(a) Open enrollment.
(1) A public charter school shall be open to any student residing in the state.
(2) A school system shall not require any student enrolled in the school system to attend a start-up public charter school.
(3) A public charter school shall not limit admission based on ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, income level, disability, proficiency in the English language, or academic or athletic ability.
(4) A public charter school may limit admission to students within a given age group or grade level and may be organized around a special emphasis, theme, or concept as stated in the school’s charter application, but fluency or competence in the theme may not be used as a standard for enrollment.
(5) A public charter school shall enroll all students who wish to attend the school, unless the number of students exceeds the capacity of the facility identified for the public charter school.
(6) If facility capacity is insufficient to enroll all students who wish to attend a start-up public charter school, the school shall select students through a random selection process. The school shall first enroll students who reside within the school system in which the public charter school is located. If the number of local students wanting to enroll exceeds the facility’s capacity, then the school shall conduct a random selection process to enroll students who reside in the local school system. If the school has additional capacity after admitting students from the local school system, then the school shall admit any students without regard to their residency by a random selection process. The selection shall take place in a public meeting, called by the governing body of the public charter school, and following all posting and notice requirements prescribed by the Alabama Open Meetings Act.
(7) Any non-charter public school converting partially or entirely to a public charter school shall adopt and maintain a policy giving enrollment preference to students who reside within the former attendance area of that public school.
After all students who reside within the former attendance area of that public school are enrolled, enrollment shall first be opened to students residing within the local school system and then outside the local school system, as set forth in subdivision (6).
(8) A public charter school shall give enrollment preference to students enrolled in the public charter school the previous school year and to siblings of students already enrolled in the public charter school.
(9) A public charter school may give enrollment preference to children of a public charter school’s founders, governing board members, and full-time employees, so long as they constitute no more than 10 percent of the school’s total student population.
(10) This subsection does not preclude the formation of a public charter school whose mission is focused on serving special education students, students of the same gender, students who pose such severe disciplinary problems that they warrant a specific educational program, or students who are at risk of academic failure. Notwithstanding the stated mission of the public charter school, any student may attend.
(b) Credit transferability. If a student who was previously enrolled in a public charter school enrolls in another public school in Alabama, the student’s new school shall accept credits earned by the student in courses or instructional programs at the public charter school in a uniform and consistent manner and according to the same criteria that are used to accept academic credits from other public schools. Nothing in this chapter shall prevent local school systems from administering placement tests for newly enrolled students who were previously enrolled in a public charter school.
(c) Determination of student capacity of public charter schools. The capacity of the public charter school shall be determined annually by the governing board of the public charter school in conjunction with the authorizer and in consideration of the public charter school’s ability to facilitate the academic success of its students, to achieve the other objectives specified in the charter contract, and to ensure that its student enrollment does not exceed the capacity of its facility or site.
(d) Student information. A public charter school shall maintain records on all enrolled students utilizing the state adopted Alabama Student Information System (ASIM).
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