GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA

SESSION 2017

H 4

HOUSE BILL 779

Committee Substitute Favorable 4/24/17

Committee Substitute #2 Favorable 4/25/17

Fourth Edition Engrossed 4/26/17

 

Short Title: Charter School Changes.

(Public)

Sponsors:

 

Referred to:

 

April 13, 2017

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

AN ACT to make various changes to the charter school laws.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

 

Part i. expansion of growth exception for Material Revisions of Charters

SECTION 1.(a) G.S. 115C‑218.7(b) reads as rewritten:

"(b) Enrollment growth of greater than twenty percent (20%) shall be considered a material revision of the charter.charter for any charter school identified as low-performing. The State Board may approve such additional enrollment growth of greater than twenty percent (20%) only if it finds all of the following:

(1) The actual enrollment of the charter school is within ten percent (10%) of its maximum authorized enrollment.

(2) The charter school has commitments for ninety percent (90%) of the requested maximum growth.

(3) The charter school is not currently identified as low‑performing.

(4) The charter school meets generally accepted standards of fiscal management.

(5) The charter school is, at the time of the request for the enrollment increase, substantially in compliance with State law, federal law, the charter school's own bylaws, and the provisions set forth in its charter granted by the State Board."

SECTION 1.(b) G.S. 115C-217.7 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:

"(b1) Enrollment growth of greater than thirty percent (30%) shall be considered a material revision of the charter for any charter school that is not identified as low-performing. The State Board may approve such additional enrollment growth of greater than thirty percent (30%) only if it finds all of the following:

(1) The actual enrollment of the charter school is within ten percent (10%) of its maximum authorized enrollment.

(2) The charter school has commitments for ninety percent (90%) of the requested maximum growth.

(3) The charter school meets generally accepted standards of fiscal management.

(4) The charter school is, at the time of the request for the enrollment increase, substantially in compliance with State law, federal law, the charter school's own bylaws, and the provisions set forth in its charter granted by the State Board."

SECTION 1.(c) G.S. 115C‑218.8 reads as rewritten:

" 115C‑218.8. Nonmaterial revisions of charters.

It shall not be considered a material revision of a charter and shall not require prior approval of the State Board for a charter school to do any of the following:

(1) Increase its enrollment during the charter school's second year of operation and annually thereafter by up to twenty percent (20%) of the school's previous year's enrollment.in accordance with G.S. 115C-218.7(b) or G.S. 115C-218.7(b1).

(2) Increase its enrollment during the charter school's second year of operation and annually thereafter in accordance with planned growth as authorized in its charter.

(3) Expand to offer one grade higher or lower than the charter school currently offers if the charter school has (i) operated for at least three years, (ii) has not been identified as continually low‑performing as provided in G.S. 115C‑218.94, and (iii) has been in financial compliance as required by the State Board."

SECTION 1.(d) This section is effective when it becomes law and applies to approvals for material changes on or after that date.

 

PART II. ENROLLMENT PRIORITIES FOR STUDENTS PREVIOUSLY ENROLLED IN CHARTERS

SECTION 2. G.S. 115C‑218.45(f) reads as rewritten:

"(f) The charter school may give enrollment priority to any of the following:

(1) Siblings of currently enrolled students who were admitted to the charter school in a previous year. For the purposes of this section, the term "siblings" includes any of the following who reside in the same household: half siblings, stepsiblings, and children residing in a family foster home.

(2) Siblings of students who have completed the highest grade level offered by that school and who were enrolled in at least four grade levels offered by the charter school or, if less than four grades are offered, in the maximum number of grades offered by the charter school.

(3) Limited to no more than fifteen percent (15%) of the school's total enrollment, unless granted a waiver by the State Board of Education, the following:

a. Children of the school's full‑time employees.

b. Children of the charter school's board of directors.

(4) A student who was enrolled in the charter school within the two previous school years but left the school (i) to participate in an academic study abroad program or a competitive admission residential program or (ii) because of the vocational opportunities of the student's parent.

(5) A student who was enrolled in another charter school in the State in the previous school year that does not offer the student's next grade level.

(6) A student who was enrolled in another charter school in the State in the previous school year that does not offer the student's next grade level and both of the charter schools have an enrollment articulation agreement to accept students or are governed by the same board of directors.

(7) A student who was enrolled in another charter school in the State in the previous school year."

 

part iiI. disaggregation of student performance data

SECTION 3.(a) G.S. 115C‑218.110(b) reads as rewritten:

"(b) The State Board of Education shall review and evaluate the educational effectiveness of the charter schools authorized under this Article and the effect of charter schools on the public schools in the local school administrative unit in which the charter schools are located. The Board shall report annually no later than January 15 to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on the following:

(1) The current and projected impact of charter schools on the delivery of services by the public schools.

(2) Student academic progress in the charter schools as measured, where available, against the academic year immediately preceding the first academic year of the charter schools' operation.

(2a) The student performance data based on the Education Value‑Added Assessment System (EVAAS) for charter school students disaggregated by years of student enrollment on the basis of race, sex, grade level, ethnicity, free or reduced lunch status, and disability status in the charter school for the following categories:

a. Charter schools.

b. Virtual charter schools.

c. Dropout prevention and recovery program charter schools.

(3) Best practices resulting from charter school operations.

(4) Other information the State Board considers appropriate.

Notwithstanding the requirements for disaggregated data, the report shall not include any personally identifiable student data, as defined in G.S. 115C‑402.5."

SECTION 3.(b) This section is effective when it becomes law and applies to reports submitted on or after January 1, 2018.

 

PART IV. CHARTER SCHOOLS AND nc pRE‑k

SECTION 4.(a) G.S. 115C‑218(c)(3) reads as rewritten:

"(3) Powers and duties. The Office of Charter Schools shall have the following powers and duties:

a. Serve as staff to the Advisory Board and fulfill any task and duties assigned to it by the Advisory Board.

b. Provide technical assistance and guidance to charter schools operating within the State.

c. Provide technical assistance and guidance to nonprofit corporations seeking to operate charter schools within the State.

d. Provide or arrange for training for charter schools that have received preliminary approval from the State Board.

e. Assist approved charter schools and charter schools seeking approval from the State Board in coordinating services with the Department of Public Instruction.

e1. Assist certain charter schools seeking to participate in the NC prekindergarten program in accordance with G.S. 115C‑218.115.

f. Other duties as assigned by the State Board."

SECTION 4.(b) G.S. 115C‑218.45(f), as amended by Section 2 of this act, reads as rewritten:

"(f) The charter school may give enrollment priority to any of the following:

(1) Siblings of currently enrolled students who were admitted to the charter school in a previous year. For the purposes of this section, the term "siblings" includes any of the following who reside in the same household: half siblings, stepsiblings, and children residing in a family foster home.

(2) Siblings of students who have completed the highest grade level offered by that school and who were enrolled in at least four grade levels offered by the charter school or, if less than four grades are offered, in the maximum number of grades offered by the charter school.

(2a) A student who was enrolled in a preschool program operated by the charter school in the prior year.

(3) Limited to no more than fifteen percent (15%) of the school's total enrollment, unless granted a waiver by the State Board of Education, the following:

a. Children of the school's full‑time employees.

b. Children of the charter school's board of directors.

(4) A student who was enrolled in the charter school within the two previous school years but left the school (i) to participate in an academic study abroad program or a competitive admission residential program or (ii) because of the vocational opportunities of the student's parent.

(5) A student who was enrolled in another charter school in the State in the previous school year that does not offer the student's next grade level.

(6) A student who was enrolled in another charter school in the State in the previous school year that does not offer the student's next grade level and both of the charter schools have an enrollment articulation agreement to accept students or are governed by the same board of directors.

(7) A student who was enrolled in another charter school in the State in the previous school year."

SECTION 4.(c) Article 14A of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

" 115C‑218.115. Operation of NC Pre‑K programs.

(a) A charter school may apply to a local contracting agency to participate in the NC prekindergarten (NC Pre‑K) program as a local program site offering families a high‑quality prekindergarten experience. A charter school that seeks to operate as a NC Pre‑K program site may request administrative and technical assistance from the Office of Charter Schools with its application to the local contracting agency if the charter school meets all of the following:

(1) The charter school has operated as a charter school for at least three school years.

(2) The charter school is not currently identified as low‑performing.

(3) The charter school meets generally accepted standards of fiscal management.

(4) The charter school is substantially in compliance with State law, federal law, the charter school's own bylaws, and the provisions set forth in its charter granted by the State Board.

(b) The Office of Charter Schools, in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Child Development and Early Education, shall assist a charter school under subsection (a) of this section with determining whether the charter school's proposed program meets (i) the building standards set forth in subsection (c) of this section and any other State standards for the charter school to be licensed as a child care facility and (ii) the standards required to be selected as a site under the NC Pre‑K program. If the charter school does not meet these standards, the Office of Charter Schools shall provide assistance to the charter school in identifying any obstacles to its participation in the NC Pre‑K program.

(c) A charter school that otherwise meets all of the requirements for a child care facility license may use an existing or newly constructed classroom in the charter school for three‑ and four‑year‑old preschool students without modifications to the classroom or building if the classroom meets all of the following:

(1) Has at least one toilet and one sink for hand washing.

(2) Meets kindergarten standards for overhead light fixtures.

(3) Meets kindergarten standards for floors, walls, and ceilings.

(4) Has floors, walls, and ceilings that are free from mold, mildew, and lead hazards."

 

part v. MODULAR UNIT Tax Exemption for ALL schools

SECTION 5.(a) G.S. 105‑275 is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:

"(49) A mobile classroom or modular unit that is occupied by a school and is wholly and exclusively used for educational purposes, as defined in G.S. 105‑278.4(f), regardless of the ownership of the property. For the purposes of this subdivision, the term "school" means a public school, including any school operated by a local board of education in a local school administrative unit; a nonprofit charter school; a regional school; a nonprofit nonpublic school regulated under Article 39 of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes; or a community college established under Article 2 of Chapter 115D of the General Statutes."

SECTION 5.(b) This section is effective for taxes imposed for taxable years beginning on or after July 1, 2017.

 

part Vi. effective date

SECTION 6. Except as otherwise provided, this act is effective when it becomes law.