Alabama Code Title 16. Education § 16-6F-8

(a) Performance framework.

(1) The performance provisions within the charter contract shall be based on a performance framework that clearly sets forth the academic and operational performance indicators, measures, and metrics that will guide the authorizer’s evaluations of each public charter school.  The performance framework shall include indicators, measures, and metrics for, at a minimum:

a. Student academic proficiency, which includes, but is not limited to, performance on state standardized assessments.

b. Student academic growth, which includes, but is not limited to, performance on state standardized assessments.

c. Achievement gaps in both proficiency and growth between major student subgroups.

d. Attendance.

e. Recurrent enrollment from year to year.

f. Postsecondary readiness for high schools.

g. Financial performance and sustainability.

h. Board performance and stewardship, including compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and terms of the charter contract.

(2) Annual performance targets shall be set by each public charter school in conjunction with its authorizer, and shall be designed to help each school meet applicable federal, state, and authorizer expectations.

(3) The performance framework shall allow the inclusion of additional rigorous, valid, and reliable indicators proposed by a public charter school to augment external evaluations of its performance, provided that the authorizer approves the quality and rigor of such school-proposed indicators, and they are consistent with the purposes of this chapter.

(4) The performance framework shall require the disaggregation of all student performance data by major student subgroups (gender, race, poverty status, special education status, English learner status, and gifted status).

(5) For each public charter school it oversees, the authorizer shall be responsible for collecting, analyzing, and reporting all data from state assessments in accordance with the performance framework.

(6) Multiple schools overseen by a single governing board shall be required to report their performance as separate, individual schools, and each school shall be held independently accountable for its performance.

(b) Ongoing oversight and corrective action.

(1) An authorizer shall continually monitor the performance and legal compliance of the public charter schools it oversees, including collecting and analyzing data to support ongoing evaluation according to the charter contract.  Every authorizer shall have the authority to conduct or require oversight activities that enable the authorizer to fulfill its responsibilities under this chapter, including conducting appropriate inquiries and investigations, so long as those activities are consistent with the intent of this chapter, adhere to the terms of the charter contract, and do not unduly prohibit the autonomy granted to public charter schools.

(2) Each authorizer shall annually publish and provide, as part of its annual report to the department and the Legislature, a performance report for each public charter school it oversees, in accordance with the performance framework set forth in the charter contract and Section 16-6F-6 .  The authorizer may require each public charter school it oversees to submit an annual report to assist the authorizer in gathering complete information about each school, consistent with the performance framework.

(3) In the event that a public charter school’s performance or legal compliance appears unsatisfactory, the authorizer shall promptly notify the public charter school of the perceived problem and provide reasonable opportunity for the school to remedy the problem, unless the problem warrants revocation, in which case the revocation timelines shall apply.

(4) Every authorizer shall have the authority to take appropriate corrective actions or exercise sanctions short of revocation in response to apparent deficiencies in public charter school performance or legal compliance.  Such actions or sanctions may include, if warranted, requiring a school to develop and execute a corrective action plan within a specified time frame.

(c) Renewals, revocations, and nonrenewals.

(1) A charter may be renewed for successive five-year terms of duration, although the authorizer may vary the term based on the performance, demonstrated capacities, and particular circumstances of each public charter school.  An authorizer may grant renewal with specific conditions for necessary improvement to a public charter school.

(2) No later than July 15, the authorizer shall issue a public charter school performance report and charter renewal application guidance to any public charter school whose charter is scheduled to expire the following year.  The performance report shall summarize the public charter school’s performance record to date, based on the data required by this chapter and the charter contract, and shall provide notice of any weaknesses or concerns perceived by the authorizer concerning the public charter school that may jeopardize its position in seeking renewal if not timely rectified.  The public charter school shall have 15 calendar days to respond to the performance report and submit any corrections or clarifications for the report.

(3) The renewal application guidance, at a minimum, shall provide an opportunity for the public charter school to do all of the following:

a. Present additional evidence, beyond the data contained in the performance report, supporting its case for charter renewal.

b. Describe improvements undertaken or planned for the school.

c. Detail the school’s plans for the next charter term.

(4) The renewal application guidance shall include or refer explicitly to the criteria that will guide the authorizer’s renewal decisions, which shall be based on the performance framework set forth in the charter contract and consistent with this chapter.

(5) No later than October 1, the governing board of a public charter school seeking renewal shall submit a renewal application to the charter authorizer pursuant to the renewal application guidance issued by the authorizer.  The authorizer shall rule by resolution on the renewal application no later than 30 days after the filing of the renewal application.

(6) In making charter renewal decisions, every authorizer shall do all of the following:

a. Ground its decisions in evidence of the school’s performance over the term of the charter contract in accordance with the performance framework set forth in the charter contract.

b. Ensure that data used in making renewal decisions are available to the school and the public.

c. Provide a public report summarizing the evidence basis for each decision.

(7) A charter contract may be revoked at any time if the authorizer determines that the public charter school did any of the following or otherwise failed to comply with this chapter:

a. Commits a material and substantial violation of any of the terms, conditions, standards, or procedures required under this chapter or the charter contract.

b. Fails to meet or make sufficient progress toward the performance expectations set forth in the charter contract.

c. Fails to attain the minimum state proficiency standard for public charter schools in each year of their operation and over the charter term.

d. Fails to meet generally accepted standards of fiscal management.

e. Substantially violates any material provision of law from which the public charter school was not exempted.

(8) An authorizer may non-renew a public charter school if the authorizer determines that the public charter school did any of the following or otherwise failed to comply with this chapter:

a. Commits a material and substantial violation of any of the terms, conditions, standards, or procedures required under this chapter or the charter contract.

b. Fails to meet the performance expectations set forth in the charter contract.

c. Fails to meet generally accepted standards of fiscal management.

d. Substantially violates any material provision of law from which the public charter school was not exempted.

(9) A charter contract shall not be renewed at the end of the contract term if the public charter school fails to meet the performance expectations set forth in the charter contract, or fails to attain the minimum state proficiency standard for public charter schools (minimum state standard) in each year of its operation and over the charter term, unless the public charter school demonstrates and the authorizer affirms, through formal action of its board, that other indicators of strength and exceptional circumstances justify the continued operation of the school.  At the time of renewal, any public charter school that has received a grade of F on the statewide accountability system for all public schools pursuant to Section 16-6C-2 , or a grade of D or F for the past three most recent years shall be considered to fall below the minimum state standard.

(10) An authorizer shall develop revocation and nonrenewal processes that do all of the following:

a. Provide the charter holders with a timely notification of the prospect of revocation or nonrenewal and of the reasons for such possible closures.

b. Allow the charter holders a reasonable amount of time in which to prepare a response.

c. Provide the charter holders with an opportunity to submit documents and give testimony challenging the rationale for closure and in support of the continuation of the school at an orderly proceeding held for that purpose.

d. Allow the charter holders access to representation by counsel, at the expense of the charter holder, and to call witnesses on their behalf.

e. Permit the recordings of such proceedings.

f. After a reasonable period for deliberation, require a final determination be made and conveyed in writing to the charter holders.

(11) If an authorizer revokes or does not renew a charter, the authorizer shall clearly state, in a resolution, the reasons for the revocation or nonrenewal.

(12) Within 15 days of taking action to renew, not renew, or revoke a charter, the authorizer shall report to the department the action taken, and shall provide a copy of the report to the public charter school at the same time that the report is submitted to the department.  The report shall include a copy of the authorizer’s resolution setting forth the action taken and reasons for the decision and assurances as to compliance with all of the requirements set forth in this chapter.

(d) School closure and dissolution.

(1) Prior to any public charter school closure decision, an authorizer shall have developed a public charter school closure protocol to ensure timely notification to parents, orderly transition of students and student records to new schools, and proper disposition of school funds, property, and assets in accordance with the requirements of this chapter. The protocol shall specify tasks, timelines, and responsible parties, including delineating the respective duties of the school and the authorizer.

(2) In the event of a public charter school closure for any reason, the authorizer shall oversee and work with the closing school to ensure a smooth and orderly closure and transition for students and parents, as guided by the closure protocol.  In the event of a public charter school closure for any reason, the assets of the school shall be distributed first to satisfy outstanding payroll obligations for employees of the school, then to creditors of the school, and then to the State Treasury to the credit of the Education Trust Fund.  If the assets of the school are insufficient to pay all parties to whom the school owes compensation, the prioritization of the distribution of assets may be determined by decree of a court of law.

(e) Charter transfers.  Transfer of a charter contract, and of oversight of that public charter school, from one authorizer to another before the expiration of the charter term shall not be permitted except by special petition to the department by a public charter school or its authorizer.  The department shall review such petitions on a case-by-case basis and may grant transfer requests in response to special circumstances and evidence that such a transfer would serve the best interests of the public charter school’s students.

(f) Annual report.  On or before November 1 of each year beginning in the first year after the state has had public charter schools operating for a full school year, the department shall issue to the Governor, the Legislature, and the public at large, an annual report on the state’s public charter schools, drawing from the annual reports submitted by every authorizer as well as any additional relevant data compiled by the department, for the school year ending in the preceding calendar year.  The annual report shall include a comparison of the performance of public charter school students with the performance of academically, ethnically, and economically comparable groups of students in non-charter public schools.  In addition, the annual report shall include the department’s assessment of the successes, challenges, and areas for improvement in meeting the purposes of this chapter, including the department’s recommendations as to any suggested changes in state law or policy necessary to strengthen the state’s public charter schools.


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