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H.R. 2616 (105th): Charter School Expansion Act of 1998


The text of the bill below is as of Oct 6, 1997 (Introduced).


HR 2616 IH

105th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 2616

To amend titles VI and X of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to improve and expand charter schools.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

October 6, 1997

Mr. RIGGS introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce


A BILL

To amend titles VI and X of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to improve and expand charter schools.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Charter Schools Amendments Act of 1997’.

SEC 2. INNOVATIVE CHARTER SCHOOLS.

    (a) Title VI of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7301 et seq.) is amended--

      (1) in section 6201(a)--

        (A) in paragraph (1)(C), by striking ‘and’ after the semicolon;

        (B) by redesignating paragraph (2) as paragraph (3); and

        (C) by inserting after paragraph (1) the following:

      ‘(2) support for planning, designing, and initial implementation of charter schools as described in part C of title X; and’; and

      (2) in section 6301(b)--

        (A) in paragraph (7), by striking ‘and’ after the semicolon;

        (B) by redesignating paragraph (8) as paragraph (9); and

        (C) by inserting after paragraph (7) the following:

      ‘(8) planning, designing, and initial implementation of charter schools as described in part C of title X; and’.

SEC. 3. CHARTER SCHOOLS.

    Part C of title X of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 is amended to read as follows:

‘PART C--PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOLS

‘SEC. 10301. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

    ‘(a) FINDINGS- The Congress finds that--

      ‘(1) enhancement of parent and student choices among public schools can assist in promoting comprehensive educational reform and give more students the opportunity to learn to challenging State content standards and challenging State student performance standards, if sufficiently diverse and high-quality choices, and genuine opportunities to take advantage of such choices, are available to all students;

      ‘(2) useful examples of such choices can come from States and communities that experiment with methods of offering teachers and other educators, parents, and other members of the public the opportunity to design and implement new public schools and to transform existing public schools;

      ‘(3) charter schools are a mechanism for testing a variety of educational approaches and should, therefore, be exempted from restrictive rules and regulations if the leadership of such schools commits to attaining specific and ambitious educational results for educationally disadvantaged students consistent with challenging State content standards and challenging State student performance standards for all students;

      ‘(4) charter schools, as such schools have been implemented in a few States, can embody the necessary mixture of enhanced choice, exemption from restrictive regulations, and a focus on learning gains;

      ‘(5) charter schools, including charter schools that are schools-within-schools, can help reduce school size, which reduction can have a significant effect on student achievement;

      ‘(6) the Federal Government should test, evaluate, and disseminate information on a variety of charter school models in order to help demonstrate the benefits of this promising educational reform; and

      ‘(7) there is a strong documented need for cash-flow assistance to charter schools that are starting up, because State and local operating revenue streams are not immediately available.

    ‘(b) PURPOSES- The purposes of this part are--

      ‘(1) to provide financial assistance for the planning, design, initial implementation of charter schools; and

      ‘(2) to facilitate the ability of States and localities to increase the number of charter schools in the Nation to not less than 3,000 by the year 2000.

‘SEC. 10302. PROGRAM AUTHORIZED.

    ‘(a) IN GENERAL- The Secretary may award grants to State educational agencies having applications approved pursuant to section 10303 to enable such agencies to conduct a charter school grant program in accordance with this part.

    ‘(b) SPECIAL RULE- If a State educational agency elects not to participate in the program authorized by this part or does not have an application approved under section 10303, the Secretary may award a grant to an eligible applicant that serves such State and has an application approved pursuant to section 10303.

    ‘(c) PROGRAM PERIODS-

      ‘(1) GRANTS TO STATES-

        ‘(A) INITIAL GRANTS- Grants awarded to State educational agencies under this part for planning, design, or initial implementation of charter schools, shall be awarded for a period of not more than 5 years.

        ‘(B) EXTENSION- Any eligible applicant that has received a grant or subgrant under this part prior to October 1, 1997, shall be eligible to receive an additional grant for a period not to exceed 2 years in accordance with this section.

      ‘(2) GRANTS TO ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS-

        ‘(A) INITIAL GRANTS- Grants awarded by the Secretary to eligible applicants or subgrants awarded by State educational agencies to eligible applicants under this part shall be awarded for planning, design, or initial implementation of charter schools, for a period of not to exceed more than 5 years, of which the eligible applicant may use--

          ‘(i) not more than 2.5 years for planning and program design; and

          ‘(ii) not more than 4 years for the initial implementation of a charter school.

        ‘(B) EXTENSION- Any eligible applicant that has received a grant of subgrant under this part prior to October 1, 1997, shall be eligible to receive an additional grant for a period not to exceed 2 years in accordance with this section.

    ‘(d) LIMITATION- The Secretary shall not award more than one grant and State educational agencies shall not award more than one subgrant under this part to support a particular charter school.

    ‘(e) PRIORITY AND REQUIREMENTS-

      ‘(1) PRIORITY-

        ‘(A) FISCAL YEARS 1998, 1999, AND 2000- In awarding grants under this part for any of the fiscal years 1998, 1999, and 2000 from funds appropriated under section 10310 that are in excess of $51,000,000 for the fiscal year, the Secretary shall give priority to State educational agencies in accordance with subparagraph (C).

        ‘(B) SUCCEEDING FISCAL YEARS- In awarding grants under this part for fiscal year 2001 or any succeeding fiscal year from any funds appropriated under section 10310, the Secretary shall consider the number of charter schools in such State and shall give priority to State educational agencies in accordance with subparagraph (C).

        ‘(C) PRIORITY ORDER- In awarding grants under subparagraphs A and B, the Secretary shall, in the order listed, give priority to a State that--

          ‘(i) meets all requirements of paragraph (2);

          ‘(ii) meets 2 requirements of paragraph (2); and

          ‘(iii) meets 1 requirement of paragraph (2).

      ‘(2) REQUIREMENTS- The requirements referred to in paragraph (1)(C) are as follows:

        ‘(A) The State law regarding charter schools provides that for the purposes of allotting funds by formula for Federal education programs each charter school is treated in a fiscally autonomous manner;

        ‘(B) The State law regarding charter schools provides that not less than 1 chartering authority in the State allows for an increase in

the number of charter schools from 1 year to the next year; and

        ‘(C) The State law regarding charter schools provides for periodic review and evaluation by the authorized public chartering agency of each charter school to determine whether the school is meeting or exceeding the academic performance requirements and goals for charter schools as set forth under State law or the school’s charter.

‘SEC. 10303. APPLICATIONS.

    ‘(a) APPLICATIONS FROM STATE AGENCIES- Each State educational agency desiring a grant from the Secretary under this part shall submit to the Secretary an application at such time, in such manner, and containing or accompanied by such information as the Secretary may require.

    ‘(b) CONTENTS OF A STATE EDUCATIONAL AGENCY APPLICATION- Each application submitted pursuant to subsection (a) shall--

      ‘(1) describe the objectives of the State educational agency’s charter school grant program and a description of how such objectives will be fulfilled, including steps taken by the State educational agency to inform teachers, parents, and communities of the State educational agency’s charter school grant program;

      ‘(2) describe how the State educational agency will inform each charter school of available Federal programs and funds that each such school is eligible to receive and ensure that each such school receives its commensurate share of Federal education funds allocated by formula; and

      ‘(3) contain assurances that the State educational agency will require each eligible applicant desiring to receive a subgrant to submit an application to the State educational agency containing--

        ‘(A) a description of the educational program to be implemented by the proposed charter school, including--

          ‘(i) how the program will enable all students to meet challenging State student performance standards;

          ‘(ii) the grade levels or ages of children to be served; and

          ‘(iii) the curriculum and instructional practices to be used;

        ‘(B) a description of how the charter school will be managed;

        ‘(C) a description of--

          ‘(i) the objectives of the charter school; and

          ‘(ii) the methods by which the charter school will determine its progress toward achieving those objectives;

        ‘(D) a description of the administrative relationship between the charter school and the authorized public chartering agency;

        ‘(E) a description of how parents and other members of the community will be involved in the design and implementation of the charter school;

        ‘(F) a description of how the authorized public chartering agency will provide for continued operation of the school once the Federal grant has expired, if such agency determines that the school has met the objectives described in subparagraph (C)(i);

        ‘(G) a request and justification for waivers of any Federal statutory or regulatory provisions that the applicant believes are necessary for the successful operation of the charter school, and a description of any State or local rules, generally applicable to public schools, that will be waived for, or otherwise not apply to, the school;

        ‘(H) a description of how the subgrant funds or grant funds, as appropriate, will be used, including a description of how such funds will be used in conjunction with other Federal programs administered by the Secretary;

        ‘(I) a description of how students in the community will be--

          ‘(i) informed about the charter school; and

          ‘(ii) given an equal opportunity to attend the charter school;

        ‘(J) an assurance that the eligible applicant will annually provide the Secretary and the State educational agency such information as may be required to determine if the charter school is making satisfactory progress toward achieving the objectives described in subparagraph (C)(i);

        ‘(K) an assurance that the applicant will cooperate with the Secretary and the State educational agency in evaluating the program assisted under this part; and

        ‘(L) such other information and assurances as the Secretary and the State educational agency may require.

    ‘(c) CONTENTS OF ELIGIBLE APPLICANT APPLICATION- Each eligible applicant desiring a grant pursuant to section 10302 shall submit an application to the State educational agency or Secretary, respectively, at such time, in such manner, and accompanied by such information as the State educational agency or Secretary, respectively, may reasonably require.

    ‘(d) CONTENTS OF APPLICATION- Each application submitted pursuant to subsection (c) shall contain--

      ‘(1) the information and assurances described in subparagraphs (A) through (L) of subsection (b)(4), except that for purposes of this subsection subparagraphs (J), (K), and (L) of such subsection shall be applied by striking ‘and the State educational agency’ each place such term appears; and

      ‘(2) assurances that the State educational agency--

        ‘(A) will grant, or will obtain, waivers of State statutory or regulatory requirements; and

        ‘(B) will assist each subgrantee in the State in receiving a waiver under section 10304(e).

‘SEC. 10304. ADMINISTRATION.

    ‘(a) SELECTION CRITERIA FOR STATE EDUCATIONAL AGENCIES- The Secretary shall award grants to State educational agencies under this part on the basis of the quality of the applications submitted under section 10303(b), after taking into consideration such factors as--

      ‘(1) the contribution that the charter schools grant program will make to assisting educationally disadvantaged and other students to achieving State content standards and State student performance standards and, in general, a State’s education improvement plan;

      ‘(2) the degree of flexibility afforded by the State educational agency to charter schools under the State’s charter schools law;

      ‘(3) the ambitiousness of the objectives for the State charter school grant program;

      ‘(4) the quality of the strategy for assessing achievement of those objectives;

      ‘(5) the likelihood that the charter school grant program will meet those objectives and improve educational results for students; and

      ‘(6) the number of charter schools created under this part in the State.

    ‘(b) SELECTION CRITERIA FOR ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS- The Secretary shall award grants to eligible applicants under this part on the basis of the quality of the applications submitted under section 10303(c), after taking into consideration such factors as--

      (1) the quality of the proposed curriculum and instructional practices;

      ‘(2) the degree of flexibility afforded by the State educational agency and, if applicable, the local educational agency to the charter school;

      ‘(3) the extent of community support for the application;

      ‘(4) the ambitiousness of the objectives for the charter school;

      ‘(5) the quality of the strategy for assessing achievement of those objectives; and

      ‘(6) the likelihood that the charter school will meet those objectives and improve educational results for students.

    ‘(c) PEER REVIEW- The Secretary, and each State educational agency receiving a grant under this part, shall use a peer review process to review applications for assistance under this part.

    ‘(d) DIVERSITY OF PROJECTS- The Secretary and each State educational agency receiving a grant under this part, shall award subgrants under this part in a manner that, to the extent possible, ensures that such grants and subgrants--

      ‘(1) are distributed throughout different areas of the Nation and each State, including urban and rural areas; and

      ‘(2) will assist charter schools representing a variety of educational approaches, such as approaches designed to reduce school size.

    ‘(e) WAIVERS- The Secretary may waive any statutory or regulatory requirement over which the Secretary exercises administrative authority except any such requirement relating to the elements of a charter school described in section 10306(1), if--

      ‘(1) the waiver is requested in an approved application under this part; and

      ‘(2) the Secretary determines that granting such a waiver will promote the purpose of this part.

    ‘(f) USE OF FUNDS-

      ‘(1) STATE EDUCATIONAL AGENCIES- Each State educational agency receiving a grant under this part shall use such grant funds to award subgrants to one or more eligible applicants in the State to enable such applicant to plan and implement a charter school in accordance with this part.

      ‘(2) ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS- Each eligible applicant receiving funds from the Secretary or a State educational agency shall use such funds to plan and implement a charter school in accordance with this part.

      ‘(3) ALLOWABLE ACTIVITIES FOR INITIAL GRANTS- An eligible applicant receiving an initial grant or subgrant under section 10302(c)(2)(A) may use the grant or subgrant funds only for--

        ‘(A) post-award planning and design of the educational program, which may include--

          ‘(i) refinement of the desired educational results and of the methods for measuring progress toward achieving those results; and

          ‘(ii) professional development of teachers and other staff who will work in the charter school; and

        ‘(B) initial implementation of the charter school, which may include--

          ‘(i) informing the community about the school;

          ‘(ii) acquiring necessary equipment and educational materials and supplies;

          ‘(iii) acquiring or developing curriculum materials; and

          ‘(iv) other initial operational costs that cannot be met from State or local sources.

      ‘(4) ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES- Each State educational agency receiving a grant pursuant to this part may reserve not more than 5 percent of such grant funds for administrative expenses associated with the charter school grant program assisted under this part.

‘SEC. 10305. NATIONAL ACTIVITIES.

    ‘The Secretary shall reserve for each fiscal year the lesser of 5 percent of the amount appropriated to carry out this part for the fiscal year or $5,000,000, to carry out, giving highest priority to carrying paragraph (2), the following:

      ‘(1) To provide charter schools, either directly or through the State educational agency, with information regarding available education funds that such school is eligible to receive, and assistance in applying for Federal education funds which are allocated by formula, including filing deadlines and submission of applications; and

      ‘(2) To provide, through 1 or more contracts using a competitive bidding process--

        ‘(i) charter schools with assistance in accessing private capital;

        ‘(ii) pilot projects in a variety of States to better understand and improve access to private capital by charter schools; and

        ‘(iii) collection on a nationwide basis, of information regarding successful programs that access private capital for charter schools and disseminate any such relevant information and model descriptions to all charter schools.

      ‘(3) To provide for the completion of the 4-year national study (which began in 1995) of charter schools and any related evaluations or studies.

      ‘(4)(A) To provide information to applicants for assistance under this part;

      ‘(B) assistance to applicants for assistance under this part with the preparation of applications under section 10303;

      ‘(C) assistance in the planning and startup of charter schools;

      ‘(D) ongoing training and technical assistance to existing charter schools; and

      ‘(E) for the dissemination of best practices in charter schools to other public schools.

‘SEC. 10306. PART A, TITLE I ALLOCATION DURING FIRST YEAR AND FOR SUCCESSIVE ENROLLMENT EXPANSIONS.

    ‘For purposes of the allocation to schools by the states or their agencies of funds under part A of title I, or of any other Federal educational assistance funds, the Secretary shall take such measures not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this part as are necessary to ensure that every charter school receives

its full share of funding in the calendar year in which it first opens, notwithstanding the fact that the identity and characteristics of the students enrolling in that school are not fully and completely determined until that school actually opens. These measures shall similarly ensure that every charter school expanding its enrollment in any subsequent year of operation receives its full share of funding during the calendar year of such expansion.

‘SEC. 10307. RECORDS TRANSFER.

    ‘State and local educational agencies, to the extent practicable, shall ensure that a student’s records and if applicable a student’s individualized education program as defined in section 602(11) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1401(11)), are transferred to the charter school upon transfer of a student to a charter school in accordance with applicable State law.

‘SEC. 10308. PAPERWORK REDUCTION.

    ‘To the extent practicable, the Secretary and each authorized public chartering agency, shall ensure that implementation of this part results in a minimum of paperwork for any eligible applicant or charter school.

‘SEC. 10309. DEFINITIONS.

    ‘As used in this part:

      ‘(1) The term ‘charter school’ means a public school that--

        ‘(A) in accordance with a specific State charter school statute, is exempted from significant State or local rules that inhibit the flexible operation and management of public schools, but not from any rules relating to the other requirements of this paragraph;

        ‘(B) is created by a developer as a public school, or is adapted by a developer from an existing public school, and is operated under public supervision and direction;

        ‘(C) operates in pursuit of a specific set of educational objectives determined by the school’s developer and agreed to by the authorized public chartering agency;

        ‘(D) provides a program of elementary or secondary education, or both;

        ‘(E) is nonsectarian in its programs, admissions policies, employment practices, and all other operations, and is not affiliated with a sectarian school or religious institution;

        ‘(F) does not charge tuition;

        ‘(G) complies with the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, 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, and part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act;

        ‘(H) is a school to which parents choose to send their children, and that admits students on the basis of a lottery, if more students apply for admission than can be accommodated;

        ‘(I) agrees to comply with the same Federal and State audit requirements as do other elementary and secondary schools in the State, unless such requirements are specifically waived for the purpose of this program;

        ‘(J) meets all applicable Federal, State, and local health and safety requirements;

        ‘(K) operates in accordance with State law; and

        ‘(L) has a written performance contract with the authorized public chartering agency in the State.

      ‘(2) The term ‘developer’ means an individual or group of individuals (including a public or private nonprofit organization), which may include teachers, administrators and other school staff, parents, or other members of the local community in which a charter school project will be carried out.

      ‘(3) The term ‘eligible applicant’ means an authorized public chartering agency participating in a partnership with a developer to establish a charter school in accordance with this part.

      ‘(4) The term ‘authorized public chartering agency’ means a State educational agency, local educational agency, or other public entity that has the authority pursuant to State law and approved by the Secretary to authorize or approve a charter school.

‘SEC. 10310. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    ‘For the purpose of carrying out this part, there are authorized to be appropriated $100,000,000 for fiscal year 1998 and such sums as may be necessary for each of the four succeeding fiscal years.’.