TITLE 16
Education

CHAPTER 16-77.2
District Charter School [See Title 16 Chapter 97 – The Rhode Island Board of Education Act]

SECTION 16-77.2-2


§ 16-77.2-2 Procedure for creation of district charter schools.

(a) Any persons or entities eligible to establish a district charter school may submit a proposed charter to the commissioner and the school committee of the district where the district charter school is to be located. The proposed charter shall:

(1) Be submitted to the commissioner and to the school committee of the district where the district charter school is to be located no later than December 1st of the school year before the school year in which the district charter school is to be established;

(2) Describe a plan for education, including the mission, objective, method of providing a basic education, measurable student academic goals that the district charter school will meet, and process for improving student learning and fulfilling the charter and fulfilling state and national educational goals and standards;

(3) Provide a minimum of one hundred eighty (180) days of instruction to students per year;

(4) Indicate performance criteria that will be used to measure student learning and to comply with the charter, state, and national educational goals and standards;

(5) Include an agreement to provide a yearly report to parents, the community, the school committee of the district where the district charter school is to be located, and the commissioner, which indicates the progress made by the district charter school during the previous year in meeting the charter objectives;

(6) Present a plan for the governance, administration, and operation of the district charter school, including the manner in which the governing board of the school will be chosen, the nature and extent of parental, professional educator, and community involvement in the governance and operation of the district charter school, and the means of ensuring accountability to the commissioner, the school district of the district where the district charter school is to be located, and the board of regents;

(7) Identify the building that will house the district charter school and from whom and under what terms and conditions it is to be provided;

(8) Describe what support services will be provided by the school district and under what terms and conditions those services are to be provided, and describe what support services the district charter school will obtain directly from third-parties and, to the extent known, under what terms and conditions those services are to be provided;

(9) Explain the procedures that will be followed to ensure the health and safety of pupils and staff;

(10) Describe enrollment procedures including the permissible criteria for admission in accordance with applicable state and federal law, along with a policy or policies that outline outreach and recruitment programs to encourage the enrollment of a diverse student population;

(11) Explain the student discipline procedures;

(12) Explain the relationship that will exist between the proposed district charter school and its employees, including the terms and conditions of employment and the qualifications that the employees must meet. Teachers and administrators in district charter schools must be certified pursuant to state law and regulation. Teachers and administrators in district charter schools shall be entitled to prevailing wages and benefits as enjoyed by other public school teachers and administrators within the school district where the district charter school is to be located and to the state teachers' retirement system under chapter 8 of title 36. Employment in a district charter school shall be considered "service" as that term is defined in chapter 16 of this title. All employees and prospective employees of a district charter school shall be deemed to be public school employees, having the same rights, including retirement, under Rhode Island and federal law as employees and prospective employees at a non-chartered public school.

(13) Identify with particularity the state statutes, state regulations, and school district rules from which variances are sought in order to facilitate operation of the district charter school. Explain the reasons for each variance and the alternative method by which the concern that gave rise to the regulation or provision will be addressed;

(14) The proposed charter shall set forth those provisions of the collective bargaining agreement which will not be applicable to that district charter school subject to agreement by the parties to the collectively bargaining agreement;

(15) Provide a financial plan including a proposed budget for the term of the charter, and an annual audit of the financial and administrative operations of the district charter school, and the manner in which the funds allocated to the district charter school will be managed and disbursed;

(16) Provide procedures by which teaching personnel and parents can legally challenge decisions of the governing board of the school which do not conform to the school's charter; and

(17) Provide a copy of the proposed bylaws of the district charter school.

(b) In those instances where a charter is being sought for an existing public school, the proposed charter must receive the affirmative votes of two-thirds (2/3) of the teachers assigned to the school prior to implementation. If approved by the faculty, the proposed charter shall be voted on by the parents or legal guardians of each student assigned to the school, with one vote being cast for each student. To be adopted by the parents, the proposed charter must receive the affirmative votes of parents or legal guardians representing a majority of all the students assigned to the school.

(c) In those instances where a charter is being sought for a newly created district charter school, the proposed charter must receive the affirmative support of a number of certified teachers employed within the school district where the district charter school is to be located at least equal to two-thirds (2/3) of the number of teachers that will be required to staff the proposed district charter school. The teachers who affirmatively support the proposed charter must state their desire to transfer to the district charter school, once established, and to teach under the terms of the charter. To demonstrate parental support within the school district, the charter must receive the affirmative support of parents or legal guardians representing a number of students currently enrolled in the school district equal to at least one-half (1/2) of the number of students who would be needed to attend the proposed district charter school. The parents or guardians must state their desire to have their children transfer to the district charter school, once established, and to be educated under the terms of the charter. The charter may then be presented by the commissioner to the board of regents for its approval. The charter shall set forth those provisions of state statute, regulation, and school district rules which will not be applicable to that district charter school

(d) By approval of the charter upon the recommendation of the commissioner, the board of regents will be deemed to have authorized all necessary variances from law and regulation enumerated in the charter. Should the need for relief from the operation of additional provisions of law and/or contract become apparent subsequent to implementation of the charter, a variance may be obtained by an affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the teachers then assigned to the school, agreement by all parties to the collective bargaining agreement and by an affirmative vote of the board of regents upon a recommendation of the commissioner.

History of Section.
(P.L. 2010, ch. 84, § 4; P.L. 2010, ch. 107, § 4.)