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Fast Track Replication of High Quality Charter Schools


ItemDescription
Policy TitleFast Track Replication of High Quality Charter Schools
Policy CategoryPublic School Employee Charter Schools Administration (CHTR)
Policy IDCHTR-016
Policy Date2016-04-07
Previous Policy Dates09/04/2014, 04/02/2015

Formerly TCS-U-016


  1. Purpose and Definitions
  1. Overview

A charter school model that has been successfully implemented in North Carolina or elsewhere should serve as a platform on which additional schools could and should operate. Accordingly, the State Board of Education (SBE) may, in certain well-defined instances, grant permission for a non-profit corporation board of directors (board) to replicate either its own successful model, or to employ an educational management company (EMO) or a charter management organization (CMO) to replicate a successful model currently being operated under the management of the EMO or CMO.  The SBE may also, in certain well-defined instances, grant permission for a non-profit corporation board to “fast track” such a replication by foregoing the planning year normally required for newly-approved charter applicants.  This Policy outlines the criteria and process by which the SBE may authorize fast-track replication.

 Nothing in this policy shall be construed to prohibit a North Carolina non-profit corporation board that seeks to replicate another charter school from doing so through the regular application process and, upon approval, receiving the planning year trainings from NCDPI.

2. Definitions

a.“Replication” is the act of copying, recreating, or repeating, in this case a successful charter school model.  A "model" would include components such as the mission, curriculum, governance, policies and procedures inherent in the operation of the charter school.  A "replication" would require the utilization of one charter school "model" to form the creation of a new charter school.

b. “Model” constitutes components such as the core mission and function of a charter school, including its governance, its curriculum, its organizational structure, its targeted population, and other characteristics of the school, such as small class size, thematic academics, extended day, etc.

c. “Fast-Track Replication” is a special form of replication in which the approved applicant foregoes the planning year normally required of new charter school applicants.  The "fast-track" applicant will still be required to participate in a one-day basic training workshop that will be provided by the NCDPI. 

B.         Eligibility Criteria

1. A non-profit corporation board that currently operates a charter school in NC is eligible to apply to replicate its currently existing model only if the non-profit corporation board’s current school or schools demonstrate a consistent track record of academic, financial, and operational success.  If the board operates more than one school, each school must meet this standard.  To meet this standard, the non-profit corporation board must meet each of the following conditions:

a. Each school operated by the non-profit corporation must have academic outcomes at least comparable to those of the students enrolled in the LEAs in which they are located.  In addition, each school operated by the non-profit corporation must meet or exceed student growth consistent with State standards, for the three years immediately preceding the application, and maintain that growth throughout the application period.

b. Each school operated by the non-profit corporation must have unqualified audits for the three years immediately preceding the application and must maintain that fiscal standard throughout the application period.

c. Each school operated by the non-profit corporation must have resolved any noncompliance issues cited by NCDPI during the three years immediately preceding the application and must maintain this standard throughout the application period.

d. A majority of the non-profit corporation board members and 50% or greater of the board officers must be North Carolina residents.

2. A non-profit corporation board that does not currently operate a charter school in NC is eligible to apply to replicate through fast-track replication an existing model operated by an EMO/CMO.  The non-profit corporation board is eligible to apply only if the schools operated by the EMO/CMO have a consistent track record of academic, financial, and operational success.  The non-profit corporation board is eligible replicate an existing model operated by the EMO/CMO only if the non-profit corporation board meets each of the following conditions:

a. The non-profit corporation board must demonstrate that each of the schools being managed by the EMO/CMO in North Carolina (1) have an academic proficiency comparable to the LEAs in which the current schools are located; or (2) meet or exceed growth for the three years immediately preceding the application at issue.  If the EMO/CMO does not currently manage any schools in NC or the schools it manages in NC do not yet have the data listed above, the non-profit corporation board must demonstrate to the SBE that the schools operated in other states by the EMO/CMO meet similarly rigorous standards for academic performance.  The EMO/CMO must continue to meet these standards throughout the application period.

b. The non-profit corporation board must demonstrate that each of the schools in North Carolina managed by the EMO/CMO have unqualified audits without fiscal compliance issues for three years immediately preceding the application.  If the EMO/CMO does not currently manage any schools in NC or the schools it manages in NC do not yet have the data listed above, the non-profit corporation board must demonstrate to the SBE that the schools operated in other states by the EMO/CMO meet similarly rigorous standards for financial performance.  The non-profit corporation board must maintain this standard throughout the application period.

c. A majority of the non-profit corporation board members and 50% or greater of the board officers must be North Carolina residents.

C.  General Requirements

 1. In addition to the specific requirements set forth above, the SBE may impose reasonable requirements both in the review and application stages as well as in the approval process.  The SBE’s obligation and responsibility to ensure quality charter schools supersedes an applicant’s opportunity to apply for fast-track replication.

2. In addition to considering growth and proficiency and financial audits, the SBE may consider any other relevant factors in determining whether to grant a fast-track replication request, including the needs of the particular geographical area proposed to be served by the replicated model; the ability of the non-profit corporation board to manage additional schools; the abilities and strengths of the non-profit corporation board that seeks to employ the EMO/CMO; and the community support for the replicated model.

D. Accountability

1. For purposes of accountability, each school within a network of schools operated by a non-profit corporation board or an EMO/CMO is a separate and distinct charter school and will be assessed based upon its own separate academic, financial, and operational performance.

 2. The strengths or weaknesses of other schools are not factors in determining whether the SBE should take action against an individual school; however, the strengths and weaknesses of all schools in a network may influence the SBE’s decision regarding whether or not to allow fast-track replication of a school in that network.

3. The SBE, DPI, and the OCS will observe and evaluate schools that are replications to the same extent and in the same manner as the State monitors all charter schools.

 4. The non-profit corporation board shall ensure that, with respect to each of the schools in the EMO/CMO’s network, the public will have open access to board members and meetings of the board.

 

 

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