charter School Board prior to its acting on the
119 (c) The State Charter School Board shall give due consideration to suggestions or
120 recommendations made by the local school board under Subsection (1)(b).
121 (d) The State Charter School Board shall review and, by majority vote, either approve
122 or deny the application [
123 (e) The State Board of Education shall, by majority vote, within 60 days after action by
124 the State Charter School Board under Subsection (1)(d):
125 (i) approve or deny an application approved by the State Charter School Board; or
126 (ii) hear an appeal, if any, of an application denied by the State Charter School Board.
127 (f) The State Board of Education's action under Subsection (1)(d) is final action subject
128 to judicial review.
129 (g) A charter school application may not be denied on the basis that the establishment
130 of the charter school will have any or all of the following impacts on a public school, including
131 another charter school:
132 (i) an enrollment decline:
133 (ii) a decrease in funding; or
134 (iii) a modification of programs or services.
135 (2) The State Board of Education shall make a rule providing a timeline for the
136 opening of a charter school following the approval of a charter school application by the State
137 Charter School Board.
138 (3) (a) After approval of a charter school application, the applicant and the State
139 Charter School Board shall set forth the terms and conditions for the operation of the charter
140 school in a written contractual agreement.
141 (b) The agreement is the school's charter.
142 (4) (a) A school holding a charter granted by a local school board may request a charter
143 from the State Charter School Board.
144 (b) This section shall govern the application and approval of a charter requested under
145 Subsection (4)(a).
149 Section 4. Section 53A-1a-506 is amended to read:
150 53A-1a-506. Eligible students.
151 (1) All resident students of the state qualify for admission to a charter school, subject
152 to the limitations set forth in this section.
153 (2) (a) A charter school shall enroll an eligible student who submits a timely
154 application, unless the number of applications exceeds the capacity of a program, class, grade
155 level, or the school.
156 (b) (i) If the number of applications exceeds the capacity of a program, class, grade
157 level, or the school, then students shall be selected on a random basis, except that the school
158 may give preference to:
159 (A) a student of a parent who has actively participated in the development of the school
161 (B) siblings of students presently enrolled in the school[
162 (C) a student of a parent who is employed by the school;
163 (D) students articulating between charter schools offering similar programs that are
164 governed by the same governing body; and
165 (E) students articulating from one charter school to another pursuant to an articulation
166 agreement between the charter schools that is approved by the State Charter School Board.
167 (ii) The school may give preference to students who reside within the school district in
168 which the school is located.
169 (c) When a public school converts to charter status, the school shall give enrollment
170 preference to students who would have otherwise attended it as a regular public school.
171 (3) A charter school may not discriminate in its admission policies or practices on the
172 same basis as other public schools may not discriminate in their admission policies and
174 Section 5. Section 53A-1a-508 is amended to read:
175 53A-1a-508. Content of a charter -- Modification of charter.
176 (1) The major issues involving the operation of a charter school shall be considered in
177 advance by the applicant for a charter school and written into the school's charter.
178 (2) The governing body of the charter school and the chartering entity shall sign the
180 (3) The charter shall include:
181 (a) the age or grade levels to be served by the school;
182 (b) the projected maximum number of students to be enrolled in the school and the
183 projected enrollment in each of the first three years of operations;
184 (c) the governance structure of the school;
185 (d) the financial plan for the school and the provisions which will be made for auditing
186 the school under Subsection 53A-1a-507 (4);
187 (e) the mission and education goals of the school, the curriculum offered, and the
188 methods of assessing whether students are meeting educational goals, to include at a minimum
189 participation in the Utah Performance Assessment System for Students under Chapter 1, Part 6,
190 Achievement Tests;
191 (f) admission and dismissal procedures, including suspension procedures;
192 (g) procedures to review complaints of parents regarding the operation of the school;
193 (h) the opportunity for parental involvement at the school;
194 (i) how the school will provide adequate liability and other appropriate insurance for
195 the school, its governing body, and its employees;
196 (j) the proposed school calendar, including the length of the school day and school
198 (k) whether any agreements have been entered into or plans developed with school
199 districts regarding participation of charter school students in extracurricular activities within
200 the school districts;
201 (l) the district within which the school will be located and the address of the school's
202 physical facility, if known at the time the charter is signed;
203 (m) the qualifications to be required of the teachers;
204 (n) in the case of an existing public school converting to charter status, alternative
205 arrangements for current students who choose not to attend the charter school and for current
206 teachers who choose not to teach at the school after its conversion to charter status;
207 (o) the school's intention to create a library;
208 (p) a description of school administrative and supervisory services;
209 (q) fiscal procedures to be used by the school; and
210 (r) the school's policies and procedures regarding:
214 (4) A charter may be modified by mutual agreement of the board and the governing
215 body of the school.
216 Section 6. Section 53A-1a-509 is amended to read:
217 53A-1a-509. Noncompliance -- Rulemaking.
218 (1) (a) [
219 of Section 53A-1a-507 or the school's charter, the chartering entity shall notify the school's
220 governing board in writing that the school has a reasonable time to remedy the deficiency,
221 except as otherwise provided in Subsection 53A-1a-510 (3)(a).
224 (b) If the school does not remedy the deficiency within the established timeline, the
225 chartering entity may:
226 (i) remove a school director or finance officer;
227 (ii) remove governing board members;
228 (iii) appoint an interim director or mentor to work with the charter school; or
229 (iv) terminate the school's charter.
230 (c) The costs of an interim director or mentor appointed pursuant to Subsection (1)(b)
231 shall be paid from the funds of the charter school for which the interim director or mentor is
233 (2) In accordance with Title 63, Chapter 46a, Utah Administrative Rulemaking Act, the
234 State Board of Education shall make rules:
235 (a) specifying the timeline for remedying deficiencies under Subsection (1)(a); and
236 (b) ensuring the compliance of a charter school with its approved charter.
237 Section 7. Section 53A-1a-510 is amended to read:
238 53A-1a-510. Termination of a charter.
239 (1) A chartering entity may terminate a school's charter for any of the following
241 (a) failure of the school to meet the requirements stated in the charter;
242 (b) failure to meet generally accepted standards of fiscal management;
243 (c) subject to Subsection (5), failure to make adequate yearly progress under the No
244 Child Left Behind Act of 2001, 20 U.S.C. Sec. 6301 et seq.;
245 (d) violation of law; or
246 (e) other good cause shown.
247 (2) (a) The chartering entity shall notify the governing body of the school of the
248 proposed [
249 stipulate that the governing body may request an informal hearing before the chartering entity.
250 (b) The chartering entity shall conduct the hearing in accordance with Title 63, Chapter
251 46b, Administrative Procedures Act, within 30 days after receiving a written request under
252 Subsection (2)(a).
253 (c) If the chartering entity, by majority vote, approves a motion to terminate a charter
254 school, the governing body of the charter school may appeal the decision to the State Board of
256 (d) (i) The State Board of Education shall hear an appeal of a termination made
257 pursuant to Subsection (2)(c).
258 (ii) The State Board of Education's action is final action subject to judicial review.
259 (3) [
260 been shown or if the health, safety, or welfare of the students at the school is threatened.
262 (a) the school district in which the school is located may assume operation of the
264 (b) a private management company may be hired to operate the school.
266 and shall be enrolled in another public school under the enrollment provisions of Title 53A,
267 Chapter 2, Part 2, District of Residency, subject to space availability.
268 (b) Normal application deadlines shall be disregarded under Subsection [
270 under the same circumstances that local educational agencies are required to implement
271 alternative governance arrangements under 20 U.S.C. Sec. 6316.
272 Section 8. Section 53A-1a-512 is amended to read:
273 53A-1a-512. Employees of charter schools.
274 (1) A charter school shall select its own employees.
275 (2) The school's governing body shall determine the level of compensation and all
276 terms and conditions of employment, except as otherwise provided in Subsections (6) and (7)
277 and under this part.
278 (3) The following statutes governing public employees and officers do not apply to
279 charter schools:
280 (a) Chapter 8, Utah Orderly School Termination Procedures Act;
281 (b) Chapter 10, Educator Evaluation; and
282 (c) Title 52, Chapter 3, Prohibiting Employment of Relatives.
283 (4) (a) To accommodate differentiated staffing and better meet student needs, a charter
284 school, under rules adopted by the State Board of Education, shall employ teachers who:
285 (i) are licensed; or
286 (ii) on the basis of demonstrated competency, would qualify to teach under alternative
287 certification or authorization programs.
288 (b) The school's governing body shall disclose the qualifications of its teachers to the
289 parents of its students.
290 (5) State Board of Education rules governing the licensing or certification of
291 administrative and supervisory personnel do not apply to charter schools.
293 work in a charter school upon approval of the local school board.
294 (b) While on leave, the employee may retain seniority accrued in the school district and
295 may continue to be covered by the benefit program of the district if the charter school and the
296 locally elected school board mutually agree.
298 school shall be a member of a retirement system under Title 49, Utah State Retirement and
299 Insurance Act.
302 charter school may make an election of nonparticipation as an employer for retirement
303 programs under Title 49, Chapter 12, Public Employees' Contributory Retirement Act and
304 under Title 49, Chapter 13, Public Employees' Noncontributory Retirement Act.
305 (b) A charter school that was approved prior to July 1, 2004 may make an election of
306 nonparticipation prior to December 31, 2004.
307 (c) An election provided under this Subsection [
308 (i) is a one-time election made at the time specified under Subsection [
310 (ii) shall be documented by a resolution adopted by the governing body of the charter
312 (iii) is irrevocable; and
313 (iv) applies to the charter school as the employer and to all employees of the charter
315 (d) The governing body of a charter school may offer employee benefit plans for its
317 (i) under Title 49, Chapter 20, Public Employees' Benefit and Insurance Program Act;
319 (ii) under any other program.
320 Section 9. Section 53A-1a-513 is amended to read:
321 53A-1a-513. Funding for charter schools.
322 (1) (a) Charter schools shall receive funding as described in this section, except
323 Subsections (2) through (7) do not apply to charter schools described in Subsection (1)(b).
324 (b) Charter schools [
325 from district schools or operate in district facilities without paying reasonable rent shall receive
326 funding as prescribed in Section 53A-1a-515 .
327 (2) (a) Except as provided in Subsection (2)(b), a charter school shall receive state
328 funds, as applicable, on the same basis as a school district receives funds.
329 (b) In distributing funds under Title 53A, Chapter 17a, Minimum School Program Act,
330 to charter schools, charter school pupils shall be weighted, where applicable, as follows:
331 (i) .55 for kindergarten pupils;
332 (ii) .9 for pupils in grades 1-6;
333 (iii) .99 for pupils in grades 7-8; and
334 (iv) 1.2 for pupils in grades 9-12.
335 (c) The State Board of Education shall make rules in accordance with Title 63, Chapter
336 46a, Utah Administrative Rulemaking Act, to administer Subsection (2)(b), including hold
337 harmless provisions to maintain a charter elementary school's funding level for a period of two
338 years after the effective date of the distribution formula.
339 (d) Subsection (2)(b) does not apply to funds appropriated to charter schools to replace
340 local property tax revenues.
341 (3) The State Board of Education shall adopt rules to provide for the distribution of
342 monies to charter schools under this section.
343 (4) (a) The Legislature shall provide an appropriation for charter schools for each of
344 their students to replace some of the local property tax revenues that are not available to charter
345 schools. The amount of money provided for each charter school student shall be determined
347 (i) calculating the sum of:
348 (A) school districts' operations and maintenance revenues derived from local property
349 taxes, except revenues from imposing a minimum basic tax rate pursuant to Section
350 53A-17a-135 ;
351 (B) school districts' capital projects revenues derived from local property taxes; and
352 (C) school districts' expenditures for interest on debt; and
353 (ii) dividing the sum by the total average daily membership of the districts' schools.
354 (b) Of the monies provided to a charter school under Subsection (4)(a), 10% shall be
355 expended for funding school facilities only.
356 (5) Charter schools are eligible to receive federal funds if they meet all applicable
357 federal requirements and comply with relevant federal regulations.
358 (6) The State Board of Education shall distribute funds for charter school students
359 directly to the charter school.
360 (7) (a) Notwithstanding Subsection (2), a charter school is not eligible to receive state
361 transportation funding.
362 (b) The board shall also adopt rules relating to the transportation of students to and
363 from charter schools, taking into account Sections 53A-2-210 and 53A-17a-127 .
364 (c) The governing body of the charter school may provide transportation through an
365 agreement or contract with the local school board, a private provider, or with parents.
366 (8) (a) (i) The state superintendent of public instruction may allocate grants for both
367 start-up and ongoing costs to eligible charter school applicants from monies appropriated for
368 the implementation of this part.
369 (ii) Applications for the grants shall be filed on a form determined by the state
370 superintendent and in conjunction with the application for a charter.
371 (iii) The amount of a grant may vary based upon the size, scope, and special
372 circumstances of the charter school.
373 (iv) The governing board of the charter school shall use the grant to meet the expenses
374 of the school as established in the school's charter.
375 (b) The State Board of Education shall coordinate the distribution of federal monies
376 appropriated to help fund costs for establishing and maintaining charter schools within the
378 (9) (a) A charter school may receive, hold, manage and use any devise, bequest, grant,
379 endowment, gift, or donation of any property made to the school for any of the purposes of this
381 (b) It is unlawful for any person affiliated with a charter school to demand or request
382 any gift, donation, or contribution from a parent, teacher, employee, or other person affiliated
383 with the charter school as a condition for employment or enrollment at the school or continued
384 attendance at the school.
385 (10) The State Office of Education shall use up to $1,044,000 of funding provided for
386 new growth to fund additional growth needs in charter schools in fiscal year 2005.
387 Section 10. Section 53A-1a-515 is amended to read:
388 53A-1a-515. Charters authorized by local school boards.
389 (1) Individuals and entities identified in Section 53A-1a-504 may enter into an
390 agreement with a local school board to establish and operate a charter school within the
391 geographical boundaries of the school district administered by the board.
395 granted by a local school board may:
396 (i) continue to receive the same services from the school district that it received prior to
397 its conversion; or
398 (ii) contract out for some or all of those services with other public or private providers.
399 (b) Any other charter school authorized by a local school board may contract with the
400 board to receive some or all of the services referred to in Subsection (3)(a).
402 by a local school board shall receive funding:
403 (A) through the school district; and
404 (B) on the same basis as it did prior to its conversion to a charter school.
405 (ii) The school may also receive federal monies designated for charter schools under
406 any federal program.
407 (b) (i) A local school board-authorized charter school operating in a facility owned by
408 the school district and not paying reasonable rent to the school district shall receive funding:
409 (A) through the school district; and
410 (B) on the same basis that other district schools receive funding.
411 (ii) The school may also receive federal monies designated for charter schools under
412 any federal program.
413 (c) Any other charter school authorized by a local school board shall receive funding as
414 provided in Section 53A-1a-513 .
416 this section shall, within 45 days, either accept or reject the application.
417 (b) If the board rejects the application, it shall notify the applicant in writing of the
418 reason for the rejection.
419 (c) The applicant may submit a revised application for reconsideration by the board.
420 (d) If the local school board refuses to authorize the applicant, the applicant may seek a
421 charter from the State Charter School Board under Section 53A-1a-505 .
423 the opening of a charter school following the approval of a charter school application by a local
424 school board.
426 school board shall set forth the terms and conditions for the operation of the charter school in a
427 written contractual agreement.
428 (b) The agreement is the school's charter.
430 (a) annually review and evaluate the performance of charter schools authorized by the
431 local school board and hold the schools accountable for their performance;
432 (b) monitor charter schools authorized by the local school board for compliance with
433 federal and state laws, rules, and regulations; and
434 (c) provide technical support to charter schools authorized by the local school board to
435 assist them in understanding and performing their charter obligations.
437 in Sections 53A-1a-509 and 53A-1a-510 .
439 be independent of the local school board except as otherwise specifically provided in this
441 Section 11. Repealer.
442 This bill repeals:
443 Section 53A-1a-502, State Charter School Board to authorize the establishment of
444 charter schools.
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