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2512 George Mason Drive • P.O. Box 6038 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456-0038   757.263.1000 • 757.263.1240 TDD

Policies and Regulations

School Board of the City of Virginia Beach
Policy 3-95

BUSINESS AND NONINSTRUCTIONAL OPERATIONS

Public Charter Schools

  1. Purpose

    In order to: 1) stimulate the development of innovative programs; 2) provide opportunities for innovative programs within public education; 3) provide parents/legal guardians and students with more options within the School Division; 4) provide teachers with a vehicle for establishing schools with alternative innovative instruction and school scheduling, management and structure; 5) encourage performance-based educational programs; 6) establish high standards for both teachers and administrators; and 7) develop models for replication in other public schools, the School Board shall receive and consider applications for the establishment of public charter schools.

  2. Public Charter Schools Defined

    A charter school is a public, nonreligious, or non-home-based alternative school located within Virginia Beach. A public charter school may be created as a new public school or by converting all or part of an existing public school; however, no public charter school shall be established through the conversion of a private school or a nonpublic home-based educational program. A public charter school for at-risk pupils may be established as a residential school.

    The School Board may enter into contracts with other school divisions for the purposes of establishing a regional charter school. The procedures and authorizations set forth in this Policy will be adjusted to accomplish such a regional charter school. The School Board may approve a residential charter school application, but the School Board will not be responsible for any costs related to the residential aspect of such charter school.

    All public charter schools shall be subject to federal and state laws and regulations and constitutional provisions prohibiting discrimination in admissions, employment, or operation on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, gender, national origin, religion, ancestry, or the need for special education services.

    Enrollment in a public charter school shall be open to all students who reside in the School Division. If adequate space is not available to accommodate all students, a waiting list shall be established, prioritized through a lottery process on a space-available basis, except that in the case of the conversion of an existing public school, students who attend the school and the siblings of such students shall be given the opportunity to enroll in advance of the lottery process. Parents/legal guardians and adult students shall be informed of their student’s or their position on the list.

  3. Public Charter School Restrictions

    The School Board may grant charters not exceeding ten percent of the School Division’s total number of schools.

    Priority shall be given to public charter school applications designed to increase the educational opportunities of at-risk pupils. One-half of the public charter schools in the School Division are to be reserved for schools designed to increase the educational opportunities for “at-risk pupils”. However, the one-half requirement shall not apply in cases in which an existing public school is converted into a public charter school that serves the same community as the existing public school, nor shall such public charter school conversions be counted in the determination of School Division compliance with the one-half requirement.

    For purposes of this Policy, an “at-risk pupil” is a student having a physical, emotional, intellectual, socioeconomic, or cultural risk factor, as defined in Virginia Board of Education criteria, which research indicates may negatively influence educational success.

  4. Application

    Any person, group, or organization including any institution of higher education, may submit an application for the formation of a public charter school. Prior to submission of an application to the School Board, the public charter school applicant shall submit its proposed public charter school application to the Virginia Board of Education for its review, comment, and a determination as to whether the application meets the approval criteria developed by the Virginia Board of Education. The Virginia Department of Education will send a formal notification of the Virginia Board of Education’s decision to both the applicant and the School Board. No charter school application that is initiated by one or more local school boards is subject to Virginia Code § 22.1-213.9, as amended, with regard to submitting applications to the Virginia Board of Education.

    Upon its application to the School Board, the applicant must submit a completed application package together with a $700.00 application fee. The School Administration shall compute the actual cost to the School Division for legal counsel and staff time spent processing the charter application, charter contract, and requests for release/waiver from School Board Policies and Regulations and Virginia Board of Education Regulations. The costs shall include, at minimum, salary and fringe benefits for legal counsel and staff. At the conclusion of the process, whether the charter is granted or denied, the School Administration shall remit to the applicant any portion of the $700 application fee exceeding staff and legal counsel costs to process the application, charter contract, and request for release/waiver from School Board Policies and Virginia Board of Education Regulations.

    As part of the public charter school application process, the applicant must provide, at a minimum:

    1. The name, address, phone number and qualifications of the applicant(s) and a designated contact person. Additionally, each individual who signs the application or, if the applicant is a group, each member of the group or organization’s governing body shall provide a complete professional history and shall provide a completed Federal Bureau of Investigation background check, a Virginia State Police criminal check, a Child Protective Services background check and a credit check.
    2. The mission statement of the public charter school which is consistent with the principles of the Standards of Quality.
    3. The goals and educational objectives to be achieved by the public charter school, which educational objectives must meet or exceed the Standards of Learning.
    4. Evidence that an adequate number of parents/legal guardians, teachers, students, or any combination thereof, support the formation of a public charter school.
    5. A statement of need for a public charter school in a school division or in a geographic area within a school division.
    6. A description of the student population the public charter school intends to serve.
    7. A description of the public charter school's educational program, pupil performance standards, and curriculum, which must meet or exceed any applicable Standards of Quality, the assessments to be used to measure pupil progress toward achievement of the school's pupil performance standards in addition to the Standards of Learning assessments prescribed by Virginia Code; the timeline for achievement of such standards; and the procedures for taking corrective action in the event that pupil performance at the public charter school falls below such standards. The description shall also include a method for determining that a student has satisfied the requirements for graduation and a method for the transfer of credits between schools in the School Division.
    8. A description of the lottery process to be used to determine enrollment if there are more applicants than spaces available in the public charter school, including a provision that in the case of the conversion of an existing public school, students who attend the school and the siblings of such students shall be given the opportunity to enroll in advance of the lottery process. A lottery process shall also be developed for the establishment of a waiting list for students for whom space is unavailable. Additionally, if appropriate, the information should describe a tailored admission policy that meets the specific mission or focus of the public charter school and that is consistent with all federal and state laws and regulations and constitutional provisions prohibiting discrimination applicable to public schools.
    9. Evidence that the plan for the public charter school is economically sound for both the public charter school and the School Division; a proposed budget, for the term of the charter; and a description of the manner in which an annual audit of the financial and administrative operations of the public charter school, including any services provided by the School Division, is to be conducted.
    10. A plan for the displacement of pupils, teachers, and other employees who previously attended or were employed in the facility converted to a public charter school and who will not attend or be employed in the public charter school; and a plan for the placement of public charter school pupils, teachers, and employees upon charter termination, revocation of the charter, dissolution of the school, or dislocation from the school site for any reason.
    11. A description of the management and operation of the public charter school, including the nature and extent of parental, professional educator, and community involvement in the management and operation of the public charter school, including an explanation of how the public charter school will be accountable to the School Board, parents/legal guardians, the community, and the State.
    12. An explanation of the relationship that will exist between the proposed public charter school and its employees, including evidence that the terms and conditions of employment have been addressed with affected employees. The public charter school shall also provide an explanation of the procedure and guidelines for hiring all personnel not transferring to the public charter school from the School Division. This shall include an explanation of the process by which all statutory mandates regarding the hiring of public school employees shall be met.
    13. An agreement between the parties regarding legal liability and applicable insurance coverage.
    14. A description of how the public charter school plans to meet the transportation needs of its pupils.
    15. Assurances that the public charter school: a) is nonreligious in its programs, admission policies, employment practices, and all other operations; and b) does not charge tuition.
    16. A description of the facility to be used for the school or the plan for acquisition of a site. If the facility is a School Division facility, any plans for alteration or renovation must be provided. If the facility is not property of the School Division, the applicant must provide: a) a certificate of occupancy; b) a health inspection certificate; c) annual fire inspection certificate; d) proof of compliance with federal, state and local health and safety laws and regulations; and e) a copy of the lease or contract under which the public charter schools will use the facility.
    17. A description of the procedures the public charter school will implement to ensure the health and safety of the students and employees.
    18. Assurances, including a copy of all insurance policies naming the School Board and the Virginia Beach City Public Schools as additional insureds, that the School Board, its officers, employees, volunteers and agents will be defended, held harmless and indemnified against any claim, action, loss, damage, injury, liability, cost, or expense of any kind as a result of the public charter school or actions by its agents, employees, invitees or contractors.
    19. Disclosure of any ownership or financial interest in the public charter school, by the charter applicant and the governing body, administrators, and other personnel of the proposed public charter school; and a requirement that the successful applicant and the governing body, administrators, and other personnel of the public charter school shall have a continuing duty to disclose such interests during the term of any charter.
    20. The plans for compliance with state and federal laws and regulations regarding non discrimination and/or the educational rights of students with disabilities.
    21. A plan for handling student discipline matters that meets the criteria set forth in the Virginia Board of Education’s Student Conduct Policy Guidelines.
    22. The application package submitted to the Virginia Board of Education and the results of any Virginia Board of Education review of the public charter school application that may have been conducted as provided in Virginia Code § 22.1-212.9 (C), as amended.
  5. Application Review

    The Superintendent shall designate a review team consisting of appropriate School Division personnel and at least two members of the general public, one of whom has publicly supported the public charter schools concept, to evaluate public charter school applications. The Superintendent shall designate a member of the Review Team to act as the School Division contact for questions about the public charter school application process and for the acceptance of public charter schools applications.

    The Review Team shall work cooperatively with applicants and prospective applicants to provide information and respond to questions through the School Division contact. All questions from applicants prior to the actual submission of an application must be submitted to the School Division contact in writing and responses from the School Division will be given in writing. Once an application has been submitted, each applicant will be provided with the opportunity to resubmit an application or to submit information required to complete an application. If an applicant neither submits requested information nor resubmits an application within thirty (30) days of a request from the School Division contact, the application may be denied.

    The Superintendent shall develop a process for receiving and reviewing applications for public charter schools which shall be set forth in regulation. This Regulation shall include a timeline for the application and review process and a means for reviewing and evaluating each application, including the criteria on which the decision to either recommend an application for contract negotiations or to deny an application for a public charter school will be based.

    The Review Team shall be responsible for: 1) recommending to the Superintendent the criteria for reviewing public charter school applications; 2) evaluating all public charter school applications based upon the criteria set forth in regulation; 3) recommending that the School Board either reject an application or enter into contract negotiations with an applicant; 4) monitoring public charter school progress; and 5) making recommendations regarding the revocation, non-renewal or renewal, including renewal term, of charter contracts.

  6. School Board Decisions

    The School Board shall hold a hearing for the purpose of taking public comments on the recommendations of the review team before the School Board makes a decision to either reject an application or to move forward with contract negotiations. Notice of such public hearing will be done no less than fourteen (14) days prior to the public hearing. At such hearing the applicant shall be permitted adequate time to present its public charter school concept to the School Board, to respond to any questions or concerns of the review team and to answer any questions posed by members of the School Board. Written notice of the School Board’s decision shall be sent to each applicant, and if the application is rejected the notice shall specify the reasons for such rejection. The written notice of the School Board’s decision will be posted on the School Division website and be made available for review upon request.

    A public charter school applicant whose application was denied, or a grantee whose charter was revoked or not renewed, shall be entitled to petition the School Board for reconsideration. The petition may include amendments to the application or the charter agreement that address the reasons for the School Board’s decision. The petition for reconsideration shall be filed no later than sixty (60) calendar days from the date the public charter school application was denied, revoked, or not renewed. Such reconsideration shall be decided within sixty (60) calendar days of the filing of the petition and the School Board will accept public comment on the reconsideration.

    The applicant or grantee may seek technical assistance from the Virginia Department of Education regarding the reasons for the denial of the application or the revocation or nonrenewal of the charter contract. Upon reconsideration, the decision of the School Board to grant or deny the public charter school application or to revoke or nonrenew a charter agreement shall be final and not subject to appeal. The School Board will submit documentation to the Virginia Board of Education as to the rationale for the denial or revocation of the application.

    Nothing in this section shall prevent an applicant or grantee from filing a new application.

  7. Charter Contract

    Once the School Board accepts the recommendation of the review team to move forward with contract negotiations, the public charter school applicant and the review team, with the assistance of legal counsel, shall negotiate a contract which contains all agreements between the School Board and the public charter school. Such contract shall become part of the public charter school application which will then be either approved or disapproved by the School Board.

    Upon approval of an application which includes the charter contract by the School Board, a charter shall be granted for a term not to exceed five years.

    Any material revisions of the charter contract shall be made in writing and must be approved in writing by the School Board and the public charter school management committee.

  8. Release from Policies and Regulations

    A public charter school may operate free from School Board Policies and Regulations and state regulations to the extent specifically waived in the charter contract, except that the Standards of Quality prescribed in Virginia Code § 22.1-253.13:1 et seq., and by reference the Standards of Learning and the Standards of Accreditation, may not be waived. All School Board Policies and Regulations apply to each public charter school unless there has been a specific waiver agreed to in the charter contract. Additionally, new and revised School Board Policies and Regulations apply to all public charter schools unless a waiver is requested by the public charter school management committee within sixty days of the passage of such policy or regulation and the waiver is approved in writing by the School Board.

    The School Board, on behalf of each public charter school, shall request from the Virginia Board of Education waivers from those state regulations agreed to in the public charter school contract. If the public charter school is designed to increase the educational opportunities for at-risk pupils, the School Board shall request that the Virginia Board of Education approve an Individual School Accreditation Plan pursuant to 8 VAC 20-131-280 (C), as amended, of the Virginia Administrative Code.

  9. Management and Operation

    A public charter school shall be administered and operated by a management committee in the manner agreed to in the charter contract. The management committee shall be composed of parents of students enrolled in the school, teachers, and administrators working in the public charter school and representatives of any community sponsors or as agreed to by the School Board and the charter school applicant.

    A public charter school shall be responsible for its own operations, including, but not limited to, budget preparation, contracts for services, and personnel matters as specified in the charter contract. The public charter school shall have no authority to enter into contracts or agreements on behalf of the School Board of the City of Virginia Beach absent the express written approval of the Superintendent. All contracts entered into by the public charter school shall prominently state that the contract is not binding upon the School Board of the City of Virginia Beach unless it is signed by the Superintendent or a Deputy Superintendent or director to whom the Superintendent has delegated authority in writing. A public charter school may negotiate and contract with the School Division or any third party for the use of a school building and grounds, the operation and maintenance thereof, and the provision of any service, activity or undertaking which the public charter school is required to perform in order to carry out the educational program set forth in the charter contract. Services provided by the School Division to the public charter school shall be provided at cost to the School Division. The total cost for such services will be based upon the actual costs for the previous year.

  10. Personnel

    Public charter school personnel shall be employees of the School Board and the Virginia Beach City Public Schools and shall be selected and/or hired as agreed in the charter contract. Professional, licensed employees currently employed by the School Board and the Virginia Beach City Public Schools may volunteer for assignment to a public charter school and may be assigned by the School Board to a public charter school for one contract year and reassigned annually upon the request of the employee and management committee. Professional, licensed employees assigned to a charter school shall receive the same employment benefits as such personnel assigned to noncharter schools. Professional, licensed personnel who request assignment to a noncharter school or who are not recommended for reassignment in the public charter school, other than for reasons cited in § 22.1-307, as amended, of the Code of Virginia, shall be transferred to a noncharter school according to School Board Policy.

    The School Board has the final authority to assign professional, licensed personnel to a public charter school or other schools within the School Division as provided in Virginia Code §§ 22.1-293 and 22.1-295, as amended.

  11. Funding

    Public charter schools shall be funded as provided by law and negotiated in the charter contract. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the proportionate share of state and federal resources allocated for students with disabilities and school personnel assigned to special education programs shall be directed to the public charter school enrolling such students. The proportionate share of moneys allocated under other federal or state categorical aid programs shall be directed to the public charter school serving students eligible for such aid.

    Any services for which the public charter school contracts with the School Board shall not exceed the School Division’s costs to provide such services. A public charter school shall not be required to pay rent for space which is deemed available, as negotiated by contract, in School Division facilities. Funding and service agreements between the School Board and the public charter school shall not provide a financial incentive or constitute a financial disincentive to the establishment of the public charter school. Any educational and related fees collected from students enrolled at the public charter school shall be credited to the account of such public charter school established by the relevant School Board. Any educational and related fees collected from students enrolled at the public charter school shall be credited to the account of the public charter school as established by the School Board. Students attending the public charter school may not be charged tuition.

    The management committee of a public charter school may accept gifts, donations, or grants of any kind made to the charter school and may spend such funds in accordance with the conditions prescribed by the donor. However, no gift, donation, or grant shall be accepted by the management committee of a public charter school if the conditions for such funds are contrary to law or the charter contract.

  12. Fiscal Management

    Each public charter school will be required to utilize a Chart of Accounts designated by the School Division. Financial information and reporting will be required to conform to Generally Accepted Accounting Procedures and Governmental Accounting and Financial Reporting Standards. Each public charter school will be required to provide a monthly financial statement in the format designated by the School Division's Chief Financial Officer or the Director of Business Services. Monthly financial information shall be provided no later than the 20th for the following month.

    The monthly financial information will consist of the following:

    1. Bank reconciliation for all accounts;
    2. Federal and state payroll reports;
    3. Any required state filings for sales tax or other required reports;
    4. Listing of all checks written during the month;
    5. Listing of all payables and receivables at the end of the month;
    6. Monthly and year‑to‑date expenditure reports;
    7. Monthly and year‑to‑date revenue reports;
    8. Monthly and year‑to‑date attendance and projected March 31 ADM;
    9. Balance sheet;
    10. Position control information comparing budgeted positions to allocated and staffed positions; and
    11. Other reports as may be requested from time to time by the School Board, the Chief Financial Officer or the Director of Business Services.

    Each public charter school will be required to provide a proposed Annual Operating Budget to the Department of Budget and Finance prior to the submission of the Superintendent’s Proposed Operating Budget. The budget shall be in the form and manner prescribed by the Department of Budget and Finance and shall be submitted no later than December 1 for the ensuing fiscal year.

    Each public charter school will be required to provide the School Division with an audited financial statement prepared by a Certified Public Accountant acceptable to the School Board for each year of operation. The audited financial statement shall be provided no later than September 30 for the preceding fiscal year.

  13. Public Charter School Reporting Requirements

    Public charter schools are required to report to the School Board with the same frequency and in same format as other School Division schools on fiscal matters, student progress, and any other student issues.

  14. Public Charter School Contract Renewal

    A public charter school contract may be renewed for up to five years at the discretion of the School Board. The management committee must apply to renew a charter by October 1 of the school year in which the charter expires.

    A public charter school renewal application shall contain, but shall not be limited to:

    1. A report on the progress of the public charter school in achieving the goals, objectives, program, and performance standards for students and any other terms and conditions agreed to in the charter contract;
    2. A financial statement, on forms prescribed by the Virginia Board of Education, that discloses the costs of administration, instruction, and other spending categories for the public charter school and that has been concisely and clearly written to enable the School Board and the public to compare such costs to those of other schools or comparable organizations; and
    3. Any other information required by the School Board in its application for renewal.

    If the charter is not renewed or the public charter school is dissolved, the management committee is responsible for all financial, contractual, and other obligations of the public charter school. A public charter school may petition for reconsideration of the School Board’s decision not to renew a charter contract within sixty (60) calendar days of the decision not to renew. The School Board will follow the process for reconsideration set forth in Section F of this Policy.

  15. Charter Contract Revocation

    The School Board may revoke a charter contract if:

    1. The public charter school violates the conditions, standards, or procedures established in the public charter school application;
    2. The public charter school fails to meet or make reasonable progress toward achievement of the content standards or student performance identified in the charter contract;
    3. The public charter school fails to meet generally accepted standards of fiscal management;
    4. The public charter school, violates any provision of law from which it was not specifically exempted;
    5. The public charter school violates a material term of the charter contract; or
    6. The School Board determines that it is not in the public interest or the welfare of the students within the School Division to continue the operation of the public charter school.

    A public charter school may petition for reconsideration of the School Board’s decision to revoke a charter contract within sixty (60) calendar days of the decision to revoke. The School Board will follow the process for reconsideration set forth in Section F.

    If a charter contract is revoked, the management committee shall be responsible for all financial, contractual, and other obligations of the public charter school.

  16. School Board Reporting Requirements

    The School Board shall make the following reports to the Virginia Board of Education:

    1. If the School Board grants a public charter school application such action shall be reported to the Board of Education. This report shall specify the maximum amount of charters that may be authorized, if any; the number of charters granted; and whether a public charter school is designed to increase the educational opportunities of at-risk pupils;
    2. The School Board shall submit an annual evaluation of each public charter school to the Virginia Board of Education;
    3. The School Board shall submit an annual report comparing the performance of public charter school students and students enrolled in the regular schools of the School Division; and
    4. The School Board shall submit a report of the number of students enrolled in each public charter school at the end of the school year.

Code of Virginia § 22.1-3, as amended. Persons to whom public schools shall be free.

Code of Virginia § 22.1-212.5- 22.1-212.16, as amended. Establishment of Charter Schools.

Code of Virginia § 22.1-307, as amended. Dismissal of teacher; grounds.

Code of Virginia § 22.1-293, as amended. School boards authorized to employ principals and assistant principals, license required; powers and duties.

Code of Virginia § 22.1-295, as amended. Employment of teachers.

Code of Virginia § 22.1-253.13:1, et seq., as amended.Standard 1. Instructional programs supporting the Standards of Learning and other educational objectives.

Virginia Board of Education Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia, 8 VAC 20-131-10, et seq., as amended.

Adopted by School Board: December 1, 1998
Adopted by School Board: November 21, 2000
Amended by School Board: February 5, 2008
Amended by School Board: March 15, 2011
Amended by School Board: August 20, 2013
Amended by School Board: August 19, 2014