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same topic
PRINTER'S NO. 662
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
272
Session of
2021
INTRODUCED BY CIRESI, THOMAS, HILL-EVANS, McCLINTON, ISAACSON,
SNYDER, SANCHEZ, SCHLOSSBERG, McNEILL, D. WILLIAMS, NEILSON,
LONGIETTI, DELLOSO, BENHAM, PENNYCUICK, WEBSTER, DEASY,
DALEY, A. DAVIS, SHUSTERMAN, ZABEL, O'MARA, STRUZZI,
GALLOWAY, PISCIOTTANO, PASHINSKI, FRANKEL, VITALI, MULLINS,
MARKOSEK, INNAMORATO, BURNS, BRADFORD, STURLA, ROZZI, DeLUCA,
KIM, CARROLL, BRIGGS, HANBIDGE, FREEMAN, N. NELSON, MALAGARI,
FRITZ, T. DAVIS, SOLOMON, KULIK, KINKEAD, HARKINS, GAINEY,
BIZZARRO, FITZGERALD, POLINCHOCK, BROOKS, HOWARD, YOUNG,
KRUEGER AND OTTEN, MARCH 1, 2021
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION, MARCH 1, 2021
AN ACT
Amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), entitled "An
act relating to the public school system, including certain
provisions applicable as well to private and parochial
schools; amending, revising, consolidating and changing the
laws relating thereto," in preliminary provisions, providing
for advertising; in terms and courses of study, further
providing for agreements with institutions of higher
education; in opportunities for educational excellence,
further providing for responsibilities of school entities; in
charter schools, further providing for short title, for
legislative intent, for definitions and for powers of charter
schools, providing for powers of authorizers, further
providing for charter school requirements, for powers of
board of trustees, for establishment of charter school, for
regional charter school, for contents of application and for
term and form of charter, providing for charter amendments,
further providing for State Charter School Appeal Board, for
facilities, for enrollment, for school staff and for funding
for charter schools, providing for funding for cyber charter
schools, further providing for transportation, for tort
liability, for annual reports and assessments, for causes for
nonrenewal or termination, for multiple charter school
organizations, for desegregation orders and for charter
school grants, providing for accountability matrix, further
providing for provisions applicable to charter schools, for
powers and duties of department, for assessment and
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evaluation, for cyber charter school requirements and
prohibitions, for school district and intermediate unit
responsibilities and for establishment of cyber charter
school, providing for cyber charter amendments, further
providing for State Charter School Appeal Board review, for
cyber charter school application and for enrollment and
notification, providing for enrollment parameters, further
providing for applicability of other provisions of this act
and of other acts and regulations, for effect on certain
existing charter schools, and for regulations, and providing
for cyber charter school moratorium; and, in reimbursements
by Commonwealth and between school districts, further
providing for approved reimbursable annual rental for leases
of buildings or portions of buildings for charter school use;
and providing for applicability.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. The act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known
as the Public School Code of 1949, is amended by adding a
section to read:
Section 129. Advertising .-- (a) A paid media advertisement
by a public school entity that refers to the cost of tuition,
technology, transportation or other expenses shall not advertise
those expenses as free, and any reference to tuition,
technology, transportation or other expenses must indicate that
the cost is covered by taxpayer dollars. A paid media
advertisement shall include a television, radio, newspaper,
magazine or movie theater advertisement, billboard, bus poster
or Internet-based or other commercial method that may promote
enrollment in a public school entity.
(b) For the purposes of this section, "public school entity"
shall mean a public school district, charter school entity,
intermediate unit or area career and technical school.
Section 2. Section 1525 of the act is amended to read:
Section 1525. Agreements with Institutions of Higher
Education.--(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to
the contrary, a school district, charter school, regional
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charter school, cyber charter school or area career and
technical school may enter into an agreement with one or more
institutions of higher education approved to operate in this
Commonwealth in order to allow [resident] students to attend
such institutions of higher education while the [resident]
students are enrolled in the school district, charter school,
regional charter school, cyber charter school or area career and
technical school. The agreement may be structured so that high
school students may receive credits toward completion of courses
at the school district, charter school, regional charter school,
cyber charter school or area career and technical school and at
institutions of higher education approved to operate in this
Commonwealth.
(b) Charter schools, regional charter schools and cyber
charter schools that offer students enrollment at an institution
of higher education as part of the high school program and pay
the costs of the tuition, fees and textbooks on behalf of
students shall continue to receive tuition as calculated under
section 1725-A or 1725.1-A for the students.
(c) If the cost of the higher education tuition, fees and
textbooks are paid by the student of any charter school,
regional charter school or cyber charter school, the amount paid
for the tuition, fees and textbooks shall be deducted from the
school district of residence's payment under section 1725-A or
1725.1-A to the charter school, regional charter school or cyber
charter school.
(d) School districts shall make no payment to charter
schools, regional charter schools or cyber charter schools if
the student pays the cost of full-time enrollment to the
institution of higher education.
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(e) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, if
a school district's payment to a charter school, regional
charter school or cyber charter school under section 1725-A or
1725.1-A is greater than the cost of tuition, fees and textbooks
paid by the charter school, regional charter school or cyber
charter school multiplied by the number of higher education
courses a student is enrolled in, the school district's payment
under section 1725-A or 1725.1-A shall be reduced by the
difference.
Section 3. Section 1611-B of the act is amended by adding a
subsection to read:
Section 1611-B. Responsibilities of school entities.
* * *
(g) Revenue received by school district.--Notwithstanding
any provision of law to the contrary, the expenditures of
revenues received by a school district under section 1603-B
shall not be included in the school district's total expenditure
per average daily membership used to calculate the amount to be
paid to a charter school entity under section 1725-A or 1725.1-
A.
Section 4. Sections 1701-A and 1702-A of the act are amended
to read:
Section 1701-A. Short Title.--This article shall be known
and may be cited as the "Charter School Law."
Section 1702-A. Legislative Intent.--It is the intent of the
General Assembly, in enacting this article, to provide pupils
and community members to establish and maintain schools that
operate independently from the existing school district
structure as a method to accomplish all of the following:
(1) Improve pupil learning.
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(2) Increase learning opportunities for all pupils.
(3) Encourage the use of different and innovative teaching
methods.
(4) Create new professional opportunities for teachers,
including the opportunity to be responsible for the learning
program at the school site.
(5) Provide parents and pupils with expanded choices in the
types of educational opportunities that are available within the
public school system.
(6) Hold the schools established under this act accountable
for meeting measurable academic standards and provide the school
with a method to establish accountability systems.
Section 5. Section 1703-A of the act, amended October 30,
2019 (P.L.460, No.76), is amended to read:
Section 1703-A. Definitions.--[As] Unless the context
clearly indicates otherwise, as used in this article,
"Accountability matrix" shall mean an annual report by the
department to evaluate the academic performance, operations,
governance and financial management of charter school entities.
"Aid ratio" and "market value/income aid ratio" shall be:
(1) the aid ratio and market value/income aid ratio for the
school district that granted a charter to the charter school;
(2) for a regional charter school, the aid ratio and market
value/income aid ratio shall be a composite, as determined by
the department, based on the school districts that granted the
charter; or
(3) for a cyber charter school, the aid ratio and market
value/income aid ratio shall be that of the school district in
which the administrative offices of the cyber charter school are
located.
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"Appeal board" shall mean the State Charter School Appeal
Board established by this article.
"At-risk student" shall mean a student at risk of educational
failure because of limited English proficiency, poverty,
community factors, truancy, academic difficulties or economic
disadvantage.
"Authorizer" shall mean one of the following with the powers
under section 1714.1-A:
(1) A board of school directors.
(2) A board of education of a school district.
(3) The department, for a cyber charter school.
"Charter school" shall mean an independent public school
established and operated under a charter from the local board of
school directors or board of education and in which students are
enrolled or attend. A charter school must be organized as a
public, nonprofit corporation. Charters may not be granted to
any for-profit entity.
"Charter school entity" shall mean a charter school, regional
charter school, cyber charter school or multiple charter school
organization.
"Charter school foundation" shall mean a nonprofit
organization qualified as Federally tax exempt under section
501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (Public Law 99-
514, 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3)), that provides funding or resources
or otherwise serves to support a charter school entity, either
directly or through an affiliated entity.
"Chief executive officer" shall mean an individual appointed
by the board of trustees to oversee and manage the operation of
the charter school, but who shall not be deemed a professional
staff member under this article.
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"Cyber charter school" shall mean an independent public
school established and operated under a charter from the
Department of Education and in which the school uses technology
in order to provide a significant portion of its curriculum and
to deliver a significant portion of instruction to its students
through the Internet or other electronic means. A cyber charter
school must be organized as a public, nonprofit corporation. A
charter may not be granted to a for-profit entity.
"Compensation" shall include money or other remuneration
received from a charter school entity.
"Department" shall mean the Department of Education of the
Commonwealth.
"Educational management service provider" shall mean a
nonprofit or for-profit charter management organization,
education management organization, school design provider,
business manager or any other entity or individual that enters
into a contract or agreement with a charter school entity to
provide educational design, business services, comprehensive
management or personnel functions or to implement the charter.
The term shall not include a charter school foundation.
"Emergency" shall mean a fire, flood, environmental hazard or
other major disruption that impacts or could impact the health
or safety of students or staff or renders all or part of a
charter school facility unfit for use or occupation.
"Family member" shall mean a parent, guardian, stepparent,
child, stepchild, spouse, domestic partner, brother, sister,
stepbrother, stepsister, grandparent, grandchild, parent-in-law,
brother-in-law, sister-in-law, aunt, uncle, or first cousin.
"Local board of school directors" shall mean the board of
directors of a school district in which a proposed or an
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approved charter school is located.
"Material term" for purposes of amendments to a charter,
shall mean the following:
(1) Name change of a charter school or cyber charter school.
(2) Change in building location or addition of a new
facility.
(3) Change in charter management organization or education
management service provider.
(4) Change to curriculum provider.
(5) Change to mission or educational plan.
(6) Change to grade levels served.
(7) Enrollment expansion based on the maximum authorized
enrollment for the term of the charter.
(8) Any information as required by sections 1717-A, 1719-A
or 1747-A from an applicant, as specifically relevant to the
component of the charter that the school seeks to amend.
"Multiple charter school organization" shall mean a public,
nonprofit corporation under the oversight of a single board of
trustees and a chief administrator that operates two (2) or more
charter schools under section 1729.1-A.
"Regional charter school" shall mean an independent public
school established and operated under a charter from more than
one local board of school directors and in which students are
enrolled or attend. A regional charter school must be organized
as a public, nonprofit corporation. Charters may not be granted
to any for-profit entity.
"School district of residence" shall mean the school district
in this Commonwealth in which the parents or guardians of a
child reside.
"School entity" shall mean a school district, intermediate
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unit, joint school or area career and technical school.
"Secretary" shall mean the Secretary of Education of the
Commonwealth.
"State board" shall mean the State Board of Education of the
Commonwealth.
Section 6. Section 1714-A of the act is amended to read:
Section 1714-A. Powers of Charter [Schools] School
Entities.--(a) A charter school entity established under this
act is a body corporate and shall have all powers necessary or
desirable for carrying out its charter, including, but not
limited to, the power to:
(1) Adopt a name and corporate seal; however, any name
selected shall include the words "charter school."
(2) Sue and be sued, but only to the same extent and upon
the same condition that political subdivisions and local
agencies can be sued.
(3) Acquire real property from public or private sources by
purchase, lease, lease with an option to purchase or gift for
use as a charter school facility.
(4) Receive and disburse funds for charter school purposes
only.
(5) Make contracts and leases for the procurement of
services, equipment and supplies.
(6) Incur temporary debts in anticipation of the receipt of
funds.
(6.1) Incur debt for the construction of school facilities.
(7) Solicit and accept any gifts or grants for charter
school purposes.
(8) Establish plans, policies and practices consistent with
its charter, this article and Federal and State laws.
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(b) A charter school entity shall have such other powers as
are necessary to fulfill its charter and which are not
inconsistent with this article.
(c) Any indebtedness incurred by a charter school entity in
the exercise of the powers specified in this section shall not
impose any liability or legal obligation upon a school entity or
upon the Commonwealth.
Section 7. The act is amended by adding a section to read:
Section 1714.1-A. Powers of Authorizers.--(a) An authorizer
of a charter school shall have all powers necessary for granting
or denying new charter applications; for executing, amending,
renewing, revoking or nonrenewing charter agreements; and for
overseeing and monitoring charter schools that the authorizer or
the State Charter School Appeal Board has authorized, including,
but not limited to, the following powers:
(1) Annually assess and evaluate the academic performance,
accepted standards of fiscal management and audit requirements,
governance and operations of a charter school to determine if
the charter school is meeting the requirements of its charter
and all applicable Federal, State and local laws.
(2) Conduct a comprehensive review and evaluation of the
academic performance, accepted standards of fiscal management
and audit requirements, governance and operations of a charter
school for purposes of renewal or nonrenewal or revocation to
determine if the charter school is meeting the requirements of
its charter and all applicable Federal, State and local laws.
(3) Access documents, systems and facilities of the charter
school and any related charter school foundation or education
management service provider promptly after requests concerning
documents, systems and facilities are submitted to the charter
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school, charter school foundation or education management
service provider.
(4) Develop or supplement model charter school application
forms and model charter school renewal application forms to
address local concerns specific to the authorizer, such as
student populations, current charter school entity performance
and facility locations.
(b) An authorizer of a cyber charter school shall have all
of the following powers:
(1) Grant or deny new charter applications.
(2) Execute, amend, renew, revoke or nonrenew charter
agreements.
(3) Oversee and monitor cyber charter schools as set forth
in subsection (a).
Section 8. Sections 1715-A and 1716-A of the act are amended
to read:
Section 1715-A. Charter School Entity Requirements.--Charter
[schools] school entities shall be required to comply with the
following provisions:
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this article, a charter
school entity is exempt from statutory requirements established
in this act, from regulations of the State board and the
standards of the secretary not specifically applicable to
charter [schools] school entities. Charter [schools] school
entities are not exempt from statutes applicable to public
schools other than this act.
(2) A charter school entity shall be accountable to the
parents, guardians, families, the public, the authorizer of the
charter school and the Commonwealth, with the delineation of
that accountability reflected in the [charter] charters.
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Strategies for meaningful parent, guardian, family and community
involvement shall be developed and implemented by each [school]
charter school or cyber charter school.
(3) A charter school entity shall not unlawfully
discriminate in admissions, hiring or operation.
(4) A charter school entity shall be nonsectarian in all
operations.
(5) A charter school entity shall not provide any religious
instruction, nor shall it display religious objects and symbols
on the premises of the charter school entity.
(6) A charter school entity shall not advocate unlawful
behavior.
[(7) A charter school shall only be subject to the laws and
regulations as provided for in section 1732-A, or as otherwise
provided for in this article.]
(8) A charter school entity shall participate in the
Pennsylvania State Assessment System as provided for in 22 Pa.
Code Ch. [5 (relating to curriculum)] 4 (relating to academic
standards and assessment), or subsequent regulations promulgated
to replace 22 Pa. Code Ch. [5] 4, in the manner in which the
school district in which [the] each charter school is located is
scheduled to participate.
(9) A charter school entity shall provide a minimum of one
hundred eighty (180) days of instruction or nine hundred (900)
hours per year of instruction at the elementary level, or nine
hundred ninety (990) hours per year of instruction at the
secondary level. Nothing in this clause shall preclude the use
of computer and satellite linkages for delivering instruction to
students.
(10) Boards of trustees and contractors of charter [schools]
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school entities shall be subject to the following statutory
requirements governing construction projects and construction-
related work:
(i) The following provisions of this act:
(A) Sections 751 and 751.1.
(B) Sections 756 and 757 insofar as they are consistent with
the act of December 20, 1967 (P.L.869, No.385), known as the
"Public Works Contractors' Bond Law of 1967."
(ii) Section 1 of the act of May 1, 1913 (P.L.155, No.104),
entitled "An act regulating the letting of certain contracts for
the erection, construction, and alteration of public buildings."
(iii) The act of August 11, 1961 (P.L.987, No.442), known as
the "Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act."
(iv) The "Public Works Contractors' Bond Law of 1967."
(v) The act of March 3, 1978 (P.L.6, No.3), known as the
"Steel Products Procurement Act."
(11) Trustees of a charter school entity shall be public
officials[.] for the purposes of 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 11 (relating to
ethics standards and financial disclosure), and each trustee
shall file a statement of financial interests for the preceding
calendar year with the board of trustees of the charter school
entity, the State Ethics Commission and the authorizer of the
charter school or cyber charter school not later than May 1 of
each year that members hold the position and of the year after a
member leaves the position. In the event that the trustee was
appointed or selected after May 1, the trustee shall file a
statement of financial interests in accordance with this clause
within thirty (30) days of appointment or selection. All members
of the board of trustees of a charter school entity shall take
the oath of office as required under section 321 before entering
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upon the duties of their office.
(12) (i) A person who serves as an administrator for a
charter school entity shall be an employe of the charter school
entity and shall not receive compensation from another charter
school entity, from an educational management service provider,
from a charter school foundation or from a company that provides
management or other services to another charter school entity.
The term "administrator" shall include the chief executive
officer of a charter school entity and all other employes of a
charter school entity who by virtue of their positions exercise
management or operational oversight responsibilities.
(ii) A person who serves as an administrator for a charter
school entity shall be a public official under 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 11
[(relating to ethics standards and financial disclosure).] and
shall file a statement of financial interest for the preceding
calendar year with the board of trustees of the charter sc hool
entity, the State Ethics Commission and the authorizer of the
charter school or cyber charter school not later than May 1 of
each year that the person holds the position and of the year
after the person leaves the position . In the event that the
administrator was appointed after May 1, the administrator shall
file a statement of financial interest in accordance with this
clause within thirty (30) days of appointment. A violation of
this clause shall constitute a violation of 65 Pa.C.S. § 1103(a)
(relating to restricted activities), and the violator shall be
subject to the penalties imposed under the jurisdiction of the
State Ethics Commission.
Section 1716-A. Powers and Composition of Board of
Trustees.--(a) The board of trustees of a charter school entity
shall have the authority to decide matters related to the
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operation of the school, including, but not limited to,
budgeting, curriculum and operating procedures, subject to the
school's charter. The board shall have the authority to employ,
discharge and contract with necessary professional and
nonprofessional employes subject to the school's charter and the
provisions of this article.
(b) No member of a local board of school directors of a
school entity shall serve on the board of trustees of a charter
school entity that is located in the member's district.
(c) The board of trustees shall comply with [the act of July
3, 1986 (P.L.388, No.84), known as the "Sunshine Act."] 65
Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 (relating to open meetings), and the following
shall apply to its meetings:
(1) No more than ten (10) days after the minutes of any
prior public meeting of the board of trustees are approved,
copies of the meeting minutes and agenda for charter school
entities shall be:
(i) Made available for inspection and copying upon request.
(ii) Provided to the charter school entity authorizer or, in
the case of a multiple charter school organization, to the
authorizer for each charter school.
(iii) Posted on its publicly accessible Internet website, if
one is maintained.
(2) The meeting agendas and the meeting minutes required
under clause (1) shall remain posted on the charter school
entity's publicly accessible Internet website, if one is
maintained, for at least two (2) years after the meeting agendas
and the meeting minutes were first posted. Nothing in this
section shall be construed to limit the charter school entity's
obligations to comply with the act of February 14, 2008 (P.L.6,
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No.3), known as "the Right-to-Know Law," or any other Federal or
State law requiring public disclosure.
(3) The requirements of this subsection shall not apply to
matters discussed in executive sessions of the board of
trustees, provided that the meeting agenda and meeting minutes
shall identify that an executive session was planned or held and
the general purpose of the executive session, including
identification of legal proceedings under 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7.
(d) (1) An individual shall be prohibited from serving as a
voting member of the board of trustees of a charter school
entity under any of the following conditions:
(i) If the individual or a family member of the individual
is employed by or receives money or remuneration from the
charter school entity.
(ii) If the individual is employed by either:
(A) the board of trustees or directors of a charter school
foundation that supports the charter school entity; or
(B) the board of trustees or directors of an educational
management service provider that contracts with the charter
school entity.
(iii) If the individual is employed by or is a member of the
local board of school directors of the authorizer of the charter
school.
(2) No member of the board of trustees of a charter school
entity may participate in the selection, award or administration
of any contract if the member has a conflict of interest as that
term is defined in 65 Pa.C.S. § 1102 (relating to definitions).
Any member of the board of trustees of a charter school entity
who in the discharge of the person's official duties would be
required to vote on a matter that would result in a conflict of
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interest shall abstain from voting and follow the procedures
required under 65 Pa.C.S. § 1103(j) (relating to restricted
activities). A member of the board of trustees of a charter
school entity who knowingly violates this subsection commits a
violation of 65 Pa.C.S. § 1103(a) and shall be subject to the
penalties imposed under the jurisdiction of the State Ethics
Commission. A contract made in violation of this subsection
shall be voidable by a court of competent jurisdiction .
(3) A member of the board of trustees of a charter school
entity or family member of a member of a board of trustees of a
charter school entity shall not, directly or through any other
individual, entity, partnership or corporation in which the
member holds stock or has a financial interest or other
organization, provide a loan, forbearance or forgiveness of a
loan or other debt, service or product or lease property to the
charter school entity. A member of the board of trustees of a
charter school entity who violates this subsection commits a
violation of 65 Pa.C.S. § 1103(a) and shall be subject to the
penalties imposed under the jurisdiction of the State Ethics
Commission. A contract made in violation of this subsection
shall be voidable by a court of competent jurisdiction.
(e) No member of the board of trustees of a charter school
entity shall be compensated for duties on the board of trustees,
except that the charter school entity may reimburse the members
for reasonable expenses incurred in the performance of their
duties. A report detailing the reasons for and amounts of
reimbursements paid to each member of the board of trustees
shall be made available upon request of any person, including in
response to a request under the "Right-to-Know Law."
(f) (1) A majority of the voting members of the board of
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trustees shall constitute a quorum. If less than a majority is
present at any meeting, no business may be transacted at the
meeting. Members of the board may participate in a meeting by
telephone conference or other electronic technology by means of
which all individuals participating in the meeting can hear each
other.
(2) The affirmative vote of a majority of all the voting
members of the board of trustees, duly recorded, shall be
required in order to take official action.
( g ) (1) The board of trustees of a charter school entity
shall consist of a minimum of seven (7) nonrelated voting
members who are not family members. If a charter school entity
has fewer than seven (7) members, who are not family members,
serving on its board of trustees on the effective date of this
subsection, the charter school entity shall, within sixty (60)
days, appoint or select additional members to the board of
trustees to meet the minimum requirements of this section.
(2) The board of trustees shall include at least one of each
of the following:
(i) A certified public school educator not employed by the
charter school entity.
(ii) A parent, guardian or family member of a student
enrolled in the charter school entity or an alumnus of the
charter school entity.
(iii) A member of the community served by the charter school
entity.
(3) At least half of the members of the board of trustees
shall be appointed or selected through a procedure that provides
for the appointment and selection of the members by the
residents of the community served by the charter school entity.
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(4) A member of the board of trustees of a charter school
entity shall be automatically disqualified and immediately
removed from the board of trustees upon conviction or upon a
plea of guilty or nolo contendere for an offense graded as a
felony, an infamous crime, an offense pertaining to fraud, theft
or mismanagement of public funds, any offense pertaining to the
member's official capacity as a member of the board of trustees,
an offense listed in section 111(e) or any crime involving moral
turpitude. A member of the board of trustees may also be removed
from the board of trustees for violation of the st andards for
board of trustees' performance, including compliance with all
applicable laws, regulations and terms of the charter.
Section 9. The act is amended by adding a section to read:
Section 1716.2-A. Agreements or Contracts with Educational
Management Service Providers.--(a) A board of trustees of a
charter school entity may enter into an agreement or contract
with an educational management service provider to provide
educational design, business services, comprehensive management
or personnel functions or to implement its charter or charters.
The following apply:
(1) The board of trustees of the charter school entity shall
retain ultimate and actual authority for the operation of the
charter school, and the charter school shall be independent of
the educational management service provider.
(2) The educational management service provider may not
provide business services to the charter school entity if it is
also providing other services to the charter school entity under
the agreement or contract unless the board of trustees has
established procedures to ensure that all individual payments to
the educational management service provider are reviewed and
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authorized by an administrator of the charter school entity and
the board of trustees of the charter school entity.
(3) The educational management service provider shall not
provide a loan or other funding to a charter school entity
unless the loan or other funding is an arms-length transaction
that is documented in writing with repayment, term, interest,
termination and other customary provisions.
(4) No employe of a charter school entity may be supervised
by an employe or contractor of the educational management
service provider unless the contract or agreement provides that
the employe may appeal the terms of supervision to the board of
trustees of the charter school entity.
(5) The educational management service provider shall not
lease property to the charter school entity.
(6) Each service provided by the educational management
service provider and the cost for the service must be separately
identified in the charter school entity's agreement or contract
with the educational management service provider and in the
associated invoice or billing statement, or the equivalent.
(7) Each service provided by the educational management
service provider must be severable so that the board of trustees
of the charter school entity may terminate or make revisions to
one service without termination or revision by the educational
management service provider of any other service, except by
express agreement of the board of trustees of the charter school
entity.
(8) An educational management service provider agreement or
contract must provide that the educational management service
provider may not terminate the agreement or contract without
providing at least one (1) year's notice to the charter school
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entity. The agreement or contract shall provide that the
educational management service provider may terminate the
agreement or contract earlier only if expressly agreed to by the
board of trustees of the charter school entity following the
educational management service provider's notice of intent to
terminate the agreement or contract.
(9) The charter school entity shall be permitted to
terminate the agreement or contract with no more than thirty
(30) days' notice.
(10) If a charter school entity applicant has entered into
an agreement or contract before applying for or receiving a
charter, the charter school entity's application must include
evidence that the board of trustees has reviewed each service to
be provided and determined, through competitive bidding or at
least three quotes for professional services, that each service
to be provided by the educational management service provider is
provided at fair market value.
(11) The agreement or contract shall terminate upon closure
of the charter school entity unless the board of trustees of the
charter school entity and the educational management service
provider agree in writing that the educational service provider
will provide services related to the dissolution of the charter
school entity.
(12) The educational management service provider shall not
charge a percentage or contingency fee for services.
(13) Any employe or contractor assigned to the charter
school entity by the educational management service provider
must be individually identified, along with the employe's or
contractor's job functions, in the agreement or contract and in
any invoice or billing statement, or the equivalent.
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(14) The educational management service provider shall
provide to the board of trustees of the charter school entity,
upon request, a copy of any record relating to the services
provided under the agreement or contract.
(b) Any educational management service provider that
provides any service to a charter school entity:
(1) Is a local agency for the purpose of the act of February
14, 2008 (P.L.6, No.3), known as the "Right-to-Know Law."
(2) Shall maintain a publicly accessible Internet website
detailing the salaries and other compensation and titles of its
employes, officers and directors.
(c) Employes of an educational management service provider
that provides any service to a charter school entity are public
employes for purpose of 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 11 (relating to ethics
standards and financial disclosure).
Section 10. Sections 1717-A, 1718-A, 1719-A and 1720-A of
the act are amended to read:
Section 1717-A. Establishment of Charter School.--(a) A
charter school may be established by an individual; one or more
teachers who will teach at the proposed charter school; parents
or guardians of students who will attend the charter school; any
nonsectarian college, university or museum located in this
Commonwealth; any nonsectarian corporation not-for-profit, as
defined in 15 Pa.C.S. (relating to corporations and
unincorporated associations); any corporation, association or
partnership; or any combination thereof. A charter school may be
established by creating a new school or by converting an
existing public school or a portion of an existing public
school. No charter school shall be established or funded by and
no charter shall be granted to any sectarian school, institution
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or other entity. No funds allocated or disbursed under this
article shall be used to directly support instruction pursuant
to section 1327.1.
(b) (1) The conversion of an existing public school or
portion of an existing public school to a charter school may be
initiated by any individual or entity authorized to establish a
charter school under subsection (a).
(2) In order to convert an existing public school to a
charter school, the applicants must show that:
(i) More than fifty per centum of the teaching staff in the
public school have signed a petition in support of the public
school becoming a charter school; and
(ii) More than fifty per centum of the parents or guardians
of pupils attending that public school have signed a petition in
support of the school becoming a charter school.
(3) In no event shall the board of school directors serve as
the board of trustees of an existing school which is converted
to a charter school pursuant to this subsection.
(c) An application to establish a charter school shall be
submitted to the local board of school directors of the district
where the charter school will be located by [November 15]
October 1 of the school year preceding the school year in which
the charter school will be established except that for a charter
school beginning in the 1997-1998 school year, an application
must be received by July 15, 1997. In the 1997-1998 school year
only, applications shall be limited to recipients of fiscal year
1996-1997 Department of Education charter school planning
grants.
(d) Within forty-five (45) days of receipt of an
application, the local board of school directors in which the
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proposed charter school is to be located shall hold at least one
public hearing on the provisions of the charter application,
under [the act of July 3, 1986 (P.L.388, No.84), known as the
"Sunshine Act."] 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 (relating to open meetings).
At least forty-five (45) days must transpire between the first
public hearing and the final decision of the board on the
charter application [except that for a charter school beginning
in the 1997-1998 school year, only thirty (30) days must
transpire between the first public hearing and the final
decision of the board.].
(e) (1) Not later than seventy-five (75) days after the
first public hearing on the application, the local board of
school directors shall grant or deny the application.[ For a
charter school beginning in the 1997-1998 school year, the local
board of school directors shall grant or deny the application no
later than sixty (60) days after the first public hearing.]
(2) A charter school application submitted under this
article shall be evaluated by the local board of school
directors based on criteria, including, but not limited to, the
following:
(i) The demonstrated, sustainable support for the charter
school plan by teachers, parents, other community members and
students, including comments received at the public hearing held
under subsection (d).
(ii) The capability of the charter school applicant, in
terms of support and planning, to provide comprehensive learning
experiences to students pursuant to the adopted charter.
(iii) The extent to which the application considers the
information requested in section 1719-A and conforms to the
legislative intent outlined in section 1702-A.
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(iv) The extent to which the charter school may serve as a
model for other public schools.
(3) The local board of school directors, in the case of an
existing school being converted to a charter school, shall
establish the alternative arrangements for current students who
choose not to attend the charter school.
(4) A charter application shall be deemed approved by the
local board of school directors of a school district upon
affirmative vote by a majority of all the directors. Formal
action approving or denying the application shall be taken by
the local board of school directors at a public meeting, with
notice or consideration of the application given by the board,
under [the "Sunshine Act."] 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7.
(5) Written notice of the board's action shall be sent to
the applicant, the department and the appeal board. If the
application is denied, the reasons for the denial, including a
description of deficiencies in the application, shall be clearly
stated in the notice sent by the local board of school directors
to the charter school applicant.
(f) At the option of the charter school applicant, a denied
application may be revised and resubmitted to the local board of
school directors. [Following the appointment and confirmation of
the Charter School Appeal Board under section 1721-A, the] The
decision of the local board of school directors may be appealed
to the appeal board. When an application is revised and
resubmitted to the local board of school directors, the board
may schedule additional public hearings on the revised
application. The board shall consider the revised and
resubmitted application at the first board meeting occurring at
least forty-five (45) days after receipt of the revised
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application by the board. For a revised application resubmitted
for the 1997-1998 school year, the board shall consider the
application at the first board meeting occurring at least thirty
(30) days after its receipt. The board shall provide notice of
consideration of the revised application under [the "Sunshine
Act." No appeal from a decision of a local school board may be
taken until July 1, 1999] 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7.
(g) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (e)(5),
failure by the local board of directors to hold a public hearing
and to grant or deny the application for a charter school within
the time periods specified in subsections (d), (e) and (f) shall
permit the applicant for a charter to file its application as an
appeal to the appeal board. In such case, the appeal board shall
provide notice of the appeal to the local board of directors and
may allow the local board of directors to be heard on the
application. If the local board of directors fails to respond
within ten (10) days, the appeal board shall review the
application and make a decision to grant or deny a charter based
on the criteria established in subsection (e)(2).
(h) In the case of a review by the appeal board [of an
application], a charter that is revoked or is not renewed, the
appeal board shall [make its decision based on the criteria
established in subsection (e)(2).] determine whether the
decision to revoke or not renew the charter by the local board
of directors was arbitrary and capricious. If the appeal board
finds that the decision was arbitrary and capricious, the appeal
board shall rev erse the decision of the local board of
directors. A decision by the appeal board under this subsection
or subsection (g) to grant, to renew or not to revoke a charter
shall serve as a requirement for the local board of directors of
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a school district or school districts, as appropriate, to sign
the written charter of the charter school as provided for in
section 1720-A. Should the local board of directors fail to
grant the application and sign the charter within ten (10) days
of notice of reversal of the decision of the local board of
directors, the charter shall be deemed to be approved and shall
be signed by the [chairman] chairperson of the appeal board.
(i) (1) The appeal board shall have the exclusive review of
an appeal by a charter school applicant, or by the board of
trustees of an existing charter school, of a decision made by a
local board of directors not to grant a charter as provided in
this section.
(2) In order for a charter school applicant to be eligible
to appeal the denial of a charter by the local board of
directors, the applicant must obtain the signatures of at least
two per centum of the residents of the school district or of one
thousand (1,000) residents, whichever is less, who are over
eighteen (18) years of age. For a regional charter school, the
applicant must obtain the signatures of at least two per centum
of the residents of each school district granting the charter or
of one thousand (1,000) residents from each of the school
districts granting the charter, whichever is less, who are over
eighteen (18) years of age. The signatures shall be obtained
within sixty (60) days of the denial of the application by the
local board of directors in accordance with clause (3).
(3) Each person signing a petition to appeal denial of a
charter under clause (2) shall declare that he or she is a
resident of the school district which denied the charter
application and shall include his or her printed name;
signature; address, including city, borough or township, with
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street and number, if any; and the date of signing. All pages
shall be bound together. Additional pages of the petition shall
be numbered consecutively. There shall be appended to the
petition a statement that the local board of directors rejected
the petition for a charter school, the names of all applicants
for the charter, the date of denial by the board and the
proposed location of the charter school. No resident may sign
more than one petition relating to the charter school
application within the sixty (60) days following denial of the
application. The department shall develop a form to be used to
petition for an appeal.
(4) Each petition shall have appended thereto the affidavit
of some person, not necessarily a signer, setting forth all of
the following:
(i) That the affiant is a resident of the school district
referred to in the petition.
(ii) The affiant's residence, giving city, borough or
township, with street and number, if any.
(iii) That the signers signed with full knowledge of the
purpose of the petition.
(iv) That the signers' respective residences are correctly
stated in the petition.
(v) That the signers all reside in the school district.
(vi) That each signer signed on the date set forth opposite
the signer's name.
(vii) That to the best of the affiant's knowledge and
belief, the signers are residents of the school district.
(5) If the required number of signatures are obtained within
sixty (60) days of the denial of the application, the applicant
may present the petition to the court of common pleas of the
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county in which the charter school would be situated. The court
shall hold a hearing only on the sufficiency of the petition.
The applicant and local board of school directors shall be given
seven (7) days' notice of the hearing. The court shall issue a
decree establishing the sufficiency or insufficiency of the
petition. If the petition is sufficient, the decree shall be
transmitted to the State Charter School Appeal Board for review
in accordance with this section. Notification of the decree
shall be given to the applicant and the local board of
directors.
(6) In any appeal, the decision made by the local board of
directors shall be reviewed by the appeal board on the record as
certified by the local board of directors. The appeal board
shall [give due consideration to the findings of the local board
of directors] determine whether the decision of the local board
of directors was arbitrary and capricious and specifically
articulate its reasons for [agreeing or disagreeing with those]
its findings in [its] a written decision. The appeal board shall
have the discretion to allow the local board of directors and
the charter school applicant to supplement the record if the
supplemental information was previously unavailable.
(7) Not later than thirty (30) days after the date of notice
of the acceptance of the appeal, the appeal board shall meet to
officially review the certified record.
(8) Not later than sixty (60) days following the review
conducted pursuant to clause (6), the appeal board shall issue a
written decision affirming or denying the appeal. If the appeal
board has affirmed the decision of the local board of directors,
notice shall be provided to both parties.
(9) A decision of the appeal board to reverse the decision
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of the local board of directors shall serve as a requirement for
the local board of directors of a school district or school
districts, as appropriate, to grant the application and sign the
written charter of the charter school as provided for in section
1720-A. Should the local board of directors fail to grant the
application and sign the charter within ten (10) days of notice
of the reversal of the decision of the local board of directors,
the charter shall be deemed to be approved and shall be signed
by the [chairman] chairperson of the appeal board.
(10) All decisions of the appeal board shall be subject to
appellate review by the Commonwealth Court.
Section 1718-A. Regional Charter School.--(a) A regional
charter school may be established by an individual, one or more
teachers who will teach at the proposed charter school; parents
or guardians of students who will attend the charter school; any
nonsectarian college, university or museum located in this
Commonwealth; any nonsectarian corporation not-for-profit, as
defined in 15 Pa.C.S. (relating to corporations and
unincorporated associations); any corporation, association or
partnership; or any combination thereof. A regional charter
school may be established by creating a new school or by
converting an existing public school or a portion of an existing
public school. Conversion of an existing public school to a
regional charter school shall be accomplished in accordance with
section 1714-A(b). No regional charter school shall be
established or funded by and no charter shall be granted to any
sectarian school, institution or other entity.
(b) The boards of school directors of one or more school
districts may act jointly to receive and consider an application
for a regional charter school, except that any action to approve
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an application for a charter or to sign a written charter of an
applicant shall require an affirmative vote of a majority of all
the directors of each of the school districts involved. The
applicant shall apply for a charter to the board of directors of
any school district in which the charter school will be located.
(c) The provisions of this article as they pertain to
charter schools and the powers and duties of the local board of
school directors of a school district and the appeal board shall
apply to regional charter schools, except as provided in
subsections (a) and (b) or as otherwise clearly stated in this
article.
Section 1719-A. Contents of Application.--[An application]
(a) The department shall create and publish a model application
form, in paper and electronic formats, that an applicant seeking
to establish a charter school shall, at a minimum, complete as
part of its application. The forms shall be published in the
Pennsylvania Bulletin and posted on the department's publicly
accessible Internet website. The forms shall include all of the
following information:
(1) The identification of the charter applicant.
(2) The name of the proposed charter school.
(3) The grade or age levels served by the charter school.
(4) The proposed governance structure of the charter school,
including a description and method for the appointment or
[election] selection of members of the board of trustees[.]; a
copy of the articles of incorporation filed with the Department
of State; a copy of the by-laws, operating agreement or
equivalent document adopted by the applicant for the general
governance of the charter school; and an organization chart
clearly presenting the proposed governance structure of the
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charter school, including lines of authority and reporting
between the board of trustees, administrators, staff and any
educational management service provider that will provide
services to the charter school.
(4.1) A description of the roles and responsibilities of the
board of trustees, administrators and any other entities,
including a charter school foundation and any educational
management service provider that will provide educational
management services to the charter school, shown in the
organization chart.
(4.2) Standards for board of trustees' performance,
including compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and
terms of the charter.
(4.3) If the charter school entity intends to contract with
an educational management service provider for services, the
charter school entity shall provide all of the following:
(i) Evidence of the educational management service
provider's record, including its record in the schools where the
provider provides or has provided services, in serving student
populations, including demonstrated academic achievement and
growth and demonstrated management of nonacademic school
functions, including proficiency with public school-based
accounting, if applicable.
(ii) The complete proposed contract or agreement between the
charter school and the educational management service provider
stating all of the following:
(A) The officers, chief administrator and administrators of
the educational management service provider.
(B) The proposed duration of the service contract or
agreement.
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(C) Roles and responsibilities of the board of trustees, the
charter school staff and the educational management service
provider.
(D) The scope of services, personnel and resources to be
provided by the educational management service provider.
(E) Performance evaluation measures and time lines.
(F) The compensation structure, including clear
identification of all fees to be paid to the educational
management service provider.
(G) Methods of oversight and enforcement of the contract or
agreement.
(H) Investment disclosure or the advance of any monies by
the educational management service provider on behalf of the
charter school entity with clear repayment terms.
(I) Conditions for renewal and termination of the contract
or agreement.
(iii) Disclosure and explanation of any existing or
potential conflicts of interest between the members of the board
of trustees of the charter school or members of the board of
trustees or directors of the charter school foundation and the
proposed educational management service provider or any
affiliated entities, including a charter school foundation
qualified as a support organization under the Internal Revenue
Code of 1986 (Public Law 99-514, 26 U.S.C. § 1 et seq.).
(5) The mission and education goals of the charter school,
the curriculum to be offered and the methods of assessing
whether students are meeting educational goals, including any
performance targets outlined in the charter.
(6) The admission and enrollment policy [and], including
criteria for evaluating the admission of students which shall
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comply with the requirements of section 1723-A.
(7) Procedures which will be used regarding the suspension
or expulsion of pupils. Said procedures shall comply with
section 1318.
(8) Information on the manner in which community groups will
be involved in the charter school planning process.
(9) The financial plan for the charter school, including
annual budgets for the first three (3) years of operation of the
charter school, and the provisions which will be made for
auditing the school under [section 437.] sections 437 and 1728-
A, including the role of any charter school foundation. The
annual budgets required under this clause shall be prepared on a
uniform form made available by the department, which shall
require that the applicant provide no more information than that
provided by school districts pursuant to section 687.
(9.1) A description of funds available to the charter school
for planning and operation prior to receipt of funds pursuant to
section 1725-A or 1725.1-A.
(10) Procedures which shall be established to review
complaints of parents and guardians regarding the operation of
the charter school.
(11) A description [of] and address of the physical facility
in which the charter school will be located [and the ownership
thereof and any lease arrangements.], including information
related to the facility, its size, location, amenities,
ownership, availability for lease or purchase, projected
improvements and financing.
(12) Information on the proposed school calendar for the
charter school, including the length of the school day and
school year consistent with the provisions of section 1502.
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(13) The proposed faculty, if already determined, and a
professional development and continuing education plan for the
faculty and professional staff of [a] the charter school.
(14) Whether any agreements have been entered into or plans
developed with the local school district regarding participation
of the charter [school] school's students in extracurricular
activities within the school district. Notwithstanding any
provision to the contrary, no school district of residence shall
prohibit a student of a charter school from participating in any
extracurricular activity of that school district of residence:
Provided, That the student is able to fulfill all of the
requirements of participation in such activity and the charter
school does not provide the same extracurricular activity. The
school district of residence may charge the charter school
entity a reasonable amount for a charter school student's
participation in the school district's extracurricular activity,
which amount shall not exceed the actual cost incurre d by the
school district for participation by its students in the
activity. The charter school student shall not be required to
pay any costs not also paid by a student enrolled in the school
district for participation in the extracurricular activity.
(15) [A report] Reports of criminal history [record] records
and employment history reviews, pursuant to [section 111,]
sections 111 and 111.1, for each member of the board of trustees
of the charter school, each administrator and all individuals
identified in the application who shall have direct contact with
students[.] and a plan for satisfying the proper criminal
history record clearances and employment history reviews
required for all other staff.
(16) An official clearance statement regarding child injury
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or abuse from the Department of [Public Welfare] Human Services
as required by 23 Pa.C.S. Ch. 63 Subch. [C.2 (relating to
background checks for employment in schools)] C (relating to
powers and duties of department) and section 111 for each member
of the board of trustees of the charter school, each
administrator and all individuals identified in the application
who shall have direct contact with students[.] and a plan for
satisfying the proper official clearance statement regarding
child injury or abuse required for all other staff .
[(17) How the charter school will provide adequate liability
and other appropriate insurance for the charter school, its
employes and the board of trustees of the charter school.]
(18) Documentation that a charter school entity possesses
and maintains adequate and appropriate insurance, bond or other
security for the charter school entity and the charter school's
board of trustees and employes to prevent a charter school's
outstanding liabilities and obligations from being imposed upon
school entities or the Commonwealth, or otherwise affect the
rights, benefits or remedies available to the students, parents
or employes of a charter school. The department shall promulgate
final-omitted regulations setting forth minimum security
requirements sufficient to guarantee payment of the charter
school entity's liabilities in accordance with this article.
(19) Policies regarding truancy, absences and withdrawal of
students, including the manner in which the charter school
entity will monitor and enforce attendance consistent with
section 1715-A(9).
(20) Whether or not the charter school entity will seek
accreditation by a nationally recognized accreditation agency,
including the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
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or another regional institutional accrediting agency recognized
by the United States Department of Education or an equivalent
Federally recognized body for charter school education.
(21) Documentation that the principal and special education
teachers will be properly certified educators and evidence to
demonstrate the charter school's plan to ensure that other
professional staff are properly certified, including any plans
to contract with other public school entities for services of
professional staff for specialized courses that are not part of
the regular course offerings of the charter school.
(22) A dissolution plan and policy for the charter school
that, at a minimum, specifies all of the following:
(i) the procedures for identifying and designating a
dissolution manager to handle and oversee the dissolution of the
charter school;
(ii) a process for identifying and paying off the
liabilities and debts of the charter school and establishing an
escrow account to handle any future liabilities;
(iii) provisions for a final financial audit of the charter
school;
(iv) plans to provide student records to the school district
of residence;
(v) plans to maintain business records and employe records
of the charter school in an accessible location; and
(vi) plans to complete the dissolution of the charter
school.
(23) For applicants currently operating or managing charter
school entities in this Commonwealth or other states,
information about the academic performance, accepted standards
of fiscal management and audit requirements and governance and
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operations of the operating charter school entities for the
three most recent school years for which information is
available as well as academic performance, accepted standards of
fiscal management and audit requirements and governance and
operations for any closed charter school entities that the
applicant had operated or managed in this Commonwealth or
another state.
(b) The department shall create and publish a model renewal
application form, in paper and electronic formats, that a
charter school seeking renewal of its charter shall, at a
minimum, complete as part of its renewal application. The form
shall be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and posted on
the department's publicly accessible Internet website. The form
shall include information from subsection (a), as applicable.
(c) The department shall review the model application and
renewal application forms at least every three years and revise
the application forms as needed.
(d) Nothing in this section shall prevent an authorizer from
requiring or evaluating additional information as permitted by
this act.
Section 1720-A. Term and Form of Charter.--(a) Upon
approval of a charter application under section 1717-A, a
written charter shall be developed which shall contain the
provisions of the charter application, the terms and conditions
agreed to by the parties, including the maximum authorized grade
and enrollment provisions, and which shall be signed by the
local board of school directors of a school district, by the
local boards of school directors of a school district in the
case of a regional charter school or by the [chairman]
chairperson of the appeal board pursuant to section 1717-A(i)(5)
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and the board of trustees of the charter school. This written
charter, when duly signed by the local board of school directors
of a school district, or by the local boards of school directors
of a school district in the case of a regional charter school,
and the charter school's board of trustees, shall act as legal
authorization for the establishment of a charter school. This
written charter shall be legally binding on both the local board
of school directors of a school district and the charter
school's board of trustees. Except as otherwise provided in
[subsection (b)] subsections (b) and (c), the charter shall be
for a period of no less than three (3) nor more than five (5)
years and may be renewed for five (5) year periods upon
reauthorization by the local board of school directors of a
school district or the appeal board. A charter will be granted
only for a school organized as a public, nonprofit corporation.
(b) (1) Notwithstanding subsection (a), a governing board
of a school district [of the first class] may renew a charter
for a period of at least one (1) year, but less than five years,
if the board of school directors determines that:
(i) there is insufficient data concerning the charter
school's:
(A) academic performance to adequately assess that
performance [determines that an], including any performance
targets as outlined in the charter;
(B) governance and operations; and
(C) accepted standards of fiscal management and audit
requirements; and
(ii) additional [year of performance] data would yield
sufficient data to assist the governing board in its decision
whether to renew the charter for a period of five (5) years.
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(2) A [one-year] renewal pursuant to paragraph (1) shall not
be considered an adjudication and may not be appealed to the
State Charter School Appeal Board.
(3) A governing board of a school district [of the first
class] does not have the authority to renew a charter for
successive [one (1) year] periods of at least one (1) year but
less than five (5) years.
(c) At the discretion of a local board of school directors,
a charter may be renewed for a period of ten (10) years if the
local board of school directors determines that the charter
school primarily serves students residing in a specific
geographic area or a defined at-risk student population, which
shall be described in the written charter. The decision of the
local board of school directors to deny a ten (10) year charter
under this subsection may not be appealed.
Section 11. The act is amended by adding a section to read:
Section 1720.1-A. Charter Amendments.--(a) Except in cases
of requests for expedited consideration of a charter amendment
request as provided in subsection (h), a charter school desiring
to amend a material term of its charter shall first submit a
written proposal outlining the proposed amendment to the
authorizer. Within sixty (60) days of submission of the written
proposal, and at least ten (10) days before November 1 of the
school year preceding the school year in which the charter
school proposes to operate pursuant to the proposed amendment,
the authorizer shall provide a written response to the charter
school identifying the form and scope of the information
necessary for review of the amendment request. At a minimum, the
scope of information to be submitted shall include all that
information required when submitting a new charter application
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as specifically relevant to the component of the charter that
the school seeks to amend.
(b) A charter school shall submit a request for an amendment
to its charter in the form and containing the information
identified by the authorizer or the department under subsection
(a) no later than November 1 of the school year preceding the
school year in which the charter school proposes to operate
pursuant to the proposed amendment.
(c) The authorizer shall review the charter school's
amendment request pursuant to the criteria in section 1717-A(e)
(2) and any criteria set forth in a policy adopted by the
authorizer.
(d) Within sixty (60) days of receipt by the authorizer of a
charter school's charter amendment request, the authorizer shall
publish a public notice of the requested amendment and accept
the submission of public comments for at least thirty (30)
days. In addition to publishing a public notice, the authorizer
shall hold a public hearing on the provisions of the charter
amendment request under 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 (relating to open
meetings).
(e) Within one-hundred and eighty (180) days of the receipt
by the authorizer of the charter amendment request, the
authorizer shall grant or deny the request. Written notice of
the authorizer's action shall be sent to the charter school and
the department.
(f) If the amendment request is granted, the charter
school's written charter shall be supplemented or amended, as
appropriate, to contain the provisions of the amendment request,
and the amended charter shall be signed by the authorizer and
each member of the charter school's board of trustees. The
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