115C-218.90. Employment requirements.

(a) Employees. -

(1) An employee of a charter school is not an employee of the local school administrative unit in which the charter school is located. The charter school's board of directors shall employ and contract with necessary teachers or contract with an education management organization or charter management organization to employ and provide teachers to perform the particular service for which they are employed in the school; at least fifty percent (50%) of these teachers shall hold teacher licenses. All teachers who are teaching in the core subject areas of mathematics, science, social studies, and language arts shall be college graduates.

The board also may employ necessary employees who are not required to hold teacher licenses to perform duties other than teaching and may contract for other services. The board may discharge teachers and nonlicensed employees.

(2) No local board of education shall require any employee of the local school administrative unit to be employed in a charter school.

(3) If a teacher employed by a local school administrative unit makes a written request for a leave of absence to teach at a charter school, the local school administrative unit shall grant the leave for one year. For the initial year of a charter school's operation, the local school administrative unit may require that the request for a leave of absence be made up to 45 days before the teacher would otherwise have to report for duty. After the initial year of a charter school's operation, the local school administrative unit may require that the request for a leave of absence be made up to 90 days before the teacher would otherwise have to report for duty. A local board of education is not required to grant a request for a leave of absence or a request to extend or renew a leave of absence for a teacher who previously has received a leave of absence from that school board under this subdivision. A teacher who has received a leave of absence to teach at a charter school may return to a public school in the local school administrative unit at the end of the leave of absence or upon the end of employment at the charter school if an appropriate position is available. If a teacher has career status under G.S. 115C-325 prior to receiving a leave of absence to teach at a charter school, the teacher may return to a public school in the local school administrative unit with career status at the end of the leave of absence or upon the end of employment at the charter school if an appropriate position is available. If an appropriate position is unavailable, the teacher's name shall be placed on a list of available teachers in accordance with G.S. 115C-325(e)(2).

(4) The employees of the charter school shall be deemed employees of the local school administrative unit for purposes of providing certain State-funded employee benefits, including membership in the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System and the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees. The State Board of Education provides funds to charter schools, approves the original members of the boards of directors of the charter schools, has the authority to grant, supervise, and revoke charters, and demands full accountability from charter schools for school finances and student performance. Accordingly, it is the determination of the General Assembly that charter schools are public schools and that the employees of charter schools are public school employees. Employees of a charter school whose board of directors elects to become a participating employer under G.S. 135-5.3 are "teachers" for the purpose of membership in the North Carolina Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System. In no event shall anything contained in this Article require the North Carolina Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System to accept employees of a private employer as members or participants of the System.

(5) Education employee associations shall have equal access to charter school employees as provided in G.S. 115C-335.9.

(b) Criminal History Checks. -

(1) If the local board of education of the local school administrative unit in which a charter school is located has adopted a policy requiring criminal history checks under G.S. 115C-332, then the board of directors of each charter school located in that local school administrative unit shall adopt a policy mirroring the local board of education policy that requires an applicant for employment to be checked for a criminal history, as defined in G.S. 115C-332. Each charter school board of directors shall apply its policy uniformly in requiring applicants for employment to be checked for a criminal history before the applicant is given an unconditional job offer. A charter school board of directors may employ an applicant conditionally while the board is checking the person's criminal history and making a decision based on the results of the check. If the local board of education adopts a policy providing for periodic checks of criminal history of employees, then the board of directors of each charter school located in that local school administrative unit shall adopt a policy mirroring that local board of education policy. A board of directors shall indicate, upon inquiry by any other local board of education, charter school, or regional school in the State as to the reason for an employee's resignation or dismissal, if an employee's criminal history was relevant to the employee's resignation or dismissal.

(2) There shall be no liability for negligence on the part of the State Board of Education or the board of directors of the charter school, or their employees, arising from any act taken or omission by any of them in carrying out the provisions of this subsection. The immunity established by this subsection shall not extend to gross negligence, wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing that would otherwise be actionable. The immunity established by this subsection shall be deemed to have been waived to the extent of indemnification by insurance, indemnification under Articles 31A and 31B of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes, and to the extent sovereign immunity is waived under the Tort Claims Act, as set forth in Article 31 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes. (1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 731, s. 2; 1997-430, s. 5; 1997-443, s. 8.19; 1997-456, s. 55.4; 1998-212, s. 9.14A(a); 1999-243, s. 8; 2001-462, s. 1; 2004-118, s. 3; 2004-203, s. 45(b); 2006-69, s. 3(e); 2006-137, s. 2; 2007-59, s. 2; 2007-126, s. 2; 2007-323, s. 28.22A(o); 2007-345, s. 12; 2009-239, s. 1; 2009-563, s. 2; 2010-10, s. 2(a); 2011-93, s. 2(a); 2011-145, s. 7.29(b); 2011-164, s. 4; 2011-282, s. 9; 2012-142, ss. 7A.1(f), 7A.3(c), 7A.11(b); 2012-145, s. 2.5; 2012-179, s. 1(c); 2013-307, s. 1.1; 2013-355, s. 1(f); 2013-359, s. 1; 2013-360, ss. 8.43(a), 9.7(q); 2014-101, s. 7; 2017-157, ss. 2(c), (n); 2017-173, s. 1; 2017-189, s. 4(a).)