SB 455 - This act creates numerous revisions to laws concerning charter schools.
SECTION 160.400 - Current law states that charter schools are independent, publically supported schools. This act alters the aforementioned statement to read that charter schools are independent, public schools.
The act expands the list of possible locations where Charter schools may be operated to include large school districts that have been designated as either provisionally accredited or unaccredited. Also, charter schools may be operated in the currently authorized territories, even if the existing school district no longer exists or includes that territory.
The act clarifies that charter schools may be sponsored by any public 4-year college or university with an approved teacher preparation program. The act alters the provision concerning school buildings owned or controlled by a school district in which charter schools may be established. The act caps expenses associated with sponsorship of a charter School to three percent.
Prior to granting or renewing a charter, sponsors must complete criminal background checks on the members of the Board of Directors applying to establish a charter school. No member of a charter school board may be employed by the charter school nor have substantial interest in any entity employed by or contracting with the board.
The act requires timely submission of data required by the State Board of Education.
SECTION 160.405 - This section revises the procedure and time line for chartering a school. A charter school proponent shall provide the local school district and the State Board of Education with copies of the charter school application within five days of submitting the application to the proposed sponsor. The sponsor's decision of approval or denial must be made within 90 days of filing the proposed charter (rather than the current 60); if the charter is denied, written notice must be served on the State Board of Education within five days. The State Board has 90 days to deny or grant a proposed charter and shall provide reasons for denial in writing.
Charter schools are required to publish audits and financial reports. Charter schools may publish audit reports and annual financial reports via the internet on the secretary of state's website in lieu of other publishing requirements. A charter may be revoked for failure to provide necessary compliance information, or the sponsor may require specified remedial action of the school.
SECTION 160.410 - Charter schools must make available the charter, the results of background checks, and the public report card to the parent of guardian of any pupil eligible to seek to enroll at the school. Reasonable fees may be charged for such copies.
SECTION 160.415 - This section includes provisions relating to Charter schools becoming local education agencies and includes alterations regarding the payment mechanism to charter schools. If DESE overpays or underpays the amount due the charter school, such over or under payment shall be repaid by the public charter school or credited to the public charter school in twelve equal payments in the next fiscal year. Any dispute between DESE, the school district, and a charter school regarding funding shall be resolved by the administrative hearing commission, with the option of judicial review. If a dispute should occur, DESE is mandated to make every administrative and statutory effort to allow the continued education of children in their current public charter school educational setting and not take action which prevents (either directly or indirectly) the continued operation of a charter school. Further, DESE is forbidden to make an arbitrary and capricious decision which negatively impacts the education of a child.
SECTION 160.420 - This section allows district teachers employed in charter schools to retain tenure status and seniority rights for three years. Charter schools are permitted to hire non-certificated administrators.
SECTION 167.349 - This section allows any campus of the state university located in a county of the third classification (University of Missouri-Rolla) to sponsor charter schools.