EL(LOCAL) - CAMPUS OR PROGRAM CHARTERS
Note: For purposes of this policy, the term "campus charter" includes a program charter.
"Board" refers to the Board of Trustees of the Austin Independent School District.
The Board shall consider an application for a campus charter if the applicant:
- Demonstrates it can fulfill a unique need or accomplish a critical goal of the District;
- Complies with the statutory requirements for a campus charter;
- Follows the application process established by the District; and
- Supplies evidence to the Board that the applicant will comply with the statutory and District requirements for a campus charter.
The terms used herein are defined as follows:
A campus-based charter school is one in which a campus applies to become a charter school. At least 80 percent of the parents of the school's students and at least 80 percent of the school's classroom teachers must sign the petition submitted to the District.
A District-initiated charter school and/or program is one in which the District creates a charter school or program based on District need (such as improved enrollment or academics, and could include reconfiguration of grade levels), which may draw students from a particular geographic area, District-wide, and/or outside the District.
A District-initiated charter school and/or program may involve partnerships in which one or more entities (such as businesses, universities, and/or governmental entities) work together to create a school with well-defined features that characterize the partnership.
Compliance with Law
Campus charters shall comply with all federal law and with state law governing such charters, and shall be nonsectarian.
A school that wishes to apply to become a campus-based charter school or an individual or entity that wishes to apply to establish a District-initiated charter school and/or program shall submit an application and petitions as appropriate to the Superintendent or designee. Once an application has been received or the District need has been identified, and if the application seeks to establish District-initiated charters, a manner of procurement shall be used as sanctioned by law and deemed most appropriate to further the interests of the District.
Applications and petition forms for campus-based charters and District-initiated charters may be found at EL(EXHIBIT).
Content of Final Application
A final application for a campus charter shall include the following:
- The purpose and need for such a campus or program;
- The unique distinction between the proposed campus or program and the District's current campuses and programs;
- A mission and goals statement;
- The curriculum to be offered;
- A plan for measuring student achievement;
- A governance and decision-making plan, including a list of local Board policies that shall apply, as well as a list of any local policies the applicant is requesting the Board to waive;
- An enrollment and withdrawal process;
- A plan for maintaining and reporting PEIMS data in accordance with state requirements;
- Discipline procedures;
- A safety and security plan;
- A plan for providing facilities and student transportation;
- A facility and maintenance plan that includes routine maintenance as well as emergency procedures for managing potential danger to the health and safety of students and employees;
- An employment plan consistent with federal and applicable state guidelines, due process requirements, and contract nonrenewal and termination procedures;
- A plan for staff development;
- A proposed calendar, length of school day, and staff workday calendar;
- A plan for special populations programs required by law, including Section 504, special education, bilingual, and ESL; and
- The role of the chief operating officer responsible for personnel, the budget, purchasing, program funds, and other areas of management.
Applicants shall submit with the application any required petitions indicating evidence of support for the approval of a campus charter.
Content of Charter
A charter shall be a written contract signed by the Board President, the Superintendent, and the chief operating officer of the campus charter.
Each charter shall satisfy the requirements of the law governing campus charters and include the items listed in the application, with any modifications required by the Board.
In addition to the legally required contents of a charter, each charter contract shall:
- Stipulate a term length for the charter not to exceed a three-year term;
- Establish a date for review or renewal of the charter;
- Stipulate that a campus charter must provide a report to the District on the progress of the campus and address any matters of concern on a biannual basis; and
- Comply with any TEA Commissioner rules regarding in-district charters and/or 1882 benefits, as applicable.
Revising the Charter
Revisions or amendments to a charter shall follow the same process outlined at Application Process, as applicable.
Provisions for Probation or Revocation
The Board may place on probation or revoke a campus charter in accordance with the charter contract if it finds that the campus charter:
- Violates a provision of applicable state or federal law;
- Violates a provision of the charter, which may include failure to meet academic or financial accountability requirements; or
- Fails to meet generally accepted accounting standards for fiscal management.
The Superintendent shall investigate any allegation that a campus charter has violated federal or applicable state law or provisions of the charter or fails to meet generally accepted accounting standards for fiscal management. The Superintendent shall hold a conference with the chief operating officer and governing body of the charter campus or program to discuss any such allegation.
If the Superintendent determines that a violation or mismanagement has occurred, the chief operating officer of the campus charter shall respond to the allegation at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting. The Superintendent shall ensure that the issue is on the agenda.
The Board shall hear the presentation and take action, if necessary, to place the campus charter on probation.
If the Board decides to consider revocation of the campus charter, it shall schedule a public hearing to be held on the respective campus.
Upon the expiration of a charter performance contract, the Board may renew the contract for up to an additional three-year term. In accordance with law, the Board shall renew a charter performance contract only if the Board finds that the campus charter has substantially fulfilled its obligations and met the performance standards in the contract and applicable law.
The Board shall consider the following, in addition to other factors specified in the charter performance contract:
- Multiple years and measures of performance against the performance standards and expectations established in the charter performance contract and applicable law;
- Financial audits;
- Performance and compliance reports, including site visit reports, if applicable; and
- The campus charter's performance on corrective action plans or other required interventions, if necessary.
The District shall publish the renewal application process, including the renewal criteria and timelines.
As part of the renewal application process, the District shall provide each campus charter, in advance of the renewal decision, a cumulative report that summarizes the campus charter's performance record over the contract term and states the District's summative findings concerning the campus's performance and its prospects for renewal.
Decision Not to Renew
The Board may choose not to renew a charter performance contract for any of the following reasons:
- Failure to meet student performance standards or other obligations in the charter performance contract;
- Failure to meet generally accepted accounting standards for fiscal management;
- Violation of any provision of the contract or applicable state or federal law; or
- Other reasons as determined by the Board.
If the Board decides not to renew a contract, the Board shall notify the campus charter of the action in writing no later than the last Friday in January during the final year of the charter performance contract. The notice shall include the reasons for the action and the effective date of the campus charter closure, which shall be no later than the end of the current school year.