By Bill Short
Board members took the action Monday night during their regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by C. J. Haley and seconded by Mark Coulter.
The revisions, recommended by the Tennessee School Board Association, were approved on first reading at the board’s Oct. 7 meeting. The policy was first approved in March 2014.
It will apply to sponsors and potential sponsors of charter schools, not to charter schools converting from existing public schools.
A prospective charter school sponsor must notify the superintendent of its intent 60 days prior to Feb. 1 of the year preceding the one in which the proposed school plans to begin operation.
A sponsor seeking board approval of an initial charter school application must pay a $2,500 fee and complete the forms provided by the Tennessee Department of Education. The sponsor must also demonstrate that the school will be able to implement a viable program of quality education for its students.
If necessary, the board will appoint a team to assist in reviewing and evaluating charter school applications. The team will be composed of members of the district’s administrative staff, community members and a member of the board with relevant educational, organizational, financial and legal experience.
The board will designate a chairman of the review team to be the contact person for receiving applications and answering questions about the process. The superintendent will develop an orientation for the team to ensure consistent evaluation standards and the elimination of real or perceived conflicts of interest.
The board will require the superintendent to develop a procedure that includes a timeline for the team to receive, review and rule on applications. A copy of the procedure, including the review criteria, will be available to any interested party upon request.
The review team will:
(1) evaluate all applications based on the review criteria adopted by the board;
(2) recommend whether the board should approve, reject, or reject an application with stipulations for reconsideration; and
(3) recommend revocation, renewal or non-renewal of charter school contracts.
The board will adopt a resolution for either approval or denial of an application within 90 days after it is received, or the application will be deemed approved by law. The superintendent will report the board’s action to the state Department of Education.
The sponsor of an approved charter school will enter into a written agreement with the board that will be binding on the school’s governing body.
The board will receive an annual authorizer fee of 3 percent of the annual per-student state and local allocations, or $35,000, whichever is less.