Presentation, Charter School Legal Issues


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July 15, 2010 Charter School Application Workshop, sponsored by Arkansas Department of Education Charter School Office

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Presentation, Charter School Legal Issues

  1. 1. Charter School Legal Issues Arkansas Department of Education New Charter Application Workshop July 15, 2010
  2. 2. Three Key Principles <ul><li>Be careful what you promise. </li></ul> Ask not, receive not.  Ignorance of the law is no excuse.
  3. 3. Be careful what you promise. CHARTER FOR OPEN-ENROLLMENT SCHOOL WHEREAS, Lighthouse Academies of Arkansas (hereinafter “Petitioner”) has petitioned the Arkansas State Board of Education (hereinafter “State Board”) to operate Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter School, grade levels K-12 with a maximum enrollment of 650 students, to be located in the Pulaski County Special School District of Pulaski County, as an Open-Enrollment Public Charter School, said petition being attached hereto as Exhibit A and incorporated herein by reference; WHEREAS, the State Board has determined that the petition meets the requirements set forth in Act 890 of 1999 (now codified as Ark.Code Ann. § 6-23-101 et seq.). WHEREAS, Petitioner and State Board agree that all duties and operation of Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter School, will be performed pursuant to the terms and conditions detailed in the charter petition attached as Exhibit A, Act 890 of 1999, the Arkansas Department of Education Rules and Regulations Governing Charter Schools, and the legal comments attached to this Charter as Exhibit B and incorporated herein by reference. NOW THEREFORE, pursuant to Act 890 of 1999, the State Board grants this charter to Petitioner for a period of five years, to expire on the 30th day of June 2013, to permit Petitioner to operate in accord
  4. 4. Be careful what you promise.
  5. 5. Charter Amendments “ Any revision or amendment of the charter for a public charter school may be made only with the approval of the state board.” Ark. Code Ann. § 6-23-104 (b).
  6. 6. Charter Compliance “ The State Board of Education may place a public charter school on probation or may modify, revoke, or deny renewal of its charter if … the persons operating the public charter school … [c]ommitted a material violation of the charter, including failure to satisfy accountability provisions prescribed by the charter.” Ark. Code Ann. § 6-23-104 (b).
  7. 7. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.
  8. 8. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.
  9. 9. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.
  10. 10. Laws to Obey <ul><li>Admissions criteria & priorities </li></ul><ul><li> Ark. Code Ann. § 6-23-306 (14) </li></ul><ul><li>Finance & Budget </li></ul><ul><li> Ark. Code Ann. § 6-20-2201 et seq. </li></ul><ul><li>Purchasing & Bidding </li></ul><ul><li> Ark. Code Ann. § 6-21-301 et seq. </li></ul><ul><li>Annual Audits </li></ul><ul><li> Ark. Code Ann. §§ 6-1-101, 6-23-403 </li></ul><ul><li>Reports </li></ul>
  11. 11. Laws to Obey <ul><li>Specific to Charter Schools: </li></ul><ul><li>Annual Progress Report </li></ul><ul><li> Ark. Code Ann. § 6-23-303 (4) </li></ul><ul><li>Debt Review & Approval </li></ul><ul><li> Ark. Code Ann. § 6-23-401 (a)(5) </li></ul><ul><li>Lease Review & Approval </li></ul><ul><li> Ark. Code Ann. § 6-23-302 (5) </li></ul>
  12. 12. Laws to Obey “ No indebtedness of any kind incurred or created by the open-enrollment public charter school shall constitute an indebtedness of the state or its political subdivisions, and no indebtedness of the open-enrollment public charter school shall involve or be secured by the faith, credit, or taxing power of the state or its political subdivisions ” Ark. Code Ann. § 6-23-503 (b)(1)
  13. 13. Laws to Obey <ul><li>Special Situations: </li></ul><ul><li>Distance Learning </li></ul><ul><li> Ark. Code Ann. § 6-47-406 </li></ul><ul><li> Act 77 of 2 nd Ex. Session of 2003 </li></ul><ul><li>Sectarian Organizations </li></ul><ul><li>“ An open-enrollment public charter school may not use the moneys that it receives from the state for any sectarian program or activity.” </li></ul><ul><li> Ark. Code Ann. § 6-23-503. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Ask Not, Receive Not. “ The application shall … [l]ist the specific provisions of this title and the specific rules and regulations promulgated by the state board from which the open-enrollment public charter school seeks to be exempted.” Ark. Code Ann. § 6-23-302 (c)(4).
  15. 15. Ask Not, Receive Not. Laws outside of Title 6 of the Arkansas Code  Laws that specify charter schools  Ethics laws regarding nepotism and self-dealing
  16. 16. Ask Not, Receive Not. <ul><li>Ark. Code Ann. § 6-23-401 (b): </li></ul><ul><li>Monitoring Compliance </li></ul><ul><li>Special Education Programs </li></ul><ul><li>Health & Safety Codes </li></ul><ul><li>Criminal Background Checks </li></ul><ul><li> (Ark. Code Ann. § 6-17-411 & 414) </li></ul>
  17. 17. Ask Not, Receive Not. <ul><li>Ark. Code Ann. § 6-23-401 (b): </li></ul><ul><li>High School Graduation Requirements </li></ul><ul><li>Public School Accountability </li></ul>
  18. 18. Ethical Prohibitions Rules Governing Ethical Guidelines 4.01: “No board member, administrator, or employee of a public educational entity shall knowingly use or attempt to use his/her official position to secure unwarranted privileges or exemptions for himself/herself or others.”
  19. 19. School cannot contract with: <ul><li>School employees </li></ul><ul><li>Administrators or their family members </li></ul><ul><li>Board members or their family members </li></ul><ul><li> Ark. Code Ann. § 6-24-101 et seq. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Thank you for attending! <ul><li>Mark White </li></ul><ul><li>Staff Attorney, Ark. Dept. Of Education </li></ul><ul><li>(501) 682-4227 </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>