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Presentation on theme: "JULIA MARTIN, ESQ. BRETTE KAPLAN, ESQ. STEVEN SPILLAN, ESQ. BRUSTEIN & MANASEVIT, PLLC"— Presentation transcript:


2 Agenda 2 Spotlight on Charter Schools Charter Schools 101 National Trends Recent Legislation Equity Issues ESEA Flexibility Civil Rights Charter School Program Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

3 Spotlight on Charter Schools 3 Charter schools gained prominence during the Bush Administration, following passage of the No Child Left Behind Act Obama Administration continues to support public charter schools Conservatives see charters as an avenue for school choice Congress is poised to increase the attention and spotlight on charter schools Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

4 4 Charter Schools 101 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

5 What is a Charter School? 5 Independent public school designed and operated by parents, educators, community leaders, education entrepreneurs and others. Operates under a contract, or charter, from a public agency, such as a local or state education agency, an institution of higher education or a municipality. Must meet standards set forth in their charters for students and for the school as a whole, or else the chartering agency can close the school. Source: Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

6 What is a Charter School? 6 Nonsectarian, publicly funded school of choice exempt from certain State and local regulations. In return for reduced governmental regulation, charter schools agree in charter to be held accountable for academic and financial performance. May operate as its own LEA, or as part of another LEA Source: The Office of Innovation and Improvements Oversight and Monitoring of the Charter Schools Programs Planning and Implementation Grants, ED/OIG Final Audit Report (September 2012) Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

7 What is a Charter School? 7 According to ESEA, Section 5210(1), a charter school is a public school that is: Per State CS authorizing laws, exempt from significant State or local rules inhibiting flexible operation & management of public schools; Created or adapted by developer, & operated under public supervision & direction; Operates to pursue specific educational objectives determined by schools developer & agreed to by authorized public charter agency; Provides elementary or secondary education, or both; Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

8 What is a Charter School? 8 ESEA, Section 5210(1) -- (continued) Complies with civil rights laws (ADA, Title VI, Title IX, Section 504, IDEA); Complies with Federal and State audit requirements; Complies with Federal, State, and local health and safety requirements; Operates according to State law; Has written performance contract with authorized public charter agency describing how student performance will be measured for State assessments required by other schools and assessments mutually agreeable to authorizer and charter school; Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

9 9 ESEA, Section 5210(1) -- (continued) Nonsectarian in all operations (programs, admissions, employment, etc.); Not affiliated with sectarian school or religious institution; Does not charge tuition; School parents choose to send child to or admits students based on lottery when necessary. What is a Charter School? Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

10 Charter School Authorizers 10 State charter school laws assign authorizers National Association of Charter School Authorizers identified 6 types of authorizers: 1. IHEs 2. Independent chartering boards 3. LEAs 4. Mayors/Municipalities 5. Not-for-profit organizations 6. SEAs Authorizers: Approve charter applications Oversee and ensure compliance Review and renew contracts Close charter schools Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

11 Charter School Authorizers 11 After approving application, authorizer drafts charter contract outlining: Time period of CS contract; Requirements for governing board & bylaws; Exemptions to traditional school legal obligations; Performance goals; Number of schools allowed under charter; Fiscal goals; and Reporting requirements Authorizers responsible for monitoring school progress and compliance Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

12 Charter Schools are Autonomous 12 Despite detailed contracts, charter schools usually have more freedom and flexibility than traditional public schools Charter schools can: Extend school day/week Extend school year Increase instructional time in a particular subject Make independent staffing decisions Try a new curriculum Try a new instructional method Pay for performance Offer extensive tutoring Etc. Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

13 Charter Schools & Public Funds 13 How are public charter schools funded? Money follows student If a student transfers from a traditional public school to a public charter school, the funding associated with that student follows him or her to the public charter school Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

14 Charter Schools & Accountability 14 Are charter schools accountable for state educational standards? YES! Required to meet all Federal and State education standards Charter documents and chartering contracts establish student achievement goals that must be met Accountable to supervising entity (LEA or SEA) Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

15 Charter Schools & Financial Accountability 15 How are charter schools held financially accountable? Funded with public dollars Audits If applicable, conduct single audit Single Audit Act: expend $500K or more per year in Federal funds Ongoing reviews from authorizing entities Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

16 National Trends in Charter Schools 16 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

17 State Charter School Laws 17 Minnesota passed first charter school law in As of November 2012, 42 States and DC have laws specifically authorizing and governing charter schools Two States made changes to charter school law in November 2012 elections: WA approved charters for the first time GA changed state constitution to clarify availability of charters 8 States dont have charter school laws AL, KY, MT, NE, ND, SD, VT, WV Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

18 State Charter School Laws: Differences 18 Charter school laws differ greatly from State to State Common differences: 1. The types of charter schools that can operate in the State; 2. The limit, if any, on the number of charter schools that can operate in the State; 3. The type & number of authorizing entities in the State; 4. The level of legal autonomy & requirements charter schools are exempt from; and 5. The level of fiscal autonomy & funding a charter school receives Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

19 Increasing Numbers Overall, huge growth in number of charters and number of charter students in recent years In : More than 1.6 million students In 2011: More than 5000 charter schools nationwide Serving 2.3 million students (about 3% of total) There are 100 cities where charters serve 10% of students or more (25 cities where its >20%) 19 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

20 Measuring Charter Growth 20 Development of charter schools began in 1990s to provide expanded educational options within the public school system Since : 1,700 new public charter schools (almost 50% increase) Serving additional 1 million students (80% increase) From to , an estimated additional 200,000 to 275,000 students attending public charter schools In school year alone, over 500 new public charter schools Source: National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Dashboard Data from , Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

21 By the Numbers 21 Students enrolled in charter schools nationwide: 63% = Students of color 52% = Eligible for free or reduced-price lunch 16.5% = LEP 11.9% = Have IEP Charter school geography: 54% in large cities 22% in suburban communities 9% in towns 15% in rural areas Source: National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, March 2013 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

22 Push to Remove Caps Currently, 25 States (including DC) have caps on the number of charter schools Different types of caps: Number of schools chartered/number of active charters Number of students in charter schools Limits to annual growth in number of schools or % of students in charters Why remove caps? Allows growth of good models, competition in charter market BUT caps incentivize closure of unsuccessful models/problem schools 22 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

23 Push for More Authorizers According to 2011 survey by National Association of Charter School Authorizers: 1000 chartering authorities nationwide 850 are LEAs LEAs authorize 52% of charters Why more authorizers? More charters Process moves more quickly Less bias? 23 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

24 Increase in State/Local Voucher Programs Basic idea: funding portability In 2011, 15 States had some kind of voucher/tax credit program 42 more were considering legislation Some cities have similar programs E.g., Los Angeles, Rochester, Newark, Boston Support from members of Congress Specifics of programs – and degree of portability varies 24 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

25 National Trends: Parent Trigger Laws 25 Generally, parent trigger laws allow parents to petition to transform a failing public school Transformations can include conversion to a charter Requests not always granted Most States require that school is first designated as low- performing for two to three years Proponents say triggers give parents a voice Critics say: Triggers work to privatize and corporatize public schools (charters can be run by for-profit corporations) Can allow schools to circumvent union protections for teachers Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

26 National Trends: Parent Trigger Laws States have or are currently considering parent trigger bills First parent trigger law: CA, passed 2010 Existing parent trigger laws in: LA, MS, CT, TX, IN, OH, CA CA, IN, TX considering revisions to trigger laws CA is only State where parent trigger petition has been used (twice) Both requests blocked by legal challenges Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

27 27 Recent Legislation Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

28 Democrats and Charters Seen as an option in healthy school ecosystem Generally supportive BUT not a solution for all students 28 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

29 Republicans and Charters Charters as part of school choice system Market-based approach to e Charters as viable option that drive competition for other schools Money should follow the child Romney: linked to the student Cantor (R-VA): funding portability 29 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

30 Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act H.R (112 th Congress) Sponsored by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) Goal is to streamline and modernize the Charter School Program Current program outdated and not meeting the needs of the charter school community 30 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

31 Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act Consolidates existing funds into State grant program With additional flexibility on State level to support new startups and expansion/replication of successful models States must describe how they will include ELLs, students with disabilities Expands current Charter School Program grant period from 3 years to 5 years 31 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

32 Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act Gives priority in funding to States that: Repeal charter school caps Allow other entities to be charter authorizers (not just SEA/State board) Provide charter financing comparable to traditional public schools Support full-blended or hybrid-online models Are using charter transformation as a form of intervention for low-performing schools 32 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

33 Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act Consolidates Credit Enhancement Grant and Facilities Incentive Grant into CSP, with the option for the Secretary to award funds for facilities Option for Secretary to provide funding directly to individual charters In States that dont get CSP grants Support TA, dissemination of best practices 33 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

34 Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act Support Passed House Committee 6/22/11 Bipartisan support (34-5) including George Miller (D-CA) and Jared Polis (D-CO) Passed House of Representatives 9/13/11 Bipartisan support (365-54) Included in text of Harkin ESEA bill (marked up October 2011) Introduced as stand-alone in Senate 9/15/11 Future This legislation or something similar is likely to pass in next large education bill 34 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

35 Race to the Top Act of H.R. 426 Sponsored by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) Designed to boost comprehensive reforms and innovative strategies Would create a competitive grant program for applicants that agree to implement one or more specific innovations, including creating or maintaining successful conditions for high- performing charter schools Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

36 21 st Century Charter School Act 36 S. 88 Sponsored by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) Would amend ESEA Charter School Program Would makes public & private nonprofit entities eligible for grants (currently only SEAs) Would allow grantees to award subgrants to developers or charter support organizations Prioritizes applicants in States with no cap, high degree of charter autonomy Creates 2 new grants for: Charters and operators to disseminate best practices Developing credit enhancement initiatives that help with costs Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

37 Charter Schools & Equity Issues 37 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

38 Geography More than half of all charter schools are located in major cities Not an option for many students, especially those from rural areas 38 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

39 Segregation? 2012 University of Wisconsin study 43% of black charter school students attended schools that were 99% minority Compared with 15% of black student population in traditional public schools Minneapolis: 44% of charter schools were 80% or more non-white 2012 Civil Rights Project at UCLA study: Higher percentage of charter schools than traditional public schools are racially isolated 39 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

40 Segregation? What are causes? Self-selection? Intentional segregation? Geography? Schools prioritizing growth over equity? Charter advocates say schools comply with all applicable civil rights requirements 40 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

41 Students with Disabilities Attend charter schools at much lower rates 2012 GAO Report to Congress found that in , student with disabilities made up: 11.1% of total school-age population 11.2% of traditional public school population 8.2% of charter school population (up from 7.7% in ) Varies by State In NH, students with disabilities make up 6% of charter school population; 13% overall In IA, MN, NV, NM, OH, PA, VA, WY, about the same as % of total population 41 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

42 Students with Disabilities Why? GAO doesnt know Possible explanations: Placement by charter/LEA Location of schools Parent preference/student need School capacity/resources Funding 42 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

43 Recommendations to States on Equity 43 EDs Equity and Excellence Commission: Ensure funding equity Ensure access to publicly reported data for all public schools including charters Work with Congress to promote research and evaluation of the effect of charter schools on equity and access to public education University of Colorado National Education Policy Center: Explicitly require that charter schools "enhance equitable educational outcomes for all students, particularly those who have historically struggled." Ensure that charter schools are in compliance with all federal laws, including civil rights laws Employ increased federal-level data collection and accountability measures. Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

44 44 ESEA Flexibility Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

45 Charters & ESEA Flexibility 45 From EDs ESEA Flexibility FAQs ESEA flexibility principles apply to charter schools SEA must include charters in its plan for transitioning to CCR standards and assessments; differentiated accountability system; teacher and principal evaluation & support systems; all AMOs must apply to charters Title I-participating public charters can be labeled reward, priority, or focus schools Charter school authorizers decision to close a charter overrides SEAs labeling of a charter Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

46 Charters & ESEA Flexibility 46 Which State entity is responsible for ensuring CS- LEA or charter school complies with States accountability system? ESEA requires State charter school law governs Generally means authorizer is responsible for accountability BUT under ESEA flexibility, SEA establishes AMOs and accountability system, authorizer (or entity under State CS law responsible for accountability) should maintain close contact with SEA to ensure receiving current and accurate information Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

47 Charters & ESEA Flexibility 47 Is a CS-LEA included in SEAs differentiated recognition, accountability, and support system as an LEA or school? CS-LEA is subject to recognition, accountability, and support provisions applicable to schools. For flexibility purposes, SEA treats ALL charter schools, regardless of LEA status, as schools SEA includes CS-LEAs when identifying reward, priority, and focus schools Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

48 Charters & ESEA Flexibility 48 Can authorizer impose more rigorous accountability requirements on CS than SEAs differentiated system requires? YES ESEA flexibility does not prohibit charter contracts exceeding SEAs minimum requirements Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

49 49 Caution: Each States approved waiver varies, so be sure to consult the waiver/appropriate staff regarding any new or modified requirements! Charters & ESEA Flexibility Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

50 50 Civil Rights Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

51 Civil Rights Laws 51 Charter schools must comply with federal civil rights laws, including: Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Title II of the Americans with Disability Act Age Discrimination Act of 1975 If charter is part of LEA LEA responsible for civil rights compliance If charter receives federal funds from SEA or its designee SEA also responsible Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

52 Civil Rights Data Collection 52 CRDC collects data from public schools nationwide Enrollment Services disaggregated by race/ethnicity, sex, LEP, & disability Used by OCR for enforcement and monitoring Used by other offices, agencies, policymakers & researchers Charter schools must comply with OCRs data collection efforts Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

53 Helpful Resource 53 Applying Federal Civil Rights Laws to Public Charter Schools, Questions and Answers ED/OCR guidance, May 2000 Reviews civil rights requirements applicable to charter schools, including: recruitment, admissions, lotteries, desegregation, services to LEP students and students with disabilities Archived online at: Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

54 Resource for Charter Schools Serving ELLs 54 NAPCS Serving English Language Learners: A Toolkit for Public Charter Schools (April 2013) Provides key federal laws & policies; examples of state laws; and framework for developing, implementing and monitoring ELL instructional program Discusses charter schools serving ELLs School opening, recruitment, admissions, identification, assessment, program requirements, teacher qualifications, exiting students from ELL program, monitoring and parental communication s/NAPCS_ELL_Toolkit_ _ T pdf Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

55 Case Study: Food Allergies 55 Mystic Valley Regional Charter School State Hearing Officer decision required school to ban all peanut products from childs classroom due to life threatening allergy School failed to make undue hardship/burden argument Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

56 Case Study: Diabetes Care 56 University Legal Services and American Diabetics Association filed complaint with ED 13 DC charter schools enrolled diabetic students and failed to provide enough staff trained to give insulin shots and other medical care CS did not have written plans to provide diabetic students with accommodations (ex: eating and drinking when necessary) As of December 2012, all but 2 CS corrected problem Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

57 57 Charter School Program Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

58 CSP Generally Designed to support the planning, development, and initial implementation of charter schools during their first three years of existence Provides dissemination grants to facilitate the sharing of practices between charter schools and other public schools 58 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

59 CSP Generally ED awards grants to SEA or to eligible applicants If SEA does not apply, eligible applicants can apply directly to ED Program requires a State charter school law, and charters must meet a 12 part definition in Section 5210(1) (no waivers permitted for the definition of a charter school) 59 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

60 CSP Start-Up Grants May not exceed period of 3 years Post-award planning and design of the educational program (18 month limit) Refinement of educational results, methods for measuring progress, professional development of teachers who will work in school Initial implementation of the charter school (24 month limit) Informing community about school, acquiring necessary equipment and other educational materials, other initial operational costs that cannot be met from State or local sources So, if 18 months on planning, only 18 more permitted for implementation 60 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

61 CSP Dissemination 2 year period Purpose: Helping charters overcome: Political conflict Variations in quality Challenges to meaningful collaboration/ experience sharing Difficulties to scaling-up effective approaches Isolation of the charter school community, to share experience with traditional public schools 61 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

62 CSP Dissemination Only qualifying charter schools are eligible for the dissemination grant: In operation for 3 consecutive years, and Shown substantial improvement in student achievement Have high levels of parental involvement Include management and leadership that have overcome start-up issues and are thriving SEA may reserve up to 10% of CSP grant to support dissemination activities 62 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

63 CSP Dissemination Dissemination grants have not thrived Challenges remain: Between , few States had considerable charters meeting the minimum eligibility requirements Charters had difficulty identifying non- charter schools that were interested in participating in dissemination activities Few States conducted evaluations of their statewide dissemination grant programs 63 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

64 CSP and Private Schools Private schools do not meet the definition of a charter school under the ESEA Cannot receive CSP funds Cant make the switch to get CSP funds: ESEA does not recognize conversions of private schools into public charter schools 64 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

65 CSP and For-Profits A for-profit entity does not qualify as an eligible CSP applicant A non-profit charter school receiving CSP funds may enter into a contract with a for- profit entity to manage the charter school on a day-to-day basis The non-profit entity must directly administer or supervise the administration of the CSP project Non-profit recipient is directly responsible for CSP compliance 65 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

66 CSP and Religious Schools Public charter schools must be non-religious in programs, admissions policies, governance, employment practices and all other operations. The charter schools curriculum must be completely secular. 66 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

67 CSP Assurances New assurances added to CSP application Language in FY 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act 67 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

68 CSP Assurance 3A Each authorized charter school in the State operates under a legally binding charter or performance contract between itself and the schools authorized public chartering agency which must: Describe the obligations and responsibilities of the school and the public chartering agency; Conduct annual, timely, and independent audits of the schools financial statements that are filed with the schools authorized public chartering agency; and Demonstrate improved student academic achievement. 68 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

69 CSP Assurance 3B Authorized public chartering agencies use increases in student academic achievement for all groups of students as the most important factor when determining to renew or revoke a schools charter 69 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

70 CSP Assurance 3B Increased student achievement across all subgroups : Economically disadvantaged students; Students from major racial and ethnic groups; Students with disabilities; and Students with limited English proficiency 70 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

71 OIG Report on CSP Oversight Released September 2012 Findings: ED did not conduct sufficiently effective oversight; EDs process for ensuring States effectively monitor subgrantees is in need of improvement; and ED did not ensure that States have adequate monitoring procedures for handling charter school closures. 71 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

72 OIG Report – SEA Findings Did not adequately monitor charter schools receiving the SEA grant; Did not have adequate methodologies to select charter schools for onsite monitoring visits; and Did not monitor the authorizing agencies. Insufficient procedures for closing charter schools and recovering SEA grant funds from the institutions. No written State requirements for how unspent funds can be given back by closed charter schools. 72 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

73 OIG Recommendations to ED Develop and implement policies and procedures issuing and tracking corrective action plans for each monitoring finding or specific recommendation made as a result of monitoring reports produced, and monitoring grantee fiscal activities; Establish and implement requirements for SEAs to develop a monitoring plan explaining the extent of monitoring that will be conducted during an SEA grant cycle; 73 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

74 OIG Recommendations (Cont.) Provide necessary guidance and training to SEAS for the development and implementation of procedures to ensure SEAs have effective monitoring and fiscal controls for tracking the use of funds; and Ensure SEAs have procedures to properly account for SEA grant funds spent by closed charter schools and for disposal of assets purchased with SEA grant funds in accordance with Federal regulations. 74 Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC

75 75 Questions??? Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC



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