CHARTERED PUBLIC SCHOOLS
In this chapter:
I. "Average cost per pupil" means the total of education expenditures in a particular district and at the elementary, middle/junior, and high school levels, less tuition, transportation, capital outlays, and net debt service, as compiled by the department of education. Kindergarten cost shall be calculated at 1/2 the cost of elementary school.
II. "Average daily membership in attendance" or "ADMA" relative to chartered public schools means the average daily membership in attendance, as defined in RSA 189:1-d, III, of pupils in kindergarten through grade 12, in the determination year, provided that no kindergarten pupil shall count as more than 1/2 day attendance per school year. ADMA shall only include pupils who are legal residents of New Hampshire pursuant to RSA 193:12 and educated at the charter school's expense. In this paragraph, "determination year" shall have the same meaning as in RSA 198:38, IV.
III. "Board of trustees" means the governing body of a chartered public school authorized by the state board of education to supervise and control the chartered public school.
IV. "Chartered public school" means an open enrollment public school, operated independent of any school board and managed by a board of trustees. A chartered public school shall operate as a nonprofit secular organization under a charter granted by the state board and in conformance with this chapter.
V. "Charter conversion school" means a public school which has been authorized to become a chartered public school. That school continues to be managed by the school board until and unless fully authorized to become a chartered public school in accordance with the provisions of RSA 194-B:3.
VI. "Full-time enrolled pupil" means a pupil pursuant to RSA 194-B:1, XI and officially accepted full-time student by the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School admissions team.
VII. "Full-time equivalent pupil" means a pupil or group of pupils pursuant to RSA 194-B:1, XI that have completed 12 half-credit courses.
VIII. "Host school district" means the school district in which the chartered public school is physically located.
IX. "Open enrollment public school" or "open enrollment school" means any public school which, in addition to providing educational services to pupils residing within its attendance area or district, chooses to accept pupils from other attendance areas within its district and from outside its district.
X. "Parent" means a parent, guardian, or other person or entity having legal custody of a child or, in the case of a child with a disability, a surrogate parent who has been appointed in accordance with state or federal law.
XI. "Pupil" means any child who is eligible for attendance in public schools in New Hampshire.
XII. "Receiving district" means the school district to which a pupil is sent to attend a chartered public school.
XIII. "Resident district" means the school district in which the pupil resides.
XIV. "School board" means the district school board.
XV. "Sending district" means the school district in which the pupil resides.
XVI. "State board" means the state board of education.
XVII. "Teacher"' means any individual providing or capable of providing direct instructional services to pupils, and who meets requirements prescribed in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act.
Source. 1995, 260:6. 2008, 274:22, 23; 354:1. 2009, 241:2. 2017, 156:93, eff. July 1, 2017.
194-B:1-a Statement of Purpose.
It is the purpose of this chapter to:
I. Promote and encourage the establishment and operation of chartered public schools in New Hampshire.
II. Encourage school districts to allow chartered public schools.
III. Encourage the establishment of public charter schools with specific or focused curriculum, instruction, methods, or target pupil groups.
IV. Improve pupil learning and increase opportunities for learning.
V. Exempt charter schools from state statutes and rules, other than where specified, to provide innovative learning and teaching in a unique environment.
VI. Enhance professional opportunities for teachers.
VII. Establish results-driven accountability for public charter schools and require the measurement of learning.
VIII. Make school improvement a focus at the school level.
IX. Encourage the establishment of public charter schools that meet the needs and interests of pupils, parents, communities, regions, and the state as a whole.
Source. 1997, 334:1. 2004, 222:1. 2009, 241:3, eff. Sept. 14, 2009.
194-B:2 Chartered Public Schools; Establishment; Parental Choice; Admission.
I. Any school district legislative body may vote to designate one or more of its schools as a chartered public school.
II. Every chartered public school shall make available information about its curriculum and policies to all persons, and parents and pupils considering enrollment in that school.
III. There shall be no application fee for pupil admission to any chartered public school.
IV. All chartered public schools shall accept qualified pupils from any school district. A pupil who meets the admission requirements of a chartered public school, and who is a resident of the district where the school is located, shall be given absolute admission preference over a nonresident pupil. Once admitted and unless expelled, chartered public school pupils need not reapply for admission for subsequent years.
V. Attendance at a chartered public school for the purposes of transportation shall not constitute assignment under the provisions of RSA 189:6 and RSA 189:8. Pupils who reside in the school district in which the chartered public school is located shall be provided transportation to that school by the district on the same terms and conditions as provided for non-chartered public schools in the district and utilizing the same regular bus schedules and routes that are provided to pupils attending non-chartered public schools within that district.
VI. Upon approval by each of the district's legislative bodies and after a public hearing, 2 or more school districts may consolidate otherwise eligible resident pupils into one applicant pool for the purposes of an admissions lottery for designated chartered public schools.
VII. A chartered public school may be physically located outside the district establishing it, but shall be deemed within the school district for purposes of RSA 194-B.
Source. 1995, 260:6. 2008, 354:1. 2009, 241:4. 2016, 236:1, eff. July 1, 2016.
194-B:3 Chartered Public Schools; Establishment; Application; Amendment; Procedure.
I. (a) Except as otherwise provided in law, chartered public schools shall be fully exempt from state laws and rules which otherwise apply to public or nonpublic schools, or local school boards or districts. Notwithstanding the foregoing, chartered public schools shall have all the rights and privileges of other public schools.
(b) A chartered public school's board of trustees shall have full authority to determine the chartered public school's organization, methods, and goals.
II. Except as expressly provided in this chapter, the duty and role of the local school board relative to the establishment of a chartered public school shall be to approve or disapprove the proposed chartered public school application based upon whether or not the proposed application contains in specific detail the following required elements:
(a) Educational mission.
(b) Governance and organizational structure and plan.
(c) Methods by which trustees and their terms are determined.
(d) General description and proposed or potential location of facilities to be used, if such information is available.
(e) Maximum number, grade or age levels, and, as applicable, other information about pupils to be served.
(f) Curriculum that meets or exceeds state standards in the subject areas offered.
(g) Academic and other learning goals and objectives.
(h) Achievement tests to be used to measure pupil academic and other goal achievement including, but not limited to, objective and age-appropriate measures of literacy and numeracy skills, including spelling, reading, expository writing, history, geography, science, and mathematics.
(i) For schools offering high school grade levels, graduation requirements sufficient to ensure that the school has provided an adequate education for its pupils.
(j) Staffing overview, including qualifications sought for professionals and paraprofessionals.
(k) Personnel compensation plan, including provisions for leaves and other benefits, if any.
(l) Pupil transportation plan, including reasonable provision from the chartered public school's own resources for transportation of pupils residing outside the district in which the chartered public school is physically located.
(m) Statement of assurances related to nondiscrimination according to relevant state and federal laws.
(n) Method of coordinating with a pupil's local education agency (LEA) responsible for matters pertaining to any required special education programs or services including method of compliance with all federal and state laws pertaining to children with disabilities.
(o) Admission procedures.
(p) Philosophy of pupil governance and discipline, and age-appropriate due process procedures to be used for disciplinary matters including suspension and expulsion.
(q) Method of administering fiscal accounts and reporting, including a provision requiring fiscal audits and reports to be performed by an independent certified public accountant.
(r) Annual budget, including all sources of funding, and a projected budget for the next 2 years.
(s) School calendar arrangement and the number and duration of days pupils are to be served pursuant to RSA 194-B:8, III.
(t) Provision for providing continuing evidence of adequate insurance coverage.
(u) Identity of consultants to be used for various services, if known, or the qualifications or certifications of consultants not identified by name.
(v) Philosophy of parent involvement and related plans and procedures.
(w) A plan to develop and disseminate information to assist parents and pupils with decision-making about their choice of school.
(x) A global hold-harmless clause which states:
The chartered public school, its successors and assigns, covenants and agrees at all times to indemnify and hold harmless the (school district), any other school district which sends its students to the chartered public school, and their school boards, officers, directors, agents, employees, all funding districts and sources, and their successors and assigns, (the "indemnified parties") from any and all claims, demands, actions and causes of action, whether in law or in equity, and all damages, costs, losses, and expenses, including but not limited to reasonable attorneys' fees and legal costs, for any action or inaction of the chartered public school, its board, officers, employees, agents, representatives, contractors, guests and invitees, or pupils.
(y) Severability provisions and statement of assurance that any provision of the chartered public school contract found by competent authority to be contrary to applicable law, rule, or regulation shall not be enforceable.
(z) Provision for dissolution of the chartered public school including disposition of its assets or amendment of its program plan.
(aa) In the case of the conversion of a public school to a charter conversion school, provision for alternative arrangements for pupils who choose not to attend and teachers who choose not to teach at the chartered public school.
(bb) A plan for the education of the school's pupils after the chartered public school may cease operation.
(cc) In addition to an application, each chartered public school applicant, in consultation with the local school board, shall prepare a proposed contract. The contract shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following elements:
(2) Written policies.
(3) Authority of trustees.
(4) Reporting, fiscal accounting and fiscal audits to be performed by a certified public accountant.
(5) Contract agreements.
(7) Secular orientation.
(9) Health and safety.
(12) Availability of services.
(13) Assessment of pupils.
(14) Tuition and funding.
(15) Property ownership.
(17) Severability in accordance with subparagraph (y) above.
(18) Assignment of contract.
(23) Entire agreement.
(24) Location, which shall be identified prior to submission to the legislative body.
(dd) An outline of the proposed accountability plan which clarifies expectations for evaluating the school's program and which contains an acknowledgement that a full accountability plan shall be developed and ready to implement prior to the date of opening.
(ee) A proposed policy to adopt and implement the code of conduct for New Hampshire educators as adopted by the department in administrative rule. Failure to adopt and implement the code of conduct could result in the probation or revocation of the school's charter as governed by RSA 194-B:16.
III. (a) [Repealed.]
(b) Proposed applications and contracts to establish a chartered public school shall be presented by July 1 of the year preceding intended operation of the chartered public school by its prospective board of trustees to the school board of the district in which the chartered public school intends to be located. The school board shall hold at least one public hearing on the application prior to September 15.
(c) By September 15 of the given year, the school board shall have completed its review of the proposed application and shall have granted or denied its approval. In its review the school board shall grant or deny the proposed application, using as its criteria whether or not the proposed application and contract contain and address the elements required under RSA 194-B:3, II. The school board reserves the right to suggest amendments or additions to the proposed application as it deems necessary to assure its completeness and compliance with this chapter. The school board shall forward the proposed application and contract, along with its approval or denial and a written statement specifying any areas deemed deficient, to the state board and to the applicant's prospective board of trustees.
(d) By December 31 of the given year, the state board shall have reviewed the proposed application and shall grant or deny the proposed application, using as its criteria whether or not the proposed application contains and addresses the elements required under RSA 194-B:3, II. The state board reserves the right to suggest amendments or additions to the proposed application as it deems necessary to assure its completeness and compliance with this chapter. Application disapprovals shall include a written statement specifying areas deemed deficient. The state board shall promptly notify the prospective board of trustees and the school board of its decision in writing. For any applicant chartered public school whose proposed application is deemed complete and is approved by the state board, the state board shall issue a charter enabling the formation and operation of the chartered public school.
(e) The state board shall submit 2 copies of the approved contract to the clerk of the school district who shall make the contract available for inspection by the voters of the school district. The school board shall submit a warrant article to the school district legislative body for ratification or denial without amendment. The ratification question shall be placed on the warrant of the next special or annual school district meeting and shall take the following form:
"Shall the district raise and appropriate the necessary funds and ratify the proposed contract between the __________ chartered public school and the __________ school district, for a period of 5 years for initial adoption or for a period of 7 years for renewal, with a first year annual appropriation of $___ per student not to exceed $___ which shall be approved by the voters in the district operating budget? The first year total financial impact of a 'yes' vote on this question is estimated by the school board at $___.
_________ Yes _________ No"
In districts without annual meetings, the legislative body shall have final authority to ratify or deny the state board approved contract. A ratified contract grants final authority for the chartered public school to operate for the life of its contract and to receive school district funds.
(f) The school's contract shall become effective July 1 immediately following ratification by the legislative body. Upon approval by the legislative body, contracts shall be for a 5-year term beginning on July 1 immediately following ratification by the legislative body.
IV. (a) The chartered public school's prospective board of trustees may appeal a denial by a school board under RSA 194-B:3, III(c) to the state board by September 30 of the given year.
(b) The state board shall conduct a review of the proposed chartered public school application, using review standards as specified under RSA 194-B:3, II. The state board shall be authorized to suggest amendments or additions to the proposed application to both parties including, but not limited to, deficiencies identified by the local school board and the trustees, as the state board deems necessary to assure its completeness and compliance with this chapter. Application disapprovals by the state board shall include a written statement specifying areas deemed deficient or in the case of approval on appeal, the reasons for such action to both parties. The state board shall promptly notify the prospective board of trustees and the school board of its decision in writing.
(c) For any applicant chartered public school whose entire proposal is complete and is approved by the state board on appeal from denial by a school board, the state board shall issue a charter enabling the formation and operation of the chartered public school.
(d) To complete the process by which an applicant chartered public school may be approved on appeal from a school board denial, RSA 194-B:3, III(e), (f) and (g) must also be followed.
V. Persons or entities eligible to submit an application to establish a chartered public school shall include:
(a) A nonprofit organization including, but not limited to, a college, university, museum, service club, or similar entity.
(b) A group of 2 or more New Hampshire certified teachers.
(c) A group of 10 or more parents.
VI. (a) Any existing public school may by a vote of the school board become a charter conversion school, provided that, in addition to all other requirements of this chapter for establishment of a chartered public school:
(1) A majority of its prospective teachers vote by ballot to approve such conversion in a district with more than one school, or 2/3 of the teachers so vote in a single school district.
(2) The school superintendent and principal both provide their approval in writing.
(b) All pupils attending a school which successfully converts to charter status shall be eligible for admission to such chartered public school.
VII. Neither a school board nor the state board shall accept an application to form a chartered public school from state approved nonpublic schools, including those which may reorganize in any form.
VIII. Home education programs established pursuant to RSA 193-A shall not be eligible to be a chartered public school.
IX. A chartered public school which has not initiated operation within 2 years of the issuance of its charter shall submit a progress report to the state board and school board. The state board may withdraw its approved charter if substantial progress has not been made toward opening the chartered public school.
X. A school's charter may be renewed in the same manner that a new chartered public school is formed, except that a school's renewal term shall be for a period of 5 years.
XI. (a) A charter grantee may apply to the school board for amendment to its application and contract, which shall be granted or denied within 30 days at the school board's discretion. The school board shall notify the school in writing of the decision to grant or deny the proposed amendment, providing reasons for the decision. An approved amended contract shall be promptly signed by the school board within one month of approval.
(b) A charter grantee may appeal the denial of a proposed application and contract amendment to the state board. The state board shall review the proposed amendment and within 30 days shall notify the school and the school board in writing of the decision to grant or deny the amendment, providing reasons for the decision.
(c) Within one month of receipt of a notice of approval from the state board on appeal from a school board denial, the school board shall promptly execute the proposed amended contract.
(d) When executed by the school board, an appealed amended application and contract shall be submitted promptly to the school district legislative body for subsequent ratification or denial without amendment, which decision shall be final. The ratification question shall be placed on the warrant of the next special or annual school district meeting. In districts without annual meetings, the legislative body shall have final authority to ratify or deny the proposed amended application and contract.
XII. For specific periods of time and for good cause shown, a school board and the state board may waive any deadlines applying in this section to their respective actions. A school board and the state board may provide technical assistance to improve a chartered public school's application or to speed the approval process. An applicant whose proposed application is not approved by a school board or by the state board shall be granted the opportunity to present a revised application for reconsideration.
XIII. The board of trustees of a chartered public school may acquire real property by lease, purchase, lease with purchase option, gift, or otherwise at any time prior to receiving a charter.
Source. 1995, 260:6. 1997, 334:2-9. 1998, 268:1. 1999, 101:1-5. 2004, 222:2, 3, 6. 2005, 257:15. 2007, 270:3. 2008, 274:24, 31; 354:1. 2009, 241:15, 16, II, III. 2010, 265:2. 2012, 199:5, eff. Aug. 12, 2012. 2021, 142:2, eff. Sept. 21, 2021.
194-B:3-a Chartered Public School Approval by State Board of Education.
I. The state board of education may grant charter status to applicants that meet the requirements of this chapter.
II. The proposed chartered public school application shall be presented for approval directly to the state board of education by the applicant for the prospective chartered public school. The content of such application shall conform to the requirements set forth in RSA 194-B:3, II(a)-(bb) and (dd)-(ee). The department of education shall notify an applicant of any missing information within 10 days of the initial filing. The applicant shall file any missing information before the department reviews the application.
III. The department of education may forward the proposed application to the applicant, along with a written statement detailing any suggested amendments or modifications.
IV. The state board of education shall either approve or deny an application using reasonable discretion in the assessment of the elements set forth in RSA 194-B:3, II, (a)-(bb) and (dd)-(ee). Lack of state funding alone shall not constitute grounds for the denial of an application. Approval of an application constitutes the granting of charter status and the right to operate as a chartered public school. The state board of education shall notify all applicants of its decision in writing, and shall include in any notice of denial a written statement specifying any areas deemed deficient, the reasons for the denial, and explaining that the applicant may reapply under RSA 194-B:3 or under this section in a subsequent year.
V. (a) The following provisions of law shall not apply to chartered public school applications proposed under this section, or to chartered public schools granted approval for operation under this section:
(1) RSA 194-B:3, II(cc).
(2) RSA 194-B:3, III-IV.
(3) RSA 194-B:3, XI.
(4) RSA 194-B:15, II.
(b) Except as provided in this paragraph, the provisions of RSA 194-B shall apply to chartered public schools approved for operation by the state board of education under this section.
Source. 2003, 273:1. 2004, 222:4, 5. 2008, 354:1. 2009, 241:5. 2011, 228:1. 2013, 144:62. 2014, 61:1, eff. July 26, 2014. 2021, 142:3, 4, eff. Sept. 21, 2021.
194-B:4 Repealed by 2009, 241:16, I, eff. Sept. 14, 2009.
194-B:5 Chartered Public Schools; Authority and Duties of Board of Trustees.
I. Unless otherwise provided in this chapter, the board of trustees of a chartered public school, upon issuance of its charter, shall have general supervisory control and authority over the operations of the chartered public school.
II. No greater than 25 percent of the membership of a school board, or one member, whichever number is greater, may simultaneously serve as members of the board of trustees of a charter or charter conversion school. No greater than 25 percent of the membership of the board of trustees of a charter or charter conversion school, or one member, whichever is greater, may simultaneously serve as members of any school board. A chartered public school board of trustees shall include no fewer than 25 percent or 2 parents of pupils attending the chartered public school, whichever is greater. Teachers of a chartered public school may serve on its board of trustees.
III. Notwithstanding RSA 194-B:1, IV, an established chartered public school shall be a corporation, which shall be registered with the secretary of state after receiving approval under this chapter but before its first day of actual operation, with authority necessary or desirable to carry out its charter program including, but not limited to, the following:
(a) To adopt a name and corporate seal, provided that any name selected shall include the words "chartered public school."
(b) To sue and be sued, but only to the same extent and upon the same conditions that a town can be sued.
(c) To acquire real property from public or private sources by lease, by lease with an option to purchase, or by gift for use as a school facility, provided that such acquisition is consistent with established school purposes.
(d) To receive and disburse funds for school purposes.
(e) To make contracts and leases for the procurement of services, equipment, and supplies, provided that:
(1) If the board of trustees intends to procure substantially all educational services under contract with another person or entity, the terms of such a contract shall be provided in an addendum in the school's contract.
(2) The state board and the school board shall not approve any such contract terms, the purpose or effect of which is to avoid the prohibition in this chapter against chartered public school status for nonpublic schools.
(f) To incur temporary debt in anticipation of receipt of funds.
(g) To solicit, accept, manage, and use any grants or gifts, provided that such activities are consistent with established school purposes.
(h) To incur long-term debt for the purpose of purchasing buildings or land, or for new construction or renovations to existing buildings. The state shall not be liable for any debt or other financial obligation incurred under this subparagraph.
(i) To have such other powers that are available to a business corporation formed under RSA 293-A and that are not inconsistent with this chapter.
IV. The board of trustees shall report to the school board at least quarterly for public information purposes only, regarding the progress of the chartered public school's achievement of its stated goals. The chartered public school shall solicit advice from the school board. The school board and the chartered public school shall adopt mutually acceptable content requirements for the quarterly report which shall include, but not be limited to, a financial statement. During the pilot program in RSA 194-B:20, the school board shall forward the trustees' reports with its evaluation to the state board and the legislative oversight committee.
V. A chartered public school and the host school district are encouraged to enter into mutually advantageous contractual relationships resulting in the sharing of transportation, instructional, athletic, maintenance, and other services and facilities.
VI. The meetings and proceedings of the board of trustees shall be held in public session pursuant to RSA 91-A:2, except for those meetings or proceedings designated as nonpublic sessions as defined in RSA 91-A:3, II.
VII. Any member of a chartered public school board of trustees who also serves as an employee, agent, or board member of any for-profit entity with whom the chartered public school contracts for goods or services shall make public disclosure of such fact and shall recuse oneself from any business the chartered public school may have with the for-profit entity. Any contract executed in violation of this paragraph shall be voidable at the discretion of the commissioner of the department of education. A member of a chartered public school board of trustees who executes a contract in violation of this paragraph may be held personally liable to the chartered public school for any damages caused by such contract.
Source. 1995, 260:6. 1998, 268:2. 2003, 273:4, 6, 7, III. 2004, 222:7. 2006, 301:3. 2008, 354:1. 2012, 119:1. 2017, 156:94, eff. July 1, 2017. 2018, 372:1, eff. Sept. 16, 2018.
194-B:6 Chartered Public Schools; Liability.
No host, sending, or receiving district shall be held liable for damages in an action to recover for: (a) bodily injury, personal injury, or property damage as defined in RSA 507-B:1, or (b) for failure to educate pupils, where such actions arise out of the establishment or operation of a chartered public school.
Source. 1995, 260:6. 1998, 268:3. 2008, 354:1, eff. Sept. 5, 2008.
194-B:7 Chartered Public Schools; Secular or Nonsecular Determination.
For purposes of determining whether a proposed chartered public school is a prohibited religious school, the following 3-part test set forth by the United States Supreme Court shall be used.
I. The school shall have a secular purpose.
II. The school's "primary effect" shall neither advance nor prohibit religion.
III. The school shall not foster "excessive entanglement" between the school and religion.
Source. 1995, 260:6. 2008, 354:1, eff. Sept. 5, 2008.
194-B:8 Chartered Public Schools; Requirements; Options.
I. A chartered public school shall not discriminate nor violate individual civil rights in any manner prohibited by law. A chartered public school shall not discriminate against any child with a disability as defined in RSA 186-C. A chartered public school shall provide due process in accordance with state and federal laws and rules.
II. A chartered public school shall comply with all applicable state and federal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations.
III. A chartered public school shall provide instruction for at least the number of days required by state law. A chartered public school shall comply with compulsory attendance laws as provided in RSA 189:1, 189:1-a, and 193:1. Innovative scheduling resulting in at least that number of attendance hours required under RSA 186-C:15, 189:1, 189:1-a, and 193:1 and current state board attendance rules shall be encouraged.
IV. A chartered public school providing the only available public education services at a specific grade level in a school district shall offer those educational services to all resident pupils of that grade level.
V. At least annually and near the end of each school year, a chartered public school shall evaluate the educational progress of each pupil, as specified in RSA 194-B:3, II(h). Such evaluation shall include, but not be limited to, the New Hampshire statewide education improvement and assessment program, as provided in RSA 193-C. The cost of the state assessment program shall be borne by the state.
VI. A chartered public school may be located in part of an existing public school building, in space provided on a private work site, in a public building, or any other suitable location. A chartered public school may own, lease, or rent its own space, or utilize space based on other innovative arrangements.
VII. (a) A chartered public school may contract for services with any private or public entity including, but not limited to, private and public schools or districts, except for teaching services which may not be obtained from a nonpublic school.
(b) All contracted services shall be defined by purchase order or written contract in advance of such service being provided.
(c) Any contractor shall provide proof of adequate professional liability insurance.
(d) Subcontracts for teaching services with nonpublic schools are prohibited.
Source. 1995, 260:6. 2008, 274:25, 26; 274:34, 35; 354:1. 2012, 185:2, eff. Aug. 10, 2012.
194-B:9 Chartered Public Schools; Pupil Selection; Enrollment; Separation.
I. Except as provided for under RSA 194-B:8, IV:
(a) Chartered public schools may set maximum enrollment as they deem appropriate.
(b) Chartered public schools may limit enrollment to specific grade or age levels, pupil needs, or areas of academic focus including, but not limited to, at-risk pupils, vocational education pupils, mathematics, science, the arts, history, or languages.
(c)(1) Chartered public schools may select pupils on the basis of aptitude, academic achievement, or need, provided that such selection is directly related to the academic goals of the school.
(2) If the number of otherwise eligible applicants to a particular chartered public school exceeds that school's maximum published enrollment, that school shall use lottery selection as a basis for admission.
(3) If the number of otherwise eligible applicants to chartered public schools located inside and outside the school district exceeds that district's published maximum percentage of pupils authorized to attend such schools, the district shall use lottery selection as a basis for pupil eligibility, and in accordance with RSA 194-B:2, IV.
II. A pupil may withdraw from a chartered public school at any time and enroll in a public school where the pupil resides, except that no pupil shall change schools more than once each school year. That pupil's local school board may waive this limitation after a hearing.
III. A pupil may be suspended or expelled from a chartered public school based on criteria determined by the board of trustees consistent with the advice of the principal and teachers and in conformance with RSA 193:13. No public school shall be obligated to enroll an expelled pupil.
IV. For the purpose of this chapter, any resident pupil enrolled in a chartered public school is to be considered reassigned to the chartered public school for purposes of school attendance.
Source. 1995, 260:6. 1997, 334:12, 13. 2008, 354:1, 3. 2009, 241:6, eff. Sept. 14, 2009.
194-B:10 Chartered Public Schools; Reporting Requirements.
I. Each chartered public school shall provide one copy of its annual report to the state board and to its local school board. This report shall also be available to any person who expressly requests it.
II. A chartered public school shall provide at its own expense an annual financial audit and report to the state board and the school board complying with any current format and content requirements imposed upon a public school. The report shall include the number of pupils served by the school and their respective tuition rates and a discussion of progress made towards the achievement of the school's academic and other goals set forth in its charter.
III. To ensure compliance with its application and contract and applicable law, a chartered public school shall be subject to a first year program audit by the department of education or its agent, and shall be subject to a program audit by the department of education at least once every 3 years thereafter.
IV. A summary version of any annual and periodic reports required in this chapter shall be provided to the parent or guardian of each pupil enrolled at a chartered public school and shall be made available to the legislative body.
V. A representative of a chartered public school shall attend and be prepared to report at and answer questions during relevant portions of the annual school district budget process.
Source. 1995, 260:6. 1997, 334:14. 2008, 354:1. 2013, 144:64, eff. July 1, 2013.
194-B:11 Chartered Public Schools; Funding.
Chartered public schools shall be funded as follows:
I. (a) There shall be no tuition charge for any pupil attending a charter conversion school located in that pupil's resident district. Funding limitations in this chapter shall not be applicable to charter conversion schools located in a pupil's resident district. For a chartered public school authorized by the school district, the pupil's resident district shall pay to such school an amount equal to not less than 80 percent of that district's average cost per pupil as determined by the department of education using the most recent available data as reported by the district to the department. For pupils resident in this state who attend full-time a chartered public school authorized by a school district other than the pupil's resident school district, the state shall pay tuition pursuant to RSA 198:40-a directly to the chartered public school for such pupil. Nothing in this subparagraph shall alter or modify the funding of the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School.
(b)(1)(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (2), for a chartered public school authorized by the state board of education pursuant to RSA 194-B:3-a, the state shall pay tuition pursuant to RSA 198:40-a, II(a)-(c) and (e) plus an additional grant of $3,286 to all chartered public schools for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018, and $3,411 to all chartered public schools for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019 and each fiscal year thereafter, except for the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School, directly to the chartered public school for each pupil who is a resident of this state in attendance at such chartered public school. Beginning July 1, 2017 and every biennium thereafter, the department of education shall adjust the per pupil amount of the additional grant based on the average change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, Northeast Region, using the "services less medical care services" special aggregate index, as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Department of Labor. The state shall pay amounts required pursuant to RSA 198:40-a, II(d) directly to the resident district.
(B) For the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School authorized pursuant to RSA 194-B:3-a, the state shall pay tuition pursuant to RSA 198:40-a, II(a)-(c) and (e), plus an additional grant of $2,036 directly to the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School for each eligible full-time enrolled pupil in the chartered public school's ADMA. The state shall pay amounts required pursuant to RSA 198:40-a, II(d) directly to the resident district. The state shall also pay tuition pursuant to RSA 198:40-a, II(a) plus an additional grant of $2,036 directly to the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School for each full-time equivalent pupil. Beginning July 1, 2017 and every July 1 thereafter, the department of education shall adjust the per pupil amount of the additional grant based on the average change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, Northeast Region, using the "services less medical care services" special aggregate index, as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Department of Labor. The average change shall be calculated using the 3 calendar years ending 18 months before the beginning of the fiscal year for which the calculation is to be performed.
(2) For an online chartered public school which receives its initial authorization to operate from the state board of education pursuant to RSA 194-B:3-a on or after July 1, 2013, the state shall pay tuition pursuant to RSA 198:40-a directly to the online chartered public school for each pupil who is a resident of this state in attendance at such chartered public school. In this subparagraph, "online chartered public school" means a chartered public school which provides the majority of its classes and instruction on the Internet.
(c) The commissioner of the department of education shall calculate and distribute chartered public school tuition payments as set forth herein. The first payment shall be 30 percent of the per pupil amount multiplied by the number of eligible pupils present on the first day of the current school year. Such payment shall be made no later than 15 days after the department of education receives the attendance report. The December 1 payment shall be 30 percent of the per pupil amount multiplied by the membership on November 1, and the March 1 payment shall be 30 percent of the per pupil amount multiplied by the membership on February 1. To calculate the final payment, the commissioner of the department of education shall multiply the per pupil amount by the average daily membership in attendance for the full school year, and subtract the total amount of the first 3 payments made. The remaining balance shall be the final payment. Eligible chartered public schools shall report membership in accordance with RSA 189:1-d. In this subparagraph, "membership" shall be as defined in RSA 189:1-d, II. Tuition amounts shall be prorated on a per diem basis for pupils attending a school for less than a full school year.
(d) The source of funds for payments under this section shall be moneys from the education trust fund established in RSA 198:39. The governor is authorized to draw a warrant from the education trust fund to satisfy the state's obligation under this section. Such warrant for payment shall be issued regardless of the balance of funds available in the education trust fund. If the balance in the education trust fund, after the issuance of any such warrant, is less than zero, the state comptroller shall transfer sufficient funds from the general fund to eliminate such deficit. The commissioner of the department of administrative services shall inform the fiscal committee and the governor and council of such balance. This reporting shall not in any way prohibit or delay the distribution of payments. The department of education may request additional funds from the fiscal committee of the general court, with the approval of governor and council, for a new chartered public school approved for initial operation by the state board of education pursuant to RSA 194-B:3-a.
(e) The commissioner of the department of education shall submit a report to the fiscal committee of the general court for each payment made in a fiscal year by the state to a chartered public school pursuant to subparagraph (c). For each chartered public school, the report shall contain the name and address of the school, the amount of the payment, and the number of students currently enrolled at the school. Each report shall be submitted no later than 30 days after the payment date specified in subparagraph (c).
II. A school district lacking a meaningful basis to determine average expenditure per pupil may use statewide average figures as determined by the department of education for the purposes of this chapter.
III. (a) In accordance with current department of education standards, the funding and educational decision-making process for children with disabilities attending a chartered public school shall be the responsibility of the resident district and shall retain all current options available to the parent and to the school district.
(b) When a child is enrolled by a parent in a charted public school, the local education agency of the child's resident district shall convene a meeting of the individualized education program (IEP) team and shall invite a representative of the chartered public school to that meeting. At the meeting, the IEP team shall determine how to ensure the provision of a free and appropriate public education in accordance with the child's IEP. The child's special education and related services shall be provided using any or all of the methods listed below starting with the least restrictive environment:
(1) The resident district may send staff to the chartered public school; or
(2) The resident district may contract with a service provider to provide the services at the chartered public school; or
(3) The resident district may provide the services at the resident district school; or
(4) The resident district may provide the services at the service provider's location; or
(5) The resident district may contract with a chartered public school to provide the services; and
(6) If the child requires transportation to and/or from the chartered public school before, after, or during the school day in order to receive special education and related services as provided in the IEP, the child's resident district shall provide transportation for the child.
(c) Consistent with section 5210(1) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and section 300.209 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, when a parent enrolls a child with a disability in a chartered public school, the child and the child's parents shall retain all rights under federal and state special education law, including the child's right to be provided with a free and appropriate public education, which includes all of the special education and related services included in the child's IEP. The child's resident district shall have the responsibility, including financial responsibility, to ensure the provision of the special education and related services in the child's IEP, and the chartered public school shall cooperate with the child's resident district in the provision of the child's special education and related services.
IV. Federal or other funding available in any year to a sending district shall, to the extent and in a manner acceptable to the funding source, be directed to a chartered public school in a receiving district on an eligible per pupil basis. This funding shall include, but not be limited to, funding under federal Chapters I and II of Title II, and Drug-Free Schools, in whatever form the funding is available in any year. This paragraph shall not apply to funding available to school districts under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
IV-a. The commissioner of the department of education shall apply for all federal funding available to chartered public schools under the No Child Left Behind Act, Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or other federal source of funds. The commissioner shall expend any such funds received in a manner acceptable to the funding source.
V. (a) A sending district may provide funds, services, equipment, materials or personnel to a chartered public school, in addition to the amounts specified in this section in accordance with the policies of the sending school district.
(b) A chartered public school may accept pupils at tuition rates at less than the amounts established by this chapter.
(c) A chartered public school, other than a charter conversion school, shall accept an otherwise eligible out-of-district pupil regardless of that pupil's sending district's tuition amount.
VI. A chartered public school may receive financial aid, private gifts, grants, or revenue as if it were a school district. A chartered public school shall not be compelled to accept funding from any source.
VII. No school building aid under RSA 198:15-a through 15-h shall be awarded to a chartered public school for the purpose of acquiring land or buildings, or for constructing, reconstructing, or improving the chartered public school, unless the building is owned by the school district, under lease to the chartered public school, and such lease does not include an option to purchase the building. A charter conversion school shall be eligible for school building aid.
X. There shall be an appropriation in the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2003 for the establishment of chartered public schools under this section. Chartered public schools which are eligible for grants under this program shall match funds provided by the state through private contributions in order to receive funding that exceeds the state's average per pupil cost for the grade level weight of the pupil. State funds shall be provided in addition to any other sums provided by the state. Grants under this section shall be administered and determined by the state board of education which shall have the authority to develop a grant application, written procedures and criteria used to determine eligibility for grants, and procedures for the administration of grants by recipients, including reporting requirements. The total grants provided under this program shall not exceed the amount of money appropriated in the budget, or transferred, or provided by gift or grant to the state for this purpose.
XI. Any money appropriated in the budget for matching chartered public school grants that remains unused after the department of education issues matching grants to eligible recipients under paragraph X shall be used to provide a one-year transitional grant to public school districts that have lost pupils as a result of the establishment of a chartered public school, and have paid tuition to the chartered public school in cash pursuant to subparagraph IX(a). For the first year in which a public school pupil leaves the public school and enrolls in a chartered public school, the school district that loses the pupil shall be eligible for a chartered public school transitional grant beginning July 1, 2004 and every fiscal year thereafter, in an amount per pupil equal to the amount determined in RSA 198:41. Such transitional grants shall be administered by the state board of education which shall have the authority to determine eligibility and the amount of money to be awarded to school districts under this section, subject to the amount appropriated in the budget.
Source. 1995, 260:6. 1997, 334:15. 1998, 268:4. 1999, 17:58, VI. 2003, 273:2, 3. 2005, 257:15, 17, 18. 2006, 301:1, 4, 7. 2008, 173:12; 274:27; 274:36; 354:1, 4. 2009, 241:7. 2011, 224:154; 228:2; 258:1. 2012, 185:1. 2013, 144:63. 2015, 276:193, 259; 276:194. 2016, 22:1, 2; 262:2; 262:4. 2017, 156:95, 154, eff. July 1, 2017.
194-B:12 Chartered Public Schools; Budgets.
That portion of a school district's estimated expenditures on chartered public school tuition shall be shown as a separate line item in a school district's budget.
Source. 1995, 260:6. 2009, 241:8, eff. Sept. 14, 2009.
194-B:13 Chartered Public Schools; Operations; Curriculum.
I. A chartered public school shall operate in accordance with its charter.
II. The internal form of governance of a chartered public school shall be determined by the school's charter.
III. The board of trustees, in consultation with teachers and the principal, shall determine the chartered public school's curriculum and develop the school's annual budget.
IV. The board of trustees shall be considered the public employer for the purpose of collective bargaining.
Source. 1995, 260:6. 2008, 354:1, eff. Sept. 5, 2008.
194-B:14 Chartered Public Schools; Employees.
I. Employees of chartered public schools shall be considered public employees for the purpose of collective bargaining.
II. (a) Any teacher may choose to be an employee of a chartered public school, in which case such teacher shall have the rights of a teacher in public education to join or organize collective bargaining units.
(b) Bargaining units at a chartered public school shall be separate from other bargaining units.
(c) No chartered public school teacher shall be a member of more than one bargaining unit.
(d) A teacher who serves as a member of the board of trustees of a chartered public school in which that teacher is an employee may not participate in or vote as a member of the board on collective bargaining matters.
(e) A teacher in a chartered public school shall have withdrawn from any bargaining unit with which that teacher may have been previously affiliated.
III. A public chartered public school may choose to participate in the state teacher retirement system, and service in a public chartered public school shall be deemed creditable service under RSA 100-A:4.
IV. The teaching staff of a chartered public school shall consist of a minimum of 50 percent of teachers either New Hampshire certified or having at least 3 years of teaching experience.
Source. 1995, 260:6. 2003, 273:8. 2008, 354:1, eff. Sept. 5, 2008.
194-B:15 Chartered Public Schools; Grievance Procedure.
I. Individuals or groups may complain to a chartered public school's board of trustees concerning any claimed violation of the provisions of the school's application and contract.
II. If, after presenting their complaint to the trustees, the individuals or groups believe their complaint has not been adequately addressed, they may submit their complaint to the school board, which shall investigate such complaint and make a determination. School board decisions with respect to grievances may be appealed to the state board.
Source. 1995, 260:6. 1997, 334:16. 2003, 273:5; 273:7, II. 2008, 354:1, eff. Sept. 5, 2008.
194-B:16 Charter Revocation; Probation.
I. Written petition to the state board to revoke a school's charter may be requested by the parent of any pupil currently attending that chartered public school, or by the school board of a host or receiving school district.
II. After reasonable notice has been provided to all affected parties, the state board may revoke a school's charter prior to the expiration of its term under the following circumstances:
(a) The school commits a material violation of any of the conditions, standards, or procedures set forth in its charter application and contract.
(b) The school fails to meet generally accepted standards for fiscal management.
(c) The school significantly violates the law.
(d) The school makes a material misrepresentation in its application or contract application.
(e) The school becomes insolvent or financially unstable.
(f) The school fails to comply with the reporting requirements in accordance with RSA 198:4-f.
(g) The school fails to comply with the reporting requirements in accordance with RSA 189:28, I.
III. Before revoking a school's charter, the state board shall consult with the school board and the board of trustees on the development and implementation of a remedial plan.
IV. The state board may place a chartered public school on probationary status for up to one year to allow the implementation of a remedial plan, after which, if the plan is unsuccessful, the charter shall be revoked.
V. Nothing contained in this section shall prevent the state board from immediately revoking a school's charter in circumstances posing extraordinary risk of harm to pupils.
VI. By the end of its final contract year, the chartered public school shall meet or exceed the objective academic test results or standards and goals as set forth in its application. If the school does not meet these results or standards and goals, it shall not be eligible for renewal of its charter.
VII. If a school's charter expires or is revoked, the school shall be dissolved under the provisions of its charter application and contract. If the contract provisions are silent or ambiguous as to disposition of any asset of the school, such asset shall revert to the school district in which the chartered public school is located at no cost to that district, subject to the school district's acceptance of the asset. Under no circumstances shall the school district be liable for any obligations of the dissolved chartered public school.
VIII. If a school's charter expires or is revoked, the parent of a pupil attending that school may apply to any other chartered public school eligible to receive tuition under the provisions of this chapter adopted by the school district. The pupil's sending district shall not be relieved of its obligation to educate that pupil in accordance with the district's policies.
Source. 1995, 260:6. 1997, 334:17-19. 2008, 354:1. 2009, 241:9, eff. Sept. 14, 2009. 2021, 44:4, eff. May 17, 2021.
194-B:17 State Board; Duties.
I. The state board of education shall establish guidelines and criteria consistent with this chapter to be used by applicants in drafting a chartered public school contract and by school boards to determine whether or not an applicant's chartered public school contract proposal conforms with the intent of this chapter.
II. The state board shall publish sample chartered public school contract agreements. There shall be no requirement that any of the terms and conditions of such sample agreements be adopted by any chartered public school, other than as specified in this chapter.
III. The state board shall disseminate information to the public on ways to form, convert, and operate a chartered public school.
IV. The state board shall adopt uniform statewide annual deadlines and procedures for pupil enrollment applications and school and parental enrollment decisions for chartered public schools.
V. The state board shall develop procedures and guidelines for revocation and renewal of a school's charter.
VI. The state board shall convene one or more working committees to study and make recommendations regarding the implementation and effectiveness of chartered public schools. The recommendations shall be provided to the legislative oversight committee in RSA 194-B:21.
VII. The state board shall ensure, through its process of granting new chartered public school charters, that, on a statewide basis, the operation of chartered public schools does not result in illegal discrimination against any category of pupils.
VIII. The state board shall annually report to the joint legislative oversight committee established in RSA 194-B:21 regarding chartered public school approvals and denials for the preceding 12 months and the reasons for such approvals or denials.
Source. 1995, 260:6. 2004, 222:8. 2008, 354:1. 2009, 241:10, 11, eff. Sept. 14, 2009.
194-B:18 State Board Rulemaking Authority.
The state board shall be authorized to adopt rules, under RSA 541-A, to permit administration of the provisions of this chapter.
Source. 1995, 260:6, eff. July 1, 1995.
194-B:19 Provisions Controlling; Voting.
I. The provisions of this chapter shall be controlling over any other contradictory or inconsistent provisions of law.
II. All votes and decisions in this chapter shall be determined by majority, unless otherwise specified.
Source. 1995, 260:6, eff. July 1, 1995.
194-B:20 Repealed by 1995, 260:9, eff. July 1, 2000.
194-B:21 Oversight Committee; Report.
I. There is hereby established a joint legislative oversight committee. The committee shall jointly meet at least once a year and shall monitor the effect of this chapter, make recommendations for any legislative changes with respect thereto, and make recommendations to the legislature to reduce the scope of, ease the administration of, simplify the compliance with, and, where appropriate, recommend to the legislature elimination of regulations and reduction of the amount of paperwork required. The committee shall include 3 senators appointed by the president of the senate, 3 members of the house appointed by the speaker of the house, and one member of the state board appointed by the chairperson of the state board who shall serve as a nonvoting member in an advisory capacity.
II. The committee shall submit a written report of its findings and recommendations to the president of the senate, the speaker of the house, and the chairpersons of the house and senate education committees on November 1 of each year, except for the year 2000, when the report shall be submitted on July 1.
Source. 1995, 260:6. 2008, 274:28, eff. July 1, 2008.
If any provision of this chapter, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect the other provisions or applications of the chapter which can be given effect without the invalid provisions or applications and to this end the provisions of this chapter are severable.
Source. 1995, 260:6, eff. July 1, 1995.