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PART 3 - INDEPENDENT CHARTER SCHOOLS

22-30.5-301. Legislative declaration.

(1) The general assembly hereby finds that section 2 of article IX of the state constitution requires the general assembly to provide for the establishment and maintenance of a thorough and uniform system of free public schools. The state therefore has an obligation to ensure that every student has a chance to attend a school that will provide an opportunity for a quality education. If a school is not providing a thorough and adequate education, as determined by the annual performance review conducted by the department pursuant to section 22-11-210, the state has an obligation to the students enrolled in that school to make changes to ensure that they have an opportunity to receive a quality education comparable to students in other public schools in the state.

(2) Therefore, the general assembly finds it necessary to establish a system for independent charter schools to operate within local school buildings when school districts have failed to provide adequate educational opportunities.

Source: L. 2000: Entire part added, p. 351, § 8, effective April 10. L. 2009: (1) amended, (SB 09-163), ch. 293, p. 1536, § 29, effective May 21.

22-30.5-302. Definitions.

As used in this part 3, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) "Applicant" means the person or group of persons submitting a proposal for an independent charter to operate an independent charter school pursuant to the provisions of this part 3. An "applicant" may include, but shall not be limited to, an individual, a group of individuals, a nonprofit or for-profit company, an existing public school, a school district, or an institution of higher education.

(2) "Commissioner" means the commissioner of education appointed pursuant to section 22-2-110.

(3) "Department" means the department of education created and existing pursuant to section 24-1-115, C.R.S.

(4) "Independent charter" means the agreement between a local board of education and an independent charter school governing the existence and operation of the independent charter school.

(5) "Independent charter proposal" means a proposal for the operation of an independent charter school submitted in response to a request for proposals pursuant to the provisions of this part 3

(6) "Independent charter school" means a charter school approved pursuant to this part 3 that is a public school of a school district.

(7) "Local board of education" means the board of education of the school district in which the independent charter school is or is proposed to be located.

(8) "State board" means the state board of education created pursuant to section 1 of article IX of the state constitution.

Source: L. 2000: Entire part added, p. 351, § 8, effective April 10.

22-30.5-303. Independent charter schools - request for proposals - response contents.

(1) Whenever the state board determines that it is necessary to recommend conversion of a public school to an independent charter school to a local board of education pursuant to the provisions of section 22-11-210 (5), the state board shall issue a request for proposals pursuant to subsection (2) of this section and supervise the appointment of a review committee pursuant to section 22-30.5-304.

(2) (a) If an independent charter school is to be organized, the state board, on or before January 15 of the year in which the independent charter school is to open, shall cause to be issued a request for proposals. The request for proposals shall solicit proposals from interested parties, including but not limited to individuals, persons, nonprofit or for-profit companies, existing public schools or school districts, and institutions of higher education, for the operation of an independent charter school within a building that currently houses a public school of a school district. Responses to the request for proposals shall be due no later than the date specified by the state board pursuant to rules adopted by the state board in accordance with paragraph (b) of this subsection (2). The state board shall issue the request for proposals without regard to the provisions of the "Procurement Code", articles 101 to 112 of title 24, C.R.S.

(b) The state board shall adopt rules specifying a schedule for receipt of the responses to the request for proposals pursuant to paragraph (a) of this subsection (2), the formation of a review committee and receipt of the recommendations of said committee pursuant to section 22-30.5-304, and the selection of an applicant and notification to the local board of education pursuant to section 22-30.5-305. Said schedule shall ensure the completion of negotiations on the independent charter no later than May 30 of the year in which the independent charter school is to open. The rules shall also specify the information that an independent charter proposal shall include in order to be eligible for consideration. Such information shall include, but need not be limited to, the following:

(I) Demonstrable evidence that the applicant for the independent charter has prior experience in improving the academic performance of students;

(II) The goals, objectives, and student performance standards to be achieved by the independent charter school, including but not limited to the measures for the performance indicators specified in section 22-11-204;

(III) A description of the independent charter school's educational program, student performance standards, annual targets for the measures used to determine the levels of attainment of the performance indicators specified in section 22-11-204, and curriculum, which shall meet or exceed the state model content standards adopted pursuant to part 4 or part 10 of article 7 of this title and shall be designed to enable each student to achieve such standards and targets;

(IV) A description of the independent charter school's plan for evaluating student performance, the types of assessments that shall be used to measure student progress toward achievement of the school's student performance standards and the targets for the measures used to determine the levels of attainment of the performance indicators, including but not limited to the statewide assessments administered under the Colorado student assessment program pursuant to section 22-7-409, the timeline for achievement of the school's student performance standards and the targets, and the procedures for taking corrective action in the event that student performance at the independent charter school fails to meet such standards and targets;

(V) Evidence that the applicant is economically sound, including balance sheets and operating statements for recent years of operation when appropriate, a proposed budget for the term of the independent charter, and a description of the manner in which an annual audit of the financial and administrative operations of the independent charter school is to be conducted;

(VI) A list of the rules and statutory requirements for which the independent charter school is requesting a waiver and an explanation of the manner in which the independent charter school shall comply with the intent of any rule or statutory requirement that is waived;

(VII) A description of the governance and operation of the independent charter school;

(VIII) An explanation of the relationship that will exist between the independent charter school and its employees;

(IX) The employment policies of the independent charter school;

(X) How the independent charter school will handle legal liability between the school and the school district and any applicable insurance coverage;

(XI) A description of how the independent charter school plans to meet the transportation needs of its students and, if the independent charter school plans to provide transportation for its students, a plan for addressing the transportation needs of low-income students;

(XII) A description of the independent charter school's enrollment policy, consistent with the requirements of section 22-30.5-104 (3), and the criteria for enrollment decisions, which shall include offering enrollment to students already enrolled in the school and students who would be assigned to the school under school district policy.

(c) If the commissioner finds that the information in any independent charter proposal is incomplete, the commissioner shall request the information necessary to complete the minimum requirements for the proposal.

Source: L. 2000: Entire part added, p. 352, § 8, effective April 10. L. 2001: (2)(a) and IP(2)(b) amended, p. 357, § 21, effective April 16. L. 2003: (2)(a) and IP(2)(b) amended, p. 730, § 3, effective March 20. L. 2009: (1), (2)(b)(II), (2)(b)(III), and (2)(b)(IV) amended, (SB 09-163), ch. 293, p. 1536, § 30, effective May 21.

22-30.5-304. Review committee - membership - recommendations.

(1) Whenever an independent charter school is to be organized pursuant to this part 3, on or before the date specified by rule adopted by the state board in accordance with section 22-30.5-303 (2) (b), the commissioner shall cause a review committee to be formed. The review committee shall consist of:

(a) The commissioner or a designee of the commissioner, who shall chair the review committee but shall be a nonvoting member of the committee;

(b) A member of the board of education of the school district in which the school is geographically located who shall be the member elected from the director district in which the school is geographically located, if members of the board are elected from director districts, or the member who resides closest to the school, if members are not elected from director districts;

(c) (I) A licensed professional employed at the school who is elected by a vote of all licensed professionals who provide instruction at the school or have an office in the school.

(II) The election required by this paragraph (c) shall be conducted during the month specified by rule adopted by the state board in accordance with section 22-30.5-303 (2) (b).

(d) (I) Two parents of students enrolled in the school who are members of the school accountability committee and are elected by a vote of the members of the school accountability committee.

(II) The election required by this paragraph (d) shall be conducted during the month specified by rule adopted by the state board in accordance with section 22-30.5-303 (2) (b).

(e) (I) A principal of a school at the same elementary, middle, or high school level as the independent charter school that is to be organized, appointed by the governor.

(II) In appointing a principal pursuant to this paragraph (e), the governor shall appoint a principal of a public school that received the highest possible accreditation rating pursuant to the accreditation policy implemented pursuant to section 22-11-307 by the public school's local board of education or by the state charter school institute, whichever is applicable, for the immediately preceding school year.

(f) (I) A teacher in a school at the same elementary, middle, or high school level as the independent charter school that is to be organized, appointed by the governor.

(II) In appointing a teacher pursuant to this paragraph (f), the governor shall appoint a teacher from a public school that received the highest possible accreditation rating pursuant to the accreditation policy implemented pursuant to section 22-11-307 by the public school's local board of education or by the state charter school institute, whichever is applicable; and

(g) A business representative, appointed by the governor, who resides in the neighborhood of the school.

(2) The committee shall meet by call of the chair of the review committee as needed to review the proposals received in response to the request for proposals issued pursuant to section 22-30.5-303. The committee shall evaluate the proposals and, on or before the date specified by rule adopted by the state board in accordance with section 22-30.5-303 (2) (b), shall forward to the state board all proposals and its recommendations on each proposal. The committee may make recommendations on applicants without regard to the provisions of the "Procurement Code", articles 101 to 112 of title 24, C.R.S.

Source: L. 2000: Entire part added, p. 353, § 8, effective April 10. L. 2001: IP(1), (1)(c)(II), (1)(d)(II), and (2) amended, p. 357, § 22, effective April 16; (1)(e)(II) and (1)(f)(II) amended, p. 1499, § 24, effective June 8. L. 2009: (1)(d)(I), (1)(e), and (1)(f) amended, (SB 09-163), ch. 293, p. 1537, § 31, effective May 21; (1)(d)(I) amended, (SB 09-090), ch. 291, p. 1443, § 15, effective August 5.

Editor's note: Subsection (1)(d)(I) was amended by a 2009 act that was passed without a safety clause. The act, or portions thereof, may not take effect if the people exercise their right to petition under article V, section 1 (3) of the state constitution. For further explanation concerning the effective date, see page ix of this volume.

22-30.5-305. Independent charter schools - selection.

(1) On or before the date specified by rule adopted by the state board in accordance with section 22-30.5-303 (2) (b), the state board shall select an applicant to recommend to the local board of education. The state board may select the applicant without regard to the provisions of the "Procurement Code", articles 101 to 112 of title 24, C.R.S.

(2) On or before the date specified by rule adopted by the state board in accordance with section 22-30.5-303 (2) (b), the commissioner shall forward to the local board of education a copy of the selected applicant's response to the request for proposals.

(3) The commissioner or the commissioner's designee shall assist the selected applicant in negotiating an independent charter with the local board of education pursuant to section 22-30.5-306.

Source: L. 2000: Entire part added, p. 355, § 8, effective April 10. L. 2001: (1) and (2) amended, p. 358, § 23, effective April 16.

22-30.5-306. Independent charter schools - charter - term.

(1) The response to the request for proposals forwarded by the commissioner pursuant to section 22-30.5-305 (2) shall constitute the application for a charter pursuant to section 22-30.5-106. Notwithstanding the time limit established in section 22-30.5-107 (1), the local board of education shall consider the application for the upcoming school year.

(2) With the assistance from the commissioner or the commissioner's designee, the selected applicant and the local board of education shall negotiate the terms of the independent charter, which may be different from or in addition to the terms of the response to the request for proposals; except that:

(a) The independent charter school shall be entitled to use the school building in which the public school that is subject to conversion was operated. The independent charter school and the local board of education shall negotiate an amount of rent to be paid, which shall be not more than twelve dollars per year, and all other costs for the operation and maintenance of the building and related facilities.

(b) The term of the independent charter school's charter shall be four years.

(3) (a) On or before May 30 of the year in which the independent charter school is to open, all negotiations between the selected applicant and the local board of education shall be concluded and the local board of education shall accept the application following a public hearing held upon public notice.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a) of this subsection (3), if, during the year prior to the year in which the independent charter school is to open, the school is required to implement a priority improvement plan, an improvement plan, or a performance plan pursuant to section 22-11-405, 22-11-404, or 22-11-403, respectively, the local board of education and the applicant may jointly agree to allow the school to remain under the administration of the local board of education.

(4) Except as specifically provided in this part 3, an independent charter school shall be entitled to all of the rights granted by and subject to the obligations imposed by section 22-30.5-104.

(5) (a) (Deleted by amendment, L. 2009, (SB 09-163), ch. 293, p. 1538, § 32, effective May 21, 2009.)

(b) Repealed.

Source: L. 2000: Entire part added, p. 355, § 8, effective April 10. L. 2001: (3)(a) amended, p. 358, § 24, effective April 16; (2)(a), (3)(b), and (5) amended, p. 1499, § 25, effective June 8. L. 2002: (5)(b) repealed, p. 1019, § 29, effective June 1. L. 2003: (3)(a) amended, p. 730, § 4, effective March 20. L. 2009: (2)(a), (3)(b), and (5)(a) amended, (SB 09-163), ch. 293, p. 1538, § 32, effective May 21.

22-30.5-307. Independent charter schools - expiration - renewal - conversion.

(1) If an independent charter school is required pursuant to section 22-11-210 to implement a turnaround plan during the third year of the school's independent charter, the state board shall issue a new request for proposals pursuant to section 22-30.5-303 (2), and a new independent charter school application process shall commence.

(2) If an independent charter school is required to implement a priority improvement plan, improvement plan, or performance plan pursuant to section 22-11-405, 22-11-404, or 22-11-403, respectively, during the third year of the school's independent charter, the parents and legal guardians of the students enrolled at the independent charter school shall decide by majority vote whether, at the expiration of the independent charter school's charter, the school shall apply for a renewal of the independent charter or shall seek to become a regular school of the school district in which the independent charter school is located.

(3) The independent charter school shall arrange for an election to decide which of the options specified in subsection (2) of this section the school shall pursue. The election shall be conducted during the month of September of the fourth school year of the independent charter. All parents and legal guardians of students enrolled in the independent charter school on the date of the election and for at least thirty days prior to the election shall be eligible to vote in the election conducted pursuant to this subsection (3).

(4) If a majority of the parents and legal guardians vote in favor of renewing the independent charter application, the renewal process shall be governed by section 22-30.5-110. If a majority of the parents and legal guardians vote in favor of becoming a regular school of the school district, the independent charter school's charter shall not be renewed, and the operation of the school shall return to the local board of education.

Source: L. 2000: Entire part added, p. 356, § 8, effective April 10. L. 2001: (1) and (2) amended, p. 1500, § 26, effective June 8. L. 2009: (1) and (2) amended, (SB 09-163), ch. 293, p. 1538, § 33, effective May 21.

22-30.5-308. Independent charter schools - employee options - financing options - guidelines.

(1) The provisions of section 22-30.5-111 shall apply to employees of an independent charter school.

(2) The provisions of section 22-30.5-112 shall govern the financing of independent charter schools.

Source: L. 2000: Entire part added, p. 357, § 8, effective April 10.



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