Title 17. Education

Chapter 42. Charter School Demonstration Programs Law

Part IV. Charter Contents, Renewal, and Revocation and Charter School Authorities and Limitations

 

17:3991      Charter schools; requirements; limitations; renewal; amendment; revocation

 

A. (1)(a) Except for a Type 4 charter school, a charter school approved and established in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter shall be organized as a nonprofit corporation under applicable state and federal laws.

 

(b) Should a charter school be established with a governing or management board, the members of such shall receive no compensation other than reimbursement of actual expenses incurred while fulfilling duties as a member of such a board.

 

(c)(i) A charter school shall be prohibited from employing, in any manner, any member of the governing or management board of such school.

 

(ii) Not more than twenty percent of the members of any governing or management board of a charter school shall be members of the same immediate family. Members of the same immediate family shall include a board member and any other board members to whom he is related as defined in R.S. 42:1102(13) and any other board members to whom any of them are so related.

 

(iii) Each charter school shall be in full compliance with the provisions of this Subparagraph by not later than January 1, 2004.

 

(2) Consistent with the provisions of this Chapter, a charter school and its officers and employees may exercise any power and perform any function necessary, requisite, or proper for the management of the charter school not denied by its charter, the provisions of this Chapter, or other laws applicable to the charter school.

 

B. Each proposed charter shall contain or make provision for the following:

 

(1)(a)(i) That for Type 1 and Type 2 charter schools created as new schools, the percentage of the total number of pupils enrolled in the charter school based on the October first pupil membership who are at-risk, in the manner provided in R.S. 17:3973(1)(a) and (e), shall be equal to not less than eighty-five percent of the average percentage of pupils enrolled in the local public school districts from which the charter school enrolls its students who are eligible to participate in the federal free and reduced lunch program, and shall be equal to not less than eighty-five percent of the average percentage of pupils enrolled in the local public school districts from which the charter school enrolls its students who have been identified as a student with an exceptionality as defined in R.S. 17:1942, not including gifted and talented. The remaining number of pupils enrolled in the charter school which would be required to have the same percentage of at-risk pupils as the percentage of pupils in the district who are eligible to participate in the federal free and reduced cost lunch program or who have been identified as a student with an exceptionality as defined in R.S. 17:1942, not including gifted and talented, may be comprised of pupils who are at-risk as is otherwise provided in R.S. 17:3973(1). For the purposes of fulfilling the provisions of this Section, the at-risk percentage for the city or parish school system shall remain fixed during the term of the approved charter at the percentage which existed during the school year that the charter proposal was approved, unless otherwise specified in the charter that the charter school will reflect the current year’s at-risk percentage.

 

(ii) Except as provided in Subitem (cc) of this Item, the requirements of Item (i) of this Subparagraph shall not apply to any charter school which is established with the educational mission of meeting the needs of pupils who are the dependent children of military personnel provided that all of the following conditions are met:

 

(aa) The charter school predominantly enrolls pupils who, at the time of enrollment, are the dependent children of military personnel.

 

(bb) All dependent children of military personnel who seek admission to the school and who are at risk as defined in R.S. 17:3973(1) are admitted to the school.

 

(cc) In the enrollment of pupils from the general population in the community where the charter school is located who are not dependent children of military personnel, the charter school shall comply with the provisions of Item (i) of this Subparagraph, except that the requirements contained therein shall apply to and be based upon only such general population pupils admitted.

 

(b)(i) That for Type 2 charter schools created as a result of a conversion, Type 3 and Type 4 charter schools, the percentage of the total number of pupils enrolled in the charter school based on the October first pupil membership who are at-risk, in the manner provided in R.S. 17:3973(1)(a) and (e), unless otherwise agreed to as part of the charter agreement, by the chartering authority, shall be equal to not less than the percentage of the total of pupils enrolled in the school in the school year prior to the establishment of the charter school that were eligible to participate in the federal free and reduced cost lunch program, and shall be equal to not less than the percentage of the total of pupils enrolled in the school in the school year prior to the establishment of the charter school who were identified as a student with an exceptionality as defined in R.S. 17:1942, not including gifted and talented.

 

(ii) Notwithstanding the provisions of Item (i) of this Subparagraph, that for Type 2, Type 3, and Type 4 charter schools in Richland Parish, the percentage of the total number of pupils enrolled in the charter school based on the October first pupil membership who are at risk, in the manner provided in R.S. 17:3973(1)(a) and (e), shall be, as near as practicable, not more than the percentage of the total number of pupils enrolled in the public elementary and secondary schools and in the state-approved nonpublic elementary and secondary schools located in the local public school district in which the charter school is located who are eligible to participate in the federal free and reduced lunch program or who have been identified as a student with an exceptionality as defined in R.S. 17:1942, not including gifted and talented. However, in no case shall the initial enrollment of such a school nor the cohort of students enrolled for each new school year have, as near as practicable, fewer than fifty percent students who are at risk in the manner provided in R.S. 17:3973(1)(a) and (e).

 

(c) For the purposes of this Section, students holding a valid passport from the country of France shall not be counted when calculating the overall at-risk percentage of the charter school.

 

(d) The provisions of this Paragraph and Paragraph (3) of this Subsection shall not apply to Type 5 or 3B charters.

 

(e)(i) The state board shall develop and administer a process for determining if a charter school is meeting the student enrollment requirements of this Paragraph. The process shall provide for an investigation of a charter school that fails to meet the requirements to determine the reasons for such failure and all actions taken by the school toward meeting the requirements. The process also shall include a clear identification of the responsibilities of the charter school, the local school board of the district in which the charter school is located, and the state board for meeting the needs of the students.

 

(ii) The state board shall promulgate rules in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act for the implementation of this Subparagraph.

 

(2) A statement of the school’s role, scope, and mission.

 

(3) Admission requirements, if any, that are consistent with the school’s role, scope, and mission may be established pursuant to rules promulgated by the state board. Such admission requirements shall be specific and shall include a system for admission decisions which precludes exclusion of pupils based on race, religion, gender, ethnicity, national origin, intelligence level as ascertained by an intelligence quotient examination, or identification as a student with an exceptionality as defined in R.S. 17:1942(B). Such admission requirements may include, however, specific requirements related to a school’s mission such as auditions for schools with a performing arts mission or proficiency in a foreign language for schools with a language immersion mission. Any school which was chartered prior to July 1, 2012, and which incorporated achievement of a certain academic record as part of its admission requirements may continue to utilize such admission requirements. No local board shall assign any pupil to attend a charter school.

 

(4)(a) A description of the jurisdiction within which a pupil shall reside or otherwise be eligible to attend a public school in order to be eligible for admission.

 

(b) A description of the geographic boundaries circumscribing the neighborhood immediately surrounding the charter school from which students residing within may be given preference for enrollment as provided in Subsection C of this Section.

 

(5) A financial and accounting plan sufficient to permit a governmental audit.

 

(6) A description of how the proposed charter school fulfills one or more of the purposes specified in this Chapter.

 

(7) A description of the education program offered by the school and how specifically that program will meet the needs of the at-risk pupils to be served.

 

(8) The specific academic and other educational results to be achieved, the timelines for such achievement, and how results will be measured and assessed.

 

(9) Repealed by Acts 2012, No. 2, § 2.

 

(10) The organizational, governance, and operational structure of the school. Any qualifications required of charter school administrators and governing board members shall be as prescribed in the charter school agreement.

 

(11) Policies, programs, and practices to ensure parental involvement.

 

(12) Personnel policies and employment practices applicable to the school’s officers and employees.

 

(13) Assurance that teachers and other school employees will be evaluated in accordance with R.S. 17:3997.

 

(14) School rules and regulations applicable to pupils including disciplinary policies and procedures that incorporate research-based discipline programs, such as positive behavioral interventions and supports and restorative justice principles in accordance with R.S. 17:252.

 

(15) Information concerning the school location and the adequacy of its facilities and equipment. Such information shall include a statement of the procedures to be followed and disposition of facilities and equipment should the charter be terminated or not renewed.

 

(16) Management and accounting practices to be employed.

 

(17) Provisions regarding liability issues.

 

(18) Types and amounts of insurance coverage provided.

 

(19) The methods and procedures to be used for monitoring the charter school by the chartering authority. Such methods and procedures shall be established through agreement by all parties and shall include the right of the chartering authority and its designated officer to visit and inspect the charter school on a reasonable basis.

 

(20) A requirement that curriculum shall be focused on the intellectual domain with intellectual development defined as acquisition of discrete technical and academic skills. No curriculum at a charter school shall be offered that would limit in any way the ability of a pupil to attend the school in the public school system that the student would otherwise attend if not enrolled at the charter school.

 

(21) A requirement that charter schools regularly assess the academic progress of their pupils, including the participation of such pupils in the state testing programs, and share such information with parents. The state Department of Education shall work directly with each charter school regarding the implementation of the state testing program in those schools.

 

(22) A requirement that a pupil shall have a mastery of grade-appropriate skills before the pupil can be recommended for promotion or promoted.

 

(23) Provisions regarding the security of the school. If a local school board provides security services for its schools then it shall make such services available to any of its Type 1, 3, 3B, or 4 charter schools on terms as provided within the charter agreement.

 

(24) A plan for collecting data in accordance with R.S. 17:3911.

 

C. A charter school shall:

 

(1)(a) Enroll an eligible pupil who is eligible under the residency requirements established in the charter as required in Paragraph B(4) of this Section and who submits a timely application unless the total number of eligible applicants exceeds the capacity of a program, class, grade level, or school.

 

(b) An application shall be timely if it is submitted within the period designated by the charter school, which period shall not be less than one month nor more than three months. There shall be an established application period for each successive school year.

 

(c)(i) Except as is provided in Items (ii) and (iii) of this Subparagraph, the charter school shall admit no pupil during the application period, but shall wait until the period has ended. If fewer eligible pupils have applied than is the maximum the school can admit, then all eligible pupils shall be admitted and additional pupils may apply and be admitted for the school year to which the application period applies until the maximum number is admitted, except as is necessary to meet the requirements of Paragraph B(1) of this Section. If the total number of eligible applicants exceeds the capacity of a program, class, grade level, or school, admission to the program, class, grade level, or school shall be based on an admissions lottery conducted from among the total number of eligible applicants done in such a fashion as to assure compliance with Paragraph B(1) of this Section.

 

(ii) In the case of the creation of a charter by the conversion of a preexisting school, pupils enrolled in the preexisting school shall be given preference over all other applicants and the applications procedure shall be established in a fashion that provides ample opportunity for such pupils to exercise the right for preferential admission.

 

(iii) A charter school may modify its enrollment procedures in order to give preference to students previously enrolled in the school and their siblings and to give preference to siblings submitting their applications to enroll in the school for the first time, as long as there is compliance with the provisions of Paragraph (B)(1) of this Section.

 

(iv) Unless otherwise provided for within the charter, charter schools may not enroll in any given year more than one hundred twenty percent of the total number of students which had been approved in their charter without formally amending their charter. The state board may authorize the state superintendent of education and the superintendent of the Recovery School District to amend the charter of any Type 5 charter school participating in a unified enrollment system administered by the Recovery School District for the purpose of adjusting student enrollment limitations.

 

(d) Beginning with the 2011-2012 school year, each elementary and middle charter school, other than a Type 2 charter school, may request from and be granted by its chartering authority the authority to give preference in its enrollment procedures to students residing within the neighborhood immediately surrounding the school. The geographic boundaries of the neighborhood immediately surrounding such school shall be determined by the school’s chartering authority.

 

(2) Conduct the pupil assessments required by the state board for pupils in other public schools pursuant to R.S. 17:24.4.

 

(3) Be subject to any court-ordered desegregation plan in effect for the city or parish school system.

 

(4) Comply with the criteria set forth in Brumfield, et al. v. Dodd, et al., 425 F. Supp. 528.

 

(5) Be nonsectarian in its programs, admissions policies, and employment practices.

 

(6) Employ instructional staff who have at least a baccalaureate degree and who shall be subject to all provisions of state law relative to background checks applicable to the employment of public school personnel.

 

D. (1) A charter school may negotiate with the local school board in whose jurisdiction it is located for use of facilities and the operation and maintenance thereof, for pupil transportation, and for other support services provided by the board to other public schools in the system.

 

(2)(a)(i) Notwithstanding the provisions of R.S. 17:158(A), if the local school board is requested to provide transportation services to a charter school student pursuant to R.S. 17:158, then the charter school receiving the transportation services shall reimburse the local school board for the actual cost of providing such transportation unless an amount less than actual cost is agreed upon by both parties.

 

(ii) Providing transportation services pursuant to the provisions of this Paragraph and the amount reimbursed to the local school board by a charter school for such services shall be in accordance with a written agreement entered into for this purpose by the charter school and the local school board prior to any transportation services being provided by the board for students at the charter school.

 

(iii) By not later than ninety days following the end of each fiscal year, the local school board shall provide the charter school with an itemized accounting of the actual cost of transportation services provided to the charter school students.

 

(b) The provisions of this Paragraph shall not apply to any contract or agreement for providing transportation services between a charter school and the local school board which is in effect on August 15, 2007.

 

E. A charter school shall not:

 

(1) Be supported by or affiliated with any religion or religious organization or institution; however, a charter school may receive from any such organization or institution support or student services including but not limited to mentoring, volunteering, fund-raising, or tutoring.

 

(2) Result from the conversion of any private school or any home study program, as defined in R.S. 17:236.

 

(3) Charge any pupil any tuition or an attendance fee of any kind.

 

(4) Discriminate among potential employees, employees, or pupils in violation of any state or federal law.

 

(5)(a) Hire a person who has been convicted of or has pled nolo contendere to a crime listed in R.S. 15:587.1(C) as a teacher, substitute teacher, bus driver, substitute bus driver, janitor, or a school employee who might reasonably be expected to be placed in a position of supervisory or disciplinary authority over school children unless approved in writing by a district judge of the parish and the district attorney. This statement of approval shall be kept on file at all times by the school and shall be produced upon request to any law enforcement officer.

 

(b) The board shall establish regulations, requirements and procedures consistent with the provisions of R.S. 15:587.1 under which the school systems shall determine whether an applicant or employee has been convicted of or pled nolo contendere to crimes listed in R.S. 15:587.1(C), except R.S. 14:74. Included in this regulation shall be the requirement and the procedure for the submission of a person’s fingerprints in a form acceptable to the Louisiana Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information prior to employment of such person. A person who has submitted his fingerprints to the Louisiana Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information may be temporarily hired pending the report from the bureau as to any convictions of or pleas of nolo contendere by the person to a crime listed in R.S. 15:587.1(C), except R.S. 14:74.

 

F. Except for a Type 4 charter school, a local school board shall not assign any pupil or employee to a charter school or interfere in any way with the operation and management of a charter school except as provided by the approved charter, the provisions of this Chapter, or other law applicable to the charter school or its officers or employees.

 

G. Any pupil enrolled in a charter school who decides not to attend such charter school shall be permitted by the local school board to attend the public school that the pupil would otherwise attend if not enrolled at the charter school.

 

H. Any assets acquired by a Type 1, 1B, 2, 3, 3B, or 5 charter school are the property of that charter school for the duration of that school’s charter agreement. Any assets acquired by a Type 4 charter school are the property of the local school board. If the charter agreement of any Type 1, 1B, 2, 3, 3B, or 5 charter school is revoked or the school otherwise ceases to operate, all assets purchased with any public funds become the property of the chartering authority. Assets that become the property of a local charter authorizer pursuant to this Subsection shall be used solely for purposes of operating charter schools. Charter schools are to maintain records of any assets acquired with any private funds which remain the property of the nonprofit group operating the charter school.

 

Acts 1997, No. 477, § 1, eff. June 30, 1997. Amended by Acts 1999, No. 14, § 1; Acts 1999, No. 757, § 1, eff. July 2, 1999; Acts 1999, No. 1210, § 1; Acts 1999, No. 1339, § 1, eff. July 12, 1999; Acts 2001, No. 592, § 1, eff. June 22, 2001; Acts 2001, No. 453, § 1, eff. June 21, 2001; Acts 2003, No. 9, § 1, eff. Nov. 6, 2003; Acts 2003, No. 381, § 1; Acts 2008, No. 458, § 1, eff. July 1, 2008; Acts 2009, No. 123, § 1, eff. June 26, 2009; Acts 2010, No. 756, § 2, eff. Jan. 1, 2011; Acts 2011, 1st Ex.Sess., No. 41, § 1; Acts 2012, No. 2, § 1; Acts 2012, No. 811, § 5, eff. July 1, 2012; Acts 2013, No. 330, § 1; Acts 2015, No. 467, § 1, eff. July 1, 2015.