CHAPTER 164

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 168

AS AMENDED BY SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 2

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO CHARTER SCHOOLS.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE :

Section 1. Amend §503, Title 14 of the Delaware Code by inserting the words "be a public body subject to the requirements of 29 Del. C. Chapter 100 and shall between the words "shall" and "have" in the next to the last sentence of said section.

Section 2. Amend §504A (8), Title 14 of the Delaware Code by deleting the "; and" at the end thereof and substituting the following:

". Charter schools may refer students to the alternative programs operated pursuant to the provision of Chapter 16 of this Title subject to the following conditions:

a. A student may only be referred to a program which serves that student's district of residence and only if there is space available in such program to serve the student; and

b. The student otherwise meets eligibility criteria for students who may be enrolled in such program; and

c. The student's district of residence and the charter school in which the student is enrolled agree to a pro-ration of student funding between or among the charter school and the school district in which the student resides in which case the district of residence shall become liable for any cost associated with the placement of the student in the alternative program."

Section 3. Amend §4130(a), Title 14 of the Delaware Code by striking it in its entirety and replacing it with the following:

"(a) In any case where a public school student is expelled from a school district or a charter school, the expelled student shall not be permitted to re-enroll in any other school district or charter school in this State until after the full period of expulsion from the school district or charter school where the student was expelled shall have expired."

Section 4. Amend §104(b), Title 14 of the Delaware Code by adding a new subsection thereto as follows:

"(12) Any provision of Chapter 5 of this Title to the contrary notwithstanding, decide appeals of decisions by the board of directors of a charter school to suspend or expel a student for disciplinary reasons. In deciding such cases, the State Board shall employ the same standard of review as is set forth in Section 1058 of this Title".

Section 5. Amend §4130(b), Title 14 of the Delaware Code by striking it in its entirety and replacing it with the following:

"(b) Prior to enrolling any student who attempts to transfer to a school district or charter school in this State, the superintendent of that school district, or the superintendent's designee, the head of a charter school or such head's designee shall first contact the last school district or charter school where the student was last enrolled, if in this State, to determine if that student is under a current expulsion order in that district or charter school. If it is determined that the student is under a current expulsion order, that student shall not be permitted to enroll until the expulsion order has expired as set forth in subsection (a).”

Section 6. Amend §505, Title 14 of the Delaware Code by deleting the entire section after the title and substituting the following:

"Except as otherwise specified in this Chapter and Title, a charter school is exempt from all provisions of this Title, except the provisions of Chapter 31, and all regulations of any board of education of a reorganized school district, although a charter school may elect to comply with one or more such provisions."

Section 7. Amend §507 (c), Title 14 of the Delaware Code by deleting the first two paragraphs thereof and substituting the following:

"(c) Labor relations between the charter school and its employees shall be governed by Chapter 40 of this Title, and a charter school and its employees may agree through the collective bargaining process to abide by other provisions of this Title or Code. Except as otherwise provided in this section, all teachers working in charter schools shall hold an appropriate teaching certificate and license. Notwithstanding the foregoing, for any school year with respect to which there is no 'qualified alternative certification,' as hereinafter defined, in effect, a charter school may, where it deems it beneficial to the success of its educational program, hire teachers that are not fully certified and licensed so long as such teachers have at least a bachelor's degree in the content area in which they are teaching and comprise no more than 35% of the teachers at the school. If teaching one or primarily one specific content area, a teacher shall have a bachelor's degree in that content area."

Section 8. Amend §507(d), Title 14 of the Delaware Code by deleting the number "3" from the first sentence thereof and substituting the number "2", and further amend said subsection by adding the following at the end thereof: "Notwithstanding any of the foregoing to the contrary, teachers who, prior to the effective date of this subsection, were granted a leave of absence to teach in a charter school shall be permitted to complete the full period of leave then granted. Effective March 15, 2002 and each succeeding year thereafter, teachers desiring to return to the local school district on a valid leave of absence shall notify such district of his/her intent in writing no later than March 15th of any year for the succeeding school year."

Section 9. Amend §509, Chapter 14 of the Delaware Code by adding a new subsection thereto designated as Section 509(i) as follows:

"(i) In return for the receipt by a charter school of state funds allocated directly to the school for extra time, professional development, driver education, or disciplinary programs, the school shall provide such programs."

Section 10. Amend §509, Chapter 14 of the Delaware code by adding thereto a new section designated as §509(j) which shall read as follows:

"(j) If after September 30th, a pupil ceases to be enrolled in a charter school and is thereafter enrolled in a reorganized school district for the balance of the fiscal year, nothing contained in this section shall prevent a charter school which has received any funding for the student and the school district in which the student is subsequently enrolled from entering into an agreement providing for the pro-ration of student funding between or among the charter school and the school district in which the student is subsequently enrolled. Funding in any subsequent fiscal year shall be as otherwise provided in this Code."

Section 11. Amend §511 (e), Title 14 of the Delaware Code by adding the following sentence at the end of said section: "If the date for submitting an application or commencing the school's instructional program shall fall on a weekend or state holiday, the time for such shall be continued to the first working day thereafter."

Section 12. Amend §511(g), Title 14 of the Delaware Code by deleting the section in its entirety and substituting the following:

"(g) If an approving authority decides to consider a charter application, the approving authority must rule on whether to approve the application at a public meeting within 90 working days after December 31st."

Section 13. Amend §511(f) by adding the words "or the Department of Education with the consent of the State Board of Education" after the word "board" where it first appears in the last sentence of said section.

Section 14. Amend §511(j), Title 14 of the Delaware Code by deleting everything after the first sentence thereof and substituting the following:

"The approving authority may approve an application subject to such conditions as the approving authority, in its sole discretion, may deem appropriate to ensure the applicant's continuing compliance with the approval criteria."

Section 15. Amend §512, Title 14 of the Delaware Code by deleting the words "of a proposed charter" from the first sentence thereof and substituting the words "established by the approving authority" in lieu thereof.

Section 16. Amend §512(1), Title 14 of the Delaware Code by deleting said subsection in its entirety and replacing it with the following:

"(1) The individuals and entities submitting the application are experienced and qualified to start and operate a charter school, and to implement the school's proposed educational program. Certified teachers, parents, and members of the community in which the school is to be located must be involved in the development of the proposed charter school. At the time at which the school commences its instructional program and at all times thereafter, the board of directors must include a teacher at the school and a parent of a student enrolled at the school as members;"

Section 17. Amend §512(6), Title 14 of the Delaware Code by adding the following after the word "performance":

"; and must be aligned to meet the Delaware Content Standards and state program requirements, and in the case of a charter high school, state graduation requirements. High school programs must provide driver education. The educational program at all charter schools must include the provision by the school of extra instructional time for at risk students, summer school and other services required to be provided by school districts pursuant to the provisions of Section153 of this Title. A previously approved charter school may continue to operate in compliance with the terms of its current approval, but its charter shall not be renewed unless the school shall submit an application for renewal in full compliance with the requirements of this subsection".

Section 18. Amend §512(7), Title 14 of the Delaware Code by deleting the words "as it deems necessary" and further amend the said subsection by adding the word "appropriate" before the word "strategies".

Section 19. Amend §512(12), Title 14 of the Delaware Code by striking "Chapter 85 of Title 11" and inserting the words "local, state, and federal law, including the provisions of Chapter 85 of Title 11 of the Delaware Code".

Section 20. Amend §512, Title 14 of the Delaware Code by adding thereto a new subsection designated as §512(13) which shall read as follows:

"(13) The school shall have a satisfactory plan for timely transferring student data and records to the Department of Education."

Section 21. Amend §512, Title 14 of the Delaware Code by adding thereto a new subsection designated as §512(14) which shall read as follows:

"(14) The school's Board of Directors shall annually certify to the Department, on a form to be provided by the Department, that prior to the payment of any fees or other sums to any management company employed by the board, the board will insure that sufficient revenues of the school are devoted to adequately support the school's proposed educational program. Such form of certification may require documentation of all actual or proposed expenditures by the school. Failure to provide sufficient funds to adequately support the school's proposed education program shall be grounds for revocation of the school's charter."

Section 22. Amend §515(d), Title 14 of the Delaware Code by adding the word "working" after the number "90" in the first sentence thereof.

Section 23. Amend §501, Title 14 of the Delaware Code by deleting the words "provide parents and students with improved measures of school performance" in the third paragraph of said section and substituting the words "provide parents and students with measures of improved school and student performance".

Section 24. Amend §506, Title 14 of the Delaware Code by adding a new subsection (c) to read as follows:

"Effective March 1, 2002 and each succeeding year thereafter, charter schools shall have enrolled at a minimum, 80 percent of the total authorized number of students and have notified each of the school districts with the number of students and residency information. Failure to comply with this subsection shall be grounds for revocation pursuant to §515 of this Title."

Section 25. Amend §507, Title 14 of the Delaware Code by adding a new subsection (f) to read as follows:

"Effective March 1, 2002, and each succeeding year thereafter, charter school boards that desire to dispense with the services of any teacher on leave from a Delaware public school district shall give notice in writing to such teacher on or before March 1 of any year of its intent to terminate said teacher's services at the end of such school year."

Section 26. Amend Section 515 (g), Title 14 Delaware Code by deleting the last sentence therein in its entirety.

Approved July 12, 2001