Bill Text: NC H988 | 2017-2018 | Regular Session | Amended


Bill Title: Extend Pilot/Virtual Charter Schools

Spectrum: Strong Partisan Bill (Republican 13-1)

Status: (Introduced) 2018-05-23 - Ref To Com On Education - K-12 [H988 Detail]

Download: North_Carolina-2017-H988-Amended.html

GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA

SESSION 2017

H                                                                                                                                                    1

HOUSE BILL 988*

 

 

Short Title:      Extend Pilot/Virtual Charter Schools.

(Public)

Sponsors:

Representatives Horn, Elmore, Blackwell, and Johnson (Primary Sponsors).

For a complete list of sponsors, refer to the North Carolina General Assembly web site.

Referred to:

Education - K-12

May 23, 2018

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

AN ACT to extend the virtual charter school pilot program for four more school years, as recommended by the joint legislative education oversight committee.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1.  Section 8.35 of S.L. 2014‑100, as amended by Section 8.13 of S.L. 2016‑94, reads as rewritten:

"VIRTUAL CHARTER SCHOOL PILOT PROGRAM

"SECTION 8.35.(a)  Notwithstanding G.S. 115C‑238.29D G.S. 115C‑218.5 or any other provision of law to the contrary, the State Board of Education shall establish a pilot program to authorize the operation of two virtual charter schools serving students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. The State Board shall establish an application process to allow student enrollment in the selected virtual charter schools beginning with the 2015‑2016 school year. A virtual charter school participating in the pilot may serve any grade span of students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. The pilot program shall continue for a period of four eight school years and shall end with the 2018‑2019 2022‑2023 school year.

"SECTION 8.35.(b)  The virtual charter schools participating in the pilot program authorized by this section shall be subject to the statutes and rules applicable to charter schools pursuant to Part 6A of Article 16 14A of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes, except as follows:

(1)        The maximum student enrollment in any participating school shall be no greater than 1,500 in its first year of operation and may increase by twenty percent (20%) for each participating school up to a maximum student enrollment of 2,592 in the fourth year of the pilot. The State Board of Education may waive this maximum student enrollment threshold, beginning in the fourth year of the school's operation, if the State Board determines that doing so would be in the best interest of North Carolina students.

(2)        The maximum overall ratio of teachers to students for kindergarten through eighth grade shall be 1:50, and for ninth through twelfth grade shall be 1:150.

(3)        A student who regularly fails to participate in courses may be withdrawn from enrollment pursuant to procedures adopted by the virtual charter school. The procedures adopted by the virtual charter school shall ensure that (i) fair notice is provided to the parent and student and (ii) an opportunity is provided, prior to withdrawal of the student by the school, for the student and parent to demonstrate that failure to participate in courses is due to a lawful absence recognized under Part I of Article 26 of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes and any applicable rules adopted by the State Board of Education.

"SECTION 8.35.(c)  In addition to the operating requirements applicable to a virtual charter school participating in the pilot program pursuant to Part 6A of Article 16 14A of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes, the following requirements shall apply to a participating virtual charter school:

(1)        The school shall maintain an administrative office within North Carolina. In addition, the school shall maintain at least one testing center or meeting place within each of the eight State Board of Education districts where the participating students reside, to allow educators and administrators from the school to meet students and parents. When utilizing the testing center or meeting place for test administration, the school is permitted to do the following:

a.         Administer tests to multiple grade levels at the same time and location.

b.         Contract with a test administrator who is not employed by the board of directors of the school and meets the following criteria:

1.         Holds a valid, North Carolina educator license.

2.         Passes a criminal history check as defined in G.S. 115C‑332(a)(1) performed by the school.

3.         Is trained on test administration in accordance with the North Carolina Testing Program.

(2)        If the school contracts with a third party for the provision of administrative staff, such staff fulfilling the equivalent positions of superintendent, principal, or business officer shall be residents of North Carolina.

(3)        All teaching staff shall carry the appropriate State certification to instruct any course and shall receive professional development in virtual instruction pursuant to the school's application to the State Board of Education to participate in the pilot program within 30 days of the employee's date of hire. At least eighty percent (80%) of the teaching staff shall reside within North Carolina.

(4)        The school shall have a withdrawal rate below twenty‑five percent (25%). A student who meets any of the following criteria shall not be counted in measuring the school's withdrawal rate:

a.         A student enrolled in a school with the intent expressed prior to enrollment of only being enrolled for a finite period of time within the school year. The school shall keep a written record of a student's stated intent for finite enrollment.

b.         A student who is withdrawn from the school pursuant to subdivision (3) of subsection (b) of this section.

c.         A student who is no longer qualified under the laws of this State for admission to a public school in North Carolina, including due to the student relocating to another state.

d.         A student who (i) withdraws from the school for a family, personal, or medical reason and (ii) notifies the school of the reason for withdrawal. The school shall keep a written record of a student's stated reason for withdrawal under this sub‑subdivision.

e.         A student who withdraws from the school within the first 30 days following the date of the student's enrollment.

(4a)      A count of school attendance shall be taken at least once during each semester for funding purposes.

(5)        The school shall ensure that each student is assigned a learning coach. The learning coach shall provide (i) daily support and supervision of students, (ii) ensure student participation in online lessons, and (iii) coordinate teacher‑led instructional sessions and State assessments.

"SECTION 8.35.(d)  Notwithstanding G.S. 115C‑238.29BG.S. 115C‑218.1 and G.S. 115C‑238.29D,G.S. 115C‑218.5, a participating virtual charter school that is successful in meeting the requirements of this section and the applicable requirements of Part 6A of Article 1614A of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes during the period of the pilot program shall be eligible to be approved by the State Board of Education, at its discretion, without additional application requirements.

"SECTION 8.35.(e)  The State Board of Education shall provide State funding to a virtual charter school participating in the pilot program as provided in G.S. 115C‑238.29H(a) G.S. 115C‑218.105(a) and G.S. 115C‑238.29H(a1). G.S. 115C‑218.105(b). The amount allocated pursuant to G.S. 115C‑238.29H(a)(1) G.S. 115C‑218.105(a)(1) shall not, however, include the allocation for low‑wealth counties supplemental funding and the allocation for small county supplemental funding. Virtual charter schools participating in the pilot program shall also be subject to the requirements in G.S. 115C‑238.29H(b) G.S. 115C‑218.105(c) through G.S. 115C‑238.29H(d). G.S. 115C‑218.105(e). The amount of local funds provided to participating schools pursuant to G.S. 115C-238.29H(b) G.S. 115C‑218.105(c) shall be the lesser of seven hundred ninety dollars ($790.00) per pupil or the amount computed in accordance with G.S. 115C‑238.29H(b).G.S. 115C‑218.105(c).

"SECTION 8.35.(f)  A participating virtual charter school that does not comply with the provisions of this section may result in deferment or termination of enrollment expansion, or termination of a pilot. Schools are subject to presentation of data to the State Board of Education at the call of the Chair of the State Board with a minimum of 21 days' notice.

"SECTION 8.35.(g)  The State Board shall report on the initial implementation of the pilot program to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee by November 15, 2016, and on findings from three (i) five years of operation of the pilot program by November 15, 2018. 2020, and (ii) seven years of operation of the pilot program by November 15, 2022. At a minimum, the report reports shall include the following:

(1)        The number of students who have enrolled in courses offered by the schools.

(2)        The number and type of courses offered by the schools.

(3)        The withdrawal rate of students after enrollment.

(4)        Student performance and accountability data.

(5)        Information on the implementation, administration, and funding for the pilot program.

(6)        Recommendations on the modification, continuation, and potential expansion of the program."

SECTION 2.  This act is effective when it becomes law.

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