S. 1566 (112th): Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act

112th Congress, 2011–2013. Text as of Sep 15, 2011 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

II

112th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 1566

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

September 15, 2011

(for himself, Mr. Alexander, Mr. Burr, Mr. Isakson, Mr. McCain, Mr. Roberts, Mr. Rubio, and Mr. Wicker) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

A BILL

To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 regarding public charter schools.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act.

2.

References

Except as otherwise specifically provided, whenever in this Act a section or other provision is amended or repealed, such amendment or repeal shall be considered to be made to that section or other provision of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq.).

3.

Purpose

Section 5201 (20 U.S.C. 7221) is amended to read as follows:

5201.

Purpose

It is the purpose of this subpart to—

(1)

provide financial assistance for the planning, program design, and initial implementation of charter schools;

(2)

expand the number of high-quality charter schools available to students across the Nation;

(3)

evaluate the impact of such schools on student achievement, families, and communities, and share best practices between charter schools and other public schools;

(4)

encourage States to provide support to charter schools for facilities financing in an amount more nearly commensurate to the amount the States have typically provided for traditional public schools;

(5)

improve student services to increase opportunities for students who are children with disabilities, English language learners, and other traditionally underserved students to attend charter schools and meet challenging State academic achievement standards; and

(6)

support efforts to strengthen the charter school authorizing process to improve performance management, including transparency, monitoring, and evaluation of such schools.

.

4.

Program authorized

Section 5202 (20 U.S.C. 7221a) is amended to read as follows:

5202.

Program authorized

(a)

In general

The Secretary is authorized to carry out a charter school program that supports charter schools that serve elementary school and secondary school students by—

(1)

supporting the startup, replication, and expansion of charter schools;

(2)

assisting charter schools in accessing credit to acquire and renovate facilities for school use; and

(3)

carrying out national activities to support—

(A)

charter school development;

(B)

the dissemination of best practices of charter schools for all schools; and

(C)

the evaluation of the impact of the program on schools participating in the program.

(b)

Funding Allotment

From the amount made available under section 5211 for a fiscal year, the Secretary shall—

(1)

reserve 15 percent to support charter school facilities assistance under section 5204;

(2)

reserve not more than 5 percent to carry out national activities under section 5205; and

(3)

use the remaining amount after the Secretary reserves funds under paragraphs (1) and (2) to carry out section 5203.

(c)

Prior grants and subgrants

The recipient of a grant or subgrant under this subpart, as such subpart was in effect on the day before the date of enactment of the Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act, shall continue to receive funds in accordance with the terms and conditions of such grant or subgrant.

.

5.

Grants to support high-quality charter schools

Section 5203 (20 U.S.C. 7221b) is amended to read as follows:

5203.

Grants to support high-quality charter schools

(a)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

Charter management organization

The term charter management organization means a nonprofit organization that operates, manages, or oversees multiple charter schools by centralizing or sharing certain functions and resources among schools, or a group or consortium of such organizations.

(2)

Eligible entity

The term eligible entity means—

(A)

a State entity;

(B)

an authorized public chartering agency;

(C)

a local educational agency; or

(D)

a charter management organization.

(3)

State entity

The term State entity means—

(A)

a State educational agency;

(B)

a State charter school board; or

(C)

a Governor of a State.

(b)

Program authorized

From the amount reserved under section 5202(b)(3), the Secretary shall award grants, on a competitive basis, to eligible entities to enable—

(1)

eligible entities described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of subsection (a)(2) to—

(A)

award subgrants to eligible applicants—

(i)

to open new charter schools;

(ii)

to open replicable, high-quality charter school models; or

(iii)

to expand high-quality charter schools; and

(B)

provide technical assistance to eligible applicants and authorized public chartering agencies in carrying out the activities described in subparagraph (A) and work with authorized public chartering agencies in the State to improve authorizing quality; or

(2)

eligible entities described in subparagraph (B), (C), or (D) of subsection (a)(2) to open new charter schools or replicable high-quality charter school models or to expand high-quality charter schools.

(c)

Uses of funds

(1)

Special rule for subgranting entities

An eligible entity receiving a grant under subsection (b)(1) shall—

(A)

use 90 percent of the grant funds to carry out subsection (b)(1)(A), in accordance with the quality charter school program described in the entity’s application approved pursuant to subsection (g); and

(B)

reserve 10 percent of such funds to carry out the activities described in subsection (b)(1)(B), of which not more than 30 percent may be used for administrative costs which may include technical assistance.

(2)

Contracts and grants

An eligible entity may use a grant received under this section to carry out the activities described in subsection (b) directly or through grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements.

(d)

Program periods; peer review; diversity of projects

(1)

Program periods

(A)

Grants

A grant awarded by the Secretary to an eligible entity under this section shall be for a period of 5 years.

(B)

Subgrants

A subgrant awarded by an eligible entity under this section shall be for a period of not more than 5 years, of which an eligible applicant may use not more than 18 months for planning and program design.

(2)

Peer Review

The Secretary, and each eligible entity awarding subgrants under this section, shall use a peer review process to review applications for assistance under this section.

(3)

Diversity of Projects

Each eligible entity awarding subgrants under this section shall award subgrants in a manner that, to the extent practicable and applicable, ensures that such subgrants—

(A)

are distributed throughout different areas, including urban, suburban, and rural areas; and

(B)

will assist charter schools representing a variety of educational approaches.

(e)

Limitations

(1)

Grants

An eligible entity may not receive more than 1 grant under this section for a 5-year period, unless the eligible entity demonstrates to the Secretary that, for each charter school supported under the first grant, the education results, in the areas described in subparagraphs (A) and (D) of section 5210(6), for the students enrolled in the charter school have improved for not less than 3 consecutive years during the grant period.

(2)

Subgrants

An eligible applicant may not receive more than 1 subgrant under this section per charter school for a 5-year period.

(f)

Applications

An eligible entity desiring to receive a grant under this section shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time and in such manner as the Secretary may require. The application shall include the following:

(1)

A description of the entity’s objectives in running a quality charter school program under this section and how the objectives of the program will be carried out, including—

(A)

a description of how the entity will—

(i)

support both new charter school startup and the expansion and replication of high-quality charter school models;

(ii)

will work with charter schools to promote inclusion of all students and support all students once they are enrolled to promote retention;

(iii)

will work with charter schools on recruitment practices, including efforts to engage groups that may otherwise have limited opportunities to participate in charter schools;

(iv)

will share best and promising practices between charter schools and other public schools;

(v)

will ensure the charter schools the eligible entity supports can meet the educational needs of their students, including students who are children with disabilities and English language learners; and

(vi)

will support efforts to increase quality initiatives, including meeting the quality authorizing elements described in paragraph (2)(D)(ii);

(B)

in the case of any eligible entity that will be awarding subgrants under subsection (b)(1)(A), a description of how the entity—

(i)

will inform eligible charter schools, developers, authorized public chartering agencies, and other entities of the availability of funds under the program;

(ii)

will work with eligible applicants to ensure that the applicants access all Federal funds that they are eligible to receive, and help the charter schools supported by the applicants and the students attending the charter schools—

(I)

participate in the Federal programs in which the schools and students are eligible to participate; and

(II)

receive the commensurate share of Federal funds the schools and students are eligible to receive under such programs;

(iii)

will ensure eligible applicants that receive a subgrant under the entity’s program are prepared to continue to operate the charter schools receiving the subgrant funds once the funds have expired;

(iv)

will support charter schools in local educational agencies with large numbers of schools that are required to comply with the requirements of section 1116(b); and

(v)

will carry out the subgrant competition, including—

(I)

a description of the application each eligible applicant desiring to receive a subgrant will submit, which application shall include—

(aa)

a description of the roles and responsibilities of eligible applicants, partner organizations, and management organizations, including the administrative and contractual roles and responsibilities; and

(bb)

a description of the quality controls agreed to between the eligible applicant and the authorized public chartering agency involved, such as a contract or performance agreement, and how a school’s performance on the State’s academic accountability system will be a primary factor for renewal; and

(II)

a description of how the entity will review applications;

(C)

except in the case of an eligible entity described in subsection (a)(3)(A), a description of how the entity—

(i)

will work with the State educational agency and the charter schools in the State to maximize charter school participation in Federal and State programs for charter schools; and

(ii)

will work with the State educational agency to adequately operate the entity’s program under this section, where applicable;

(D)

in the case of an eligible entity that is a State entity, a description of the extent to which the entity—

(i)

is able to meet and carry out the priorities described in subsection (g)(2); and

(ii)

is working to develop or strengthen a cohesive statewide system to support the opening of new charter schools and replicable, high-quality charter school models, and expanding high-quality charter schools; and

(E)

in the case of an entity that partners with an outside organization to carry out the entity’s quality charter school program, in whole or in part, of the roles and responsibilities of this partner.

(2)

Assurances, including a description of how the assurances will be met, that—

(A)

the eligible entity, if awarding subgrants, will—

(i)

consider applications from eligible charter schools, authorized public chartering agencies, charter management organizations, and other entities as applicable under State law; and

(ii)

provide adequate technical assistance to eligible applicants to—

(I)

meet the objectives described in clauses (ii) and (iii) of paragraph (1)(A) and subparagraph (B); and

(II)

enroll traditionally underserved students, including students who are children with disabilities and English language learners, to promote an inclusive education environment;

(B)

each charter school receiving funds under the entity’s program will have a high degree of autonomy over budget and operations;

(C)

the entity will support charter schools in meeting the educational needs of their students as described in paragraph (1)(A)(v);

(D)

in the case of an eligible entity that is a State entity—

(i)

the entity will ensure that the authorized public chartering agency of any charter school that receives funds under the entity’s program—

(I)

ensures that the charter school is meeting the obligations under this Act, part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; and

(II)

adequately monitors and helps the schools in recruiting, enrolling, and meeting the needs of all students, including students who are children with disabilities and English language learners; and

(ii)

the entity will promote quality authorizing, such as through providing technical assistance, to support all authorized public chartering agencies in the State to improve the monitoring of their charter schools, including by—

(I)

using annual performance data, which may include graduation rates and student growth data, as appropriate, to measure the progress of their schools toward becoming high-quality charter schools; and

(II)

reviewing the schools’ independent, annual audits of financial statements conducted in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and ensuring any such audits are publically reported.

(3)

A request and justification for waivers of any Federal statutory or regulatory provisions that the entity believes are necessary for the successful operation of the charter schools that will receive funds under the entity’s program under this section, and a description of any State or local rules, generally applicable to public schools, that will be waived, or otherwise not apply to such schools.

(g)

Selection criteria; priority

(1)

Selection criteria

The Secretary shall award grants to eligible entities under this section on the basis of the quality of the applications submitted under subsection (f), after taking into consideration—

(A)

the degree of flexibility afforded by the State’s public charter school law and, in the case of an eligible entity described in subsection (a)(2)(A), how the entity will work to maximize the flexibility provided to charter schools under the law;

(B)

the quality of the strategy for assessing achievement of the entity's objectives under subsection (f)(1);

(C)

the likelihood that the eligible entity, and any eligible applicants receiving subgrants from the eligible entity, will meet those objectives and improve educational results for students;

(D)

the proposed number of new charter schools to be opened, and the number of high-quality charter schools to be replicated or expanded under the program;

(E)

in the case of an eligible entity awarding subgrants under subsection (b)(1)(A), the entity’s plan to—

(i)

adequately monitor the eligible applicants receiving subgrants under the entity’s program;

(ii)

work with the authorized public chartering agencies involved to avoid duplication of work for the charter schools and authorized public chartering agencies; and

(iii)

provide adequate technical assistance, as described in the entity’s application under subsection (f), for the eligible applicants receiving subgrants under the entity’s program; and

(F)

the entity’s plan to support quality authorizing efforts in the State, consistent with the objectives under subsection (f)(1).

(2)

Priority

In selecting State entities to receive a portion of the grants awarded under this section, the Secretary shall give priority to State entities to the extent that they meet the following criteria:

(A)

In the case in which a State entity is located in a State that allows an entity other than the State educational agency to be an authorized public chartering agency or a State in which only a local educational agency may be an authorized public chartering agency, the State has an appeals process for the denial of an application for a charter school.

(B)

The State entity is located in a State that ensures equitable financing, as compared to traditional public schools, for charter schools and students in a prompt manner.

(C)

The State entity is located in a State that uses charter schools and best practices from charter schools to help improve struggling schools and local educational agencies.

(D)

The State entity partners with an organization that has a demonstrated record of success in developing management organizations to support the development of charter schools in the State.

(E)

The State entity supports charter schools that support at-risk students through activities such as dropout prevention or dropout recovery.

(h)

Local uses of funds

An eligible applicant receiving a subgrant under this section shall use such funds to open new charter schools or replicable, high-quality charter school models, or expand existing high-quality charter schools.

(i)

Reporting requirements

Each eligible entity receiving a grant under this section shall submit to the Secretary, at the end of the third year of the 5-year grant period and at the end of such grant period, a report on—

(1)

the number of students served and, if applicable, how many new students were served during each year of the grant period;

(2)

in the case of an eligible entity awarding subgrants under subsection (b)(1)(A), the number of subgrants awarded under this section to carry out each of the following:

(A)

the opening of new charter schools;

(B)

the opening of replicable, high-quality charter school models; and

(C)

the expansion of high-quality charter schools;

(3)

in the case of an eligible entity receiving a grant under subsection (b)(2), the number of new charter schools opened, the number of replicable high-quality charter school models opened, and the number of high-quality charter schools expanded under the grant;

(4)

in the case of a State entity, the progress the State entity made toward meeting the priorities described in subsection (g)(2), as applicable;

(5)

how the entity met the objectives of the quality charter school program described in the entity’s application under subsection (f);

(6)

how the entity complied with, and, if applicable, ensured that eligible applicants complied with, the assurances described in the entity’s application; and

(7)

how the entity worked with authorized public chartering agencies, including how the agencies worked with the management company or leadership of the schools in which the subgrants were awarded, if applicable.

.

6.

Facilities financing assistance

Section 5204 (20 U.S.C. 7221c) is amended to read as follows:

5204.

Facilities financing assistance

(a)

Grants to eligible entities

(1)

In general

From the amount reserved under section 5202(b)(1), the Secretary shall award not less than 3 grants to eligible entities that have applications approved under subsection (d) to demonstrate innovative methods of assisting charter schools to address the cost of acquiring, constructing, and renovating facilities by enhancing the availability of loans or bond financing.

(2)

Eligible entity defined

For purposes of this section, the term eligible entity means—

(A)

a public entity, such as a State or local governmental entity;

(B)

a private nonprofit entity; or

(C)

a consortium of entities described in subparagraphs (A) and (B).

(b)

Grantee Selection

(1)

Evaluation of application

The Secretary shall evaluate each application submitted under subsection (d), and shall determine whether the application is sufficient to merit approval.

(2)

Distribution of grants

The Secretary shall award not less than one grant to an eligible entity described in subsection (a)(2)(A), not less than one grant to an eligible entity described in subsection (a)(2)(B), and not less than one grant to an eligible entity described in subsection (a)(2)(C), if applications are submitted that permit the Secretary to do so without approving an application that is not of sufficient quality to merit approval.

(c)

Grant Characteristics

Grants under subsection (a) shall be of a sufficient size, scope, and quality so as to ensure an effective demonstration of an innovative means of enhancing credit for the financing of charter school acquisition, construction, or renovation.

(d)

Applications

(1)

In general

To receive a grant under subsection (a), an eligible entity shall submit to the Secretary an application in such form as the Secretary may reasonably require.

(2)

Contents

An application submitted under paragraph (1) shall contain—

(A)

a statement identifying the activities proposed to be undertaken with funds received under subsection (a), including how the eligible entity will determine which charter schools will receive assistance, and how much and what types of assistance charter schools will receive;

(B)

a description of the involvement of charter schools in the application’s development and the design of the proposed activities;

(C)

a description of the eligible entity’s expertise in capital market financing;

(D)

a description of how the proposed activities will leverage the maximum amount of private-sector financing capital relative to the amount of government funding used and otherwise enhance credit available to charter schools, including how the entity will offer a combination of rates and terms more favorable than the rates and terms that a charter school could receive without assistance from the entity under this section;

(E)

a description of how the eligible entity possesses sufficient expertise in education to evaluate the likelihood of success of a charter school program for which facilities financing is sought; and

(F)

in the case of an application submitted by a State governmental entity, a description of the actions that the entity has taken, or will take, to ensure that charter schools within the State receive the funding the charter schools need to have adequate facilities.

(e)

Charter school objectives

An eligible entity receiving a grant under this section shall use the funds deposited in the reserve account established under subsection (f) to assist one or more charter schools to access private sector capital to accomplish one or both of the following objectives:

(1)

The acquisition (by purchase, lease, donation, or otherwise) of an interest (including an interest held by a third party for the benefit of a charter school) in improved or unimproved real property that is necessary to commence or continue the operation of a charter school.

(2)

The construction of new facilities, including predevelopment costs, or the renovation, repair, or alteration of existing facilities, necessary to commence or continue the operation of a charter school.

(f)

Reserve account

(1)

Use of funds

To assist charter schools to accomplish the objectives described in subsection (e), an eligible entity receiving a grant under subsection (a) shall, in accordance with State and local law, directly or indirectly, alone or in collaboration with others, deposit the funds received under subsection (a) (other than funds used for administrative costs in accordance with subsection (g)) in a reserve account established and maintained by the eligible entity for this purpose. Amounts deposited in such account shall be used by the eligible entity for one or more of the following purposes:

(A)

Guaranteeing, insuring, and reinsuring bonds, notes, evidences of debt, loans, and interests therein, the proceeds of which are used for an objective described in subsection (e).

(B)

Guaranteeing and insuring leases of personal and real property for an objective described in subsection (e).

(C)

Facilitating financing by identifying potential lending sources, encouraging private lending, and other similar activities that directly promote lending to, or for the benefit of, charter schools.

(D)

Facilitating the issuance of bonds by charter schools, or by other public entities for the benefit of charter schools, by providing technical, administrative, and other appropriate assistance (including the recruitment of bond counsel, underwriters, and potential investors and the consolidation of multiple charter school projects within a single bond issue).

(2)

Investment

Funds received under this section and deposited in the reserve account established under paragraph (1) shall be invested in obligations issued or guaranteed by the United States or a State, or in other similarly low-risk securities.

(3)

Reinvestment of Earnings

Any earnings on funds received under subsection (a) shall be deposited in the reserve account established under paragraph (1) and used in accordance with such subsection.

(g)

Limitation on administrative costs

An eligible entity may use not more than 2.5 percent of the funds received under subsection (a) for the administrative costs of carrying out its responsibilities under this section (excluding subsection (k)).

(h)

Audits and reports

(1)

Financial Record Maintenance and Audit

The financial records of each eligible entity receiving a grant under subsection (a) shall be maintained in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and shall be subject to an annual audit by an independent public accountant.

(2)

Reports

(A)

Grantee annual reports

Each eligible entity receiving a grant under subsection (a) annually shall submit to the Secretary a report of its operations and activities under this section.

(B)

Contents

Each annual report submitted under subparagraph (A) shall include—

(i)

a copy of the most recent financial statements, and any accompanying opinion on such statements, prepared by the independent public accountant reviewing the financial records of the eligible entity;

(ii)

a copy of any report made on an audit of the financial records of the eligible entity that was conducted under paragraph (1) during the reporting period;

(iii)

an evaluation by the eligible entity of the effectiveness of its use of the Federal funds provided under subsection (a) in leveraging private funds;

(iv)

a listing and description of the charter schools served during the reporting period, including the amount of funds used by each school, the type of project facilitated by the grant, and the type of assistance provided to the charter schools;

(v)

a description of the activities carried out by the eligible entity to assist charter schools in meeting the objectives set forth in subsection (e); and

(vi)

a description of the characteristics of lenders and other financial institutions participating in the activities undertaken by the eligible entity under this section (excluding subsection (k)) during the reporting period.

(C)

Secretarial report

The Secretary shall review the reports submitted under subparagraph (A) and shall provide a comprehensive annual report to Congress on the activities conducted under this section (excluding subsection (k)).

(i)

No full faith and credit for grantee obligation

No financial obligation of an eligible entity entered into pursuant to this section (such as an obligation under a guarantee, bond, note, evidence of debt, or loan) shall be an obligation of, or guaranteed in any respect by, the United States. The full faith and credit of the United States is not pledged to the payment of funds which may be required to be paid under any obligation made by an eligible entity pursuant to any provision of this section.

(j)

Recovery of funds

(1)

In general

The Secretary, in accordance with chapter 37 of title 31, United States Code, shall collect—

(A)

all of the funds in a reserve account established by an eligible entity under subsection (f)(1) if the Secretary determines, not earlier than 2 years after the date on which the eligible entity first received funds under this section (excluding subsection (k)), that the eligible entity has failed to make substantial progress in carrying out the purposes described in such subsection; or

(B)

all or a portion of the funds in a reserve account established by an eligible entity under subsection (f)(1) if the Secretary determines that the eligible entity has permanently ceased to use all or a portion of the funds in such account to accomplish any purpose described in such subsection.

(2)

Exercise of Authority

The Secretary shall not exercise the authority provided in paragraph (1) to collect from any eligible entity any funds that are being properly used to achieve one or more of the purposes described in subsection (f)(1).

(3)

Procedures

The provisions of sections 451, 452, and 458 of the General Education Provisions Act shall apply to the recovery of funds under paragraph (1).

(4)

Construction

This subsection shall not be construed to impair or affect the authority of the Secretary to recover funds under part D of the General Education Provisions Act.

(k)

Per-Pupil facilities aid program

(1)

Definition of per-pupil facilities aid program

In this subsection, the term per-pupil facilities aid program means a program in which a State makes payments, on a per-pupil basis, to charter schools to provide the schools with financing—

(A)

that is dedicated solely for funding charter school facilities; or

(B)

a portion of which is dedicated for funding charter school facilities.

(2)

Grants

(A)

In general

From the amount reserved under section 5202(b)(1) remaining after the Secretary makes grants under subsection (a), the Secretary shall make grants, on a competitive basis, to States to pay for the Federal share of the cost of establishing or enhancing, and administering per-pupil facilities aid programs.

(B)

Period

The Secretary shall award grants under this subsection for periods of not more than 5 years.

(C)

Federal share

The Federal share of the cost described in subparagraph (A) for a per-pupil facilities aid program shall be not more than—

(i)

90 percent of the cost, for the first fiscal year for which the program receives assistance under this subsection;

(ii)

80 percent in the second such year;

(iii)

60 percent in the third such year;

(iv)

40 percent in the fourth such year; and

(v)

20 percent in the fifth such year.

(D)

State share

A State receiving a grant under this subsection may partner with 1 or more organizations to provide up to 50 percent of the State share of the cost of establishing or enhancing, and administering the per-pupil facilities aid program.

(E)

Multiple grants

A State may receive more than 1 grant under this subsection, so long as the amount of such funds provided to charter schools increases with each successive grant.

(3)

Use of funds

(A)

In general

A State that receives a grant under this subsection shall use the funds made available through the grant to establish or enhance, and administer, a per-pupil facilities aid program for charter schools in the State of the applicant.

(B)

Evaluations; technical assistance; dissemination

From the amount made available to a State through a grant under this subsection for a fiscal year, the State may reserve not more than 5 percent to carry out evaluations, to provide technical assistance, and to disseminate information.

(C)

Supplement, not supplant

Funds made available under this subsection shall be used to supplement, and not supplant, State and local public funds expended to provide per-pupil facilities aid programs, operations financing programs, or other programs, for charter schools.

(4)

Requirements

(A)

Voluntary participation

No State may be required to participate in a program carried out under this subsection.

(B)

State law

(i)

In general

To be eligible to receive a grant under this subsection, a State shall establish or enhance, and administer, a per-pupil facilities aid program for charter schools in the State, that—

(I)

is specified in State law; and

(II)

provides annual financing, on a per-pupil basis, for charter school facilities.

(ii)

Special Rule

A State that is required under State law to provide its charter schools with access to adequate facility space may be eligible to receive a grant under this subsection if the State agrees to use the funds to develop a per-pupil facilities aid program consistent with the requirements of this subsection.

(5)

Applications

To be eligible to receive a grant under this subsection, a State shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.

.

7.

National activities

Section 5205 (20 U.S.C. 7221d) is amended to read as follows:

5205.

National activities

(a)

In general

From the amount reserved under section 5202(b)(2), the Secretary shall—

(1)

use not less than 50 percent of such funds to award grants in accordance with subsection (b); and

(2)

use the remainder of such funds to—

(A)

disseminate technical assistance to State entities in awarding subgrants under section 5203(b)(1)(A);

(B)

disseminate best practices regarding public charter schools; and

(C)

evaluate the impact of the charter school program, including the impact on student achievement, carried out under this subpart.

(b)

Grants

(1)

In general

From the amounts described in subsection (a)(1), the Secretary shall make grants, on a competitive basis, to eligible applicants for the purpose of carrying out the activities described in section 5202(a)(1) and section 5203(b).

(2)

Terms and conditions

Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, grants awarded under this subsection shall have the same terms and conditions as grants awarded under section 5203.

(3)

Eligible applicant defined

For purposes of this subsection, the term eligible applicant means an eligible applicant that desires to open a charter school in a State that—

(A)

did not apply for a grant under section 5203;

(B)

did not receive a grant under section 5203; or

(C)

received a grant under section 5203 and is in the fourth or fifth year of the grant period for such grant.

(c)

Contracts and grants

The Secretary may carry out any of the activities described in this section directly or through grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements.

.

8.

Records transfer

Section 5208 (20 U.S.C. 7221g) is amended by inserting as quickly as possible and before to the extent practicable.

9.

Definitions

Section 5210 (20 U.S.C. 7221i) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1)—

(A)

in subparagraph (K), by striking and at the end;

(B)

in subparagraph (L), by striking the period at the end and inserting ; and; and

(C)

by adding at the end, the following:

(M)

may serve prekindergarten or postsecondary students.

;

(2)

in paragraph (3), by striking under section 5203(d)(3); and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(5)

Expansion of a high-quality charter school

The term expansion of a high-quality charter school means a high-quality charter school that either significantly increases its enrollment or adds one or more grades to its school.

(6)

High-quality charter school

The term high-quality charter school means a charter school that—

(A)

shows evidence of strong academic results;

(B)

has no significant issues in the areas of student safety, financial management, or statutory or regulatory compliance;

(C)

has demonstrated success in significantly increasing student academic achievement and attainment for all students served by charter schools; and

(D)

has demonstrated success in increasing student academic achievement for the subgroups of students described in section 1111(b)(2)(C)(v)(II).

(7)

Replicable, high-quality charter school model

The term replicable, high-quality charter school model means a high-quality charter school that will open a new campus under an existing charter.

.

10.

Authorization of appropriations

Section 5211 (20 U.S.C. 7221j) is amended to read as follows:

5211.

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this subpart $300,000,000 for fiscal year 2012 and each of the 5 succeeding fiscal years.

.

11.

Conforming amendments

(a)

Repeal

Subpart 2 of part B of title V (20 U.S.C. 7223 et seq.) is repealed.

(b)

Table of contents

The table of contents in section 2 is amended—

(1)

by striking the item relating to section 5203 and inserting the following:

Sec. 5203. Grants to support high-quality charter schools.

;

and
(2)

by striking the item relating to section 5204 and inserting the following:

Sec. 5204. Facilities financing assistance.

.