GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA
HOUSE BILL 800
Committee Substitute Favorable 4/24/17
Third Edition Engrossed 4/25/17
Short Title: Various Changes to Charter School Laws.
April 13, 2017
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT to make various changes to the laws affecting charter schools.
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
PART I. CHARTER SCHOOLS IN THE WORKPLACE
SECTION 1.(a) G.S. 115C‑218.45 reads as rewritten:
"§ 115C‑218.45. Admission requirements.
(f) The charter school may give enrollment priority to any of the following:
(7) Limited to no more than fifty percent (50%) of the school's total enrollment, children of permanent employees of a charter partner in accordance with subsection (f1) of this section. If the number of applications from these children exceed fifty percent (50%) of the school's total enrollment, these children shall be accepted by a separate lottery.
(f1) For purposes of this section, a charter partner is any legal entity authorized to transact business in this State under Chapter 55, 55A, 55B, 57D, or 59 of the General Statutes and that has, acting individually or as part of a consortium of corporations, donated one or more of the following, valued at a minimum of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000), to the charter school:
(1) The land on which the school is built.
(2) The school building or the space the school occupies. If the charter partner is leasing the building or space to the school, the charter school may only give enrollment priority if the lease provides that the building or space is made available without cost and if the term of the lease is not less than the duration of the charter.
(3) Major renovations to the existing school building or other capital improvements, including major investments in technology. For purposes of this subdivision, a major renovation to the existing school building means changes that provide significant opportunities for substantial improvement, including, but not limited to, a structural change to the foundation, roof, floor, or interior or exterior walls or extension of an existing facility to increase its floor area, or an extensive alteration of an existing facility, such as a change in its function or purpose, even if such renovation does not include any structural change to the facility. A major investment in technology includes, but is not limited to, a donation of hardware, software, Internet access, Internet hardware, enterprise systems, software licenses, smart board technology, or audiovisual equipment. The value of a major renovation or of an investment of technology shall be equal to at least fifty percent (50%) of the State's per pupil allocation for charter schools for that year multiplied by the charter school's average daily membership.
(f2) Each year that the charter school provides the charter partner with enrollment priority, as described in subdivision (7) of subsection (f) of this section, the charter partner and the charter school shall enter into a memorandum of understanding that shall specify the duration of the priority and the methods by which the charter partner shall support the charter school, including, but not limited to, internships for students, career counseling, academic tutoring, or enrichment activities.
(f3) The enrollment priority described in subdivision (7) of subsection (f) of this section shall not be implemented in a way that displaces students who are enrolled at the school at the time the charter application or the material revision providing for the priority is approved by the State Board of Education.
SECTION 1.(b) G.S. 115C‑218.1(b) is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:
"(16) Whether the charter school intends to provide enrollment priority to the children of a charter partner and, if so, identifying information for that charter partner."
SECTION 1.(c) G.S. 115C‑218.7 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:
"(e) Adoption of the enrollment priority described in G.S. 115C‑218.45(f)(3)c. shall be considered a material revision of the charter."
SECTION 1.(d) G.S. 115C‑218.15 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:
"(b1) Persons affiliated with a charter partner, as defined in G.S. 115C‑218.45(f1), are eligible for membership on the board of directors of a charter school that provides enrollment priority to charter partners, subject to the requirements of subsection (b) of this section, as follows:
(1) Persons affiliated with the charter partner shall not constitute a majority of the board.
(2) If the charter partner is leasing the building or space to the school, the lease shall provide that the building or space is made available without cost and the term of the lease shall not be less than the duration of the charter."
PART II. ALLOW EMPLOYEES OF EDUCATION OR CHARTER MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATIONS TO SERVE AS TEACHERS
SECTION 2. G.S. 115C‑218.90(a)(1) reads as rewritten:
"(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 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."
PART IV. MODIFY THE DECISION TIME LINE FOR THE CHARTER SCHOOL FAST‑TRACK REPLICATION APPLICATION PROCESS
SECTION 4.(a) Section 6.5 of S.L. 2014‑101, as amended by Section 2 of S.L. 2016‑79, reads as rewritten:
"SECTION 6.5. Upon recommendations by the Office of Charter Schools and the Charter Schools Advisory Board, the State Board of Education shall adopt a process and rules for fast‑track replication of high‑quality charter schools currently operating in the State. The State Board of Education shall not require a planning year for applicants selected through the fast‑track replication process. In addition to the requirements for charter applicants set forth in Part 6A of Article 16 of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes, the fast‑track replication process adopted by the State Board of Education shall, at a minimum, require a board of directors of a charter school to demonstrate one of the following in order to qualify for fast‑track replication:
(1) A charter school in this State governed by the board of directors has student academic outcomes that are comparable to the academic outcomes of students in the local school administrative unit in which the charter school is located and can provide three years of financially sound audits.
(2) The board of directors agrees to contract with an education management organization or charter management organization that can demonstrate that it can replicate high‑quality charter schools in the State that have proven student academic success and financial soundness.
The State Board of Education shall ensure that the rules for a fast‑track replication process provide that decisions by the State Board of Education on whether to grant a charter through the replication process are completed in less than 90 days from the application submission date. The State Board shall provide a decision no later than October 15 of the year immediately preceding the year of the proposed school opening. The State Board of Education shall adopt rules and procedures required by this section within 90 days of the effective date of this act, and report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee within 120 days of the effective date of this act."
SECTION 4.(b) This section is effective the date this act becomes law and applies beginning with applications submitted for fast‑track replication of schools opening in the 2018‑2019 school year.
PART V. EFFECTIVE DATE
SECTION 5. Except as otherwise provided, this act is effective when it becomes law and applies beginning with the 2017‑2018 school year.