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Charter Schools - October 2000 Revision

Note: This policy was reviewed and revised in July 2010. We provide this revision for historic purposes only. Please refer to the current procedural directive.

Application Process

In order to ensure adequate planning time the district prefers that charter school proposals be submitted to the Board Office on or before October 1 of the year prior to the opening of the school or on the first work day immediately following if October 1 falls on a weekend. Applications submitted after that date and time will be processed within the required 60 days but the district and the applicant will negotiate a reasonable opening date for the charter school. Applications will be processed in the following manner:

  1. The Superintendent’s designee for charter schools will screen all applications to determine whether components required by state statute are included: 
    1. The mission statement of the charter school;
    2. The goals, objectives, and student performance standards to be achieved by the charter school;
    3. A description of the charter school’s educational program, student performance standards and curriculum that must meet or exceed the state board of education’s educational standards and must be designed to enable each student to achieve those standards;
    4. A description of the way a charter school’s educational program will meet the individual needs of the students, including those students determined to be at risk and students with disabilities;
    5. A description of the charter school’s plan for evaluating student performance, the types of assessments that will be used to measure student progress toward achievement of the State’s standards and the school’s student performance standards, the time line for achievement of the standards and the procedures for taking corrective action in the event that student performance falls below standards;
    6. Evidence that the plan for the charter school is economically sound, including a proposed budget for the term of the charter and a description of the manner in which the annual audit of the financial and administrative operations of the charter school is to be conducted;
    7. Evidence that the fiscal management of the charter school complies with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations relative to fiscal procedures;
    8. Evidence of a plan for the displacement of students, teachers and other employees who will not attend or be employed in the conversion of school (if applicable);
    9. A description of the governing body and operation of the charter school, including how the governing body will be selected, the nature and extent of parental, professional educator and community involvement in the governance and operation of the school and the relationship between the governing body and the local school board;
    10. An explanation of the relationship that will exist between the proposed charter school and its employees, including evidence that the terms and conditions of employment will be addressed with affected employees and their recognized representatives, if any;
    11. The employment and student discipline policies of the proposed charter school;
    12. An agreement between the charter school and the local school board regarding their respective legal liability and applicable insurance coverage;
    13. A description of how the charter school plans to meet the transportation and food service needs of its students;
    14. A description of the waivers that the charter school is requesting from the local school board and the state board and the charter school’s plan for addressing these waiver requests;
    15. A description of the facilities the charter school plans to use;
    16. A plan for resolving disputes with the APS Board which is consistent with Board policy;
    17. A designated representative of the proposed charter school to represent the applicants during the approval period;
    18. A plan to form an interim governing council to make decisions on behalf of the school prior to the formation of the governing council; and
    19. Assurance that the school will adopt the manual of Special Education Policies, Procedures, and Assurances developed for charter schools in cooperation with the State Department of Education.
  2. Copies of each charter application will be reviewed by appropriate APS personnel (including curriculum, budget, assessment, student support, maintenance and operations, human resources, transportation, school lunch, Special Education, Section 504/ADA official, and others as indicated by the nature of the application). Each department will prepare a written recommendation to the Board of Education indicating the nature of necessary modification, if any, to be required prior to board approval. These recommendations shall be submitted to the Board through the designee for charter schools within two weeks.
  3. At the next possible meeting of the Board Policy Committee, the superintendent’s designee for charter schools shall present a recommendation for approval or modification of each charter school. The policy committee will review each application and vote to recommend to the full Board approval or rejection of each application. If modifications are required, the charter school may resubmit an amended application within 20 days. Final recommendations to approve or deny charter school status will be made at the first next possible meeting of the board Policy Committee.
  4. Prior to final approval of each charter school application, the Board will allocate time at a regular or special meeting of the Board for an open hearing, at which time public comment on the applications may be heard.
  5. The full Board of Education will consider all charter school applications for the next school year during one or more regular or special board meetings. In no case will the final vote be delayed beyond 60 days from the date of submission.
  6. Charter schools will receive a charter for a five-year period.
  7. If a charter is denied, the Board will state the reasons for denial in the motion to deny.

Negotiations for Agreements with APS

Charter schools are encouraged to be as self-sufficient as possible so as to better enable them to carry out their unique mission. If negotiation for goods, services, or cooperative efforts is desired, the following procedures are applicable:

  1. All requests or proposals to negotiate any form of cooperative agreement between a charter school and APS will be made in writing and submitted to the Superintendent. Requests must state the exact nature of the desired cooperation, the rationale for the request, the financial benefits to the charter school and to APS, and the length of time to be covered by the agreement. This process shall include requests for access to school newsletters, use of school facilities, and access to support services.
  2. The Superintendent may delegate a request to the appropriate department or person to investigate the request and make a recommendation.
  3. The decision of the Superintendent on each request shall be final except those requests involving a monetary impact of $10,000 or more, which may be appealed to the Board of Education.
  4. Agreements between the charter school and any person or entity representing APS shall have no validity unless the foregoing process is completed and a decision of the Superintendent is made in writing to the charter school.

Payment of Rents

Charter school statutes state "in no event shall a charter school be required to pay rent for space that is deemed available, as negotiated by contract, in school district facilities provided that the facilities can be made available at no cost to the district." Property that is within an existing school site plan shall not be deemed available unless a permanent structure has rooms not required to serve the educational needs of the students enrolled at the school. Unused portable buildings are subject to movement elsewhere in the district. Space on a school campus may not be deemed available if its use is specified in an approved site plan.

Available space may be found on plots of land owned by the district but not included in a building plan within the time period requested by a charter school, provided that the land can be prepared for use at no cost to the district. Negotiations for the use of such land must include a provision to return the land to its prior condition at the expense of the charter school at the expiration of the agreement.

If a charter uses an area of an APS facility that is not handicap accessible (because APS has been able to relocate programs needing accessibility), the charter school is responsible for access.

Reports to the Board of Education

Charter schools will report twice yearly in January and June to the Board of Education. Reports will be made in writing and, if requested, in person. These reports may be quite brief for charter schools in the first year of operation. The following information will be included in each report:

  1. The name of the school and its address;
  2. The name and telephone number of the principal or a key contact person who is responsible for some or all of the principal duties of the school;
  3. The names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all members of the governing board;
  4. The number of students currently enrolled in the school and their grade levels;
  5. Compliance with conditions, standards or procedures set forth in the charter;
  6. Detail progress toward achievement of the state board minimum educational standards or student performance standards identified in the charter application;
  7. Financial audit and other evidence of responsible fiscal management;
  8. Violation of any provision of law from which the charter school was not specifically exempted.

Employees

The charter school shall comply with section 22-8B-10 NMSA 1978. APS employees who intend to accept employment with a start-up charter school may apply for a leave of absence in accordance with APS leave policies and procedures.

Renewal or Revocation of Charter 

  1. A charter school renewal application submitted to the board shall contain a report on the progress of the charter school in achieving the goals, objectives, student performance standards, state board minimum educational standards and other terms of the initial approved charter application, including the accountability requirements set forth in Section 22-1-6 NMSA 1978;
  2. a financial statement that discloses the costs of administration, instruction and other spending categories for the charter school that is understandable to the general public, that will allow comparison of costs to other schools or comparable organizations and that is in a format required by the state board;
  3. contents of the charter application set forth in Section 8 of the 1999 Charter Schools Act [see application Process (A) in the directive];
  4. a petition in support of the charter school renewing its charter status signed by not less than sixty-five percent of the employees in the charter school; and
  5. a petition in support of the charter school renewing its charter status signed by a majority of the households whose children are enrolled in the charter school.
  6. A charter may be revoked or not renewed by the local school board if the board determines that the charter school did any of the following:
    1. committed a material violation of any of the conditions, standards or procedures set forth in the charter;
    2. failed to meet or make substantial progress toward achievement of the state board minimum educational standards or student performance standards identified in the charter application;
    3. failed to meet generally accepted standards of fiscal management; or
    4. violated any provision of law from which the charter school was not specifically exempted.
  7. If the APS school board revokes or does not renew a charter, the local school board shall state in writing its reasons for the revocation or non-renewal.
  8. A decision to revoke or not to renew a charter may be appealed by the governing body of the charter school pursuant to Section 7 of the 1999 Charter Schools Act.

Accountability Requirements

Charter schools are required by law to comply with the provisions of Section 22-1-6 NMSA 1978 and section 22-2-8 NMSA 1978. A charter school shall be responsible for its own operation 22-8b-4 NMSA 1978.

Budgets

The budget of each charter school must be submitted to the state in accordance with 22-8b-4 NMSA 1978 and 22-8-6 NMSA 1978.

Background Checks

Charter school employees shall have access to the APS background check process. The cost of the process will be borne by the employee or the charter school. (22-10-3.3 NMSA 1978)

Legal Ref. 22-8B-1-15 NMSA 1978

Cross Ref.: Board Policy I.17

Approved: August 24, 2000
Revised: October 31, 2000

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