2023 Regular Session
By: Representatives Boyd (19th), Williamson
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 37-28-7, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE STATE INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING AND COMMUNITY AND JUNIOR COLLEGES, IN ADDITION TO THE MISSISSIPPI CHARTER SCHOOL AUTHORIZER BOARD, TO AUTHORIZE CHARTER SCHOOLS; TO REQUIRE STATE INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING AND COMMUNITY AND JUNIOR COLLEGES DESIRING TO AUTHORIZE CHARTER SCHOOLS TO ESTABLISH AN OFFICE SPECIFICALLY FOR THAT PURPOSE; TO REQUIRE THE CHAIRMAN OF THE CHARTER SCHOOL AUTHORIZER BOARD TO BE SELECTED FROM AMONG THE MEMBERS APPOINTED TO THE BOARD BY THE GOVERNOR AND LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR; TO AMEND SECTION 37-28-5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE DEFINITIONS USED IN THE MISSISSIPPI CHARTER SCHOOLS ACT IN CONFORMITY TO THE PRECEDING PROVISIONS; TO AMEND SECTION 37-28-9, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE CHARTER SCHOOL AUTHORIZERS TO AMEND CHARTER SCHOOL CONTRACTS IN ORDER TO APPROVE MERGERS, CONSOLIDATIONS AND RECONFIGURATIONS WITHOUT CLOSING A CHARTER SCHOOL; TO AMEND SECTION 37-28-11, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROHIBIT AN AUTHORIZER THAT RECEIVES AN APPROPRIATION FOR ITS OPERATIONAL SUPPORT FROM RETAINING A PORTION OF PER-PUPIL ALLOCATIONS FOR ITS SUPPORT; TO AMEND SECTION 37-28-13, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT; TO AMEND SECTION 37-28-15, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE CHARTER SCHOOL AUTHORIZERS TO LIMIT THE INFORMATION INITIALLY SUBMITTED BY A CHARTER SCHOOL APPLICANT TO THAT WHICH THE AUTHORIZER DEEMS ESSENTIAL; TO AMEND SECTION 37-28-19, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE CERTAIN APPLICANTS THAT ARE DENIED A CHARTER TO REMEDY THE APPLICATION'S DEFICIENCIES AND REAPPLY BEFORE THE NEXT REGULAR APPLICATION PROCESS; TO AMEND SECTION 37-28-21, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE CHARTER SCHOOLS TO APPLY FOR OVERSIGHT WITH A DIFFERENT AUTHORIZER DURING THE TERM OF AN EXISTING CHARTER CONTRACT; TO AMEND SECTION 37-28-23, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE MANNER IN WHICH A CHARTER SCHOOL'S UNDERSERVED POPULATION IS COMPARED TO THAT OF THE LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT AND TO AUTHORIZE AN ENROLLMENT PREFERENCE FOR CHILDREN TRANSFERRING TO A CHARTER SCHOOL FROM ANOTHER SCHOOL CHARTERED BY THE SAME AUTHORIZER; TO AMEND SECTION 37-28-29, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO LIMIT COMPARISONS TO A LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT'S ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE TO FIVE PERCENT OF THE OVERALL ACADEMIC EVALUATION OF A CHARTER SCHOOL; TO AMEND SECTION 37-28-33, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE CHARTER SCHOOLS THAT RECEIVE A RENEWAL CONTRACT OF LESS THAN FIVE YEARS TO APPEAL THE DECISION IN THE SAME MANNER THAT NONRENEWALS AND REVOCATIONS ARE APPEALED; TO AMEND SECTION 37-28-37, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO ELIMINATE ANNUAL PEER COMMITTEE REPORTS ON THE SUFFICIENCY OF CHARTER SCHOOL FUNDING AND TO REQUIRE ADDITIONAL REPORTS FROM CHARTER SCHOOL AUTHORIZERS; TO AMEND SECTION 37-28-47, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO EXCLUDE PROVISIONALLY LICENSED TEACHERS AND TEACHERS OUT OF FIELD FROM THE 25% LIMITATION ON CHARTER SCHOOL TEACHERS EXEMPT FROM LICENSURE REQUIREMENTS; TO AMEND SECTION 37-28-49, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT; TO AMEND SECTION 37-28-55, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE MANNER IN WHICH AVERAGE DAILY ATTENDANCE, FOR PURPOSES OF STATE FUNDING, AT CHARTER SCHOOLS IS CALCULATED; TO AMEND SECTION 37-28-57, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE CHARTER SCHOOLS TO CONSULT WITH THE STATE AUDITOR IN DEVELOPING FINANCIAL REGULATIONS AND TO PROVIDE THAT CHARTER SCHOOLS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO ADHERE TO FINANCIAL POLICIES ADOPTED BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION UNLESS A RELEVANT STATUTE IS SPECIFICALLY MADE APPLICABLE TO CHARTER SCHOOLS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 37-28-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-28-7. (1) A charter school in the State of Mississippi may be authorized by:
(a) The Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board created under subsection (2) of this section; or
(b) An office of a state institution of higher learning or community or junior college in this state which has been created by the president of that state institution or community or junior college specifically for the purpose of authorizing one or more charter schools.
(2) There is created
the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board as a state agency with * * *
chartering jurisdiction in the State
of Mississippi. * * *
( * * *
3) (a) The mission of the Mississippi
Charter School Authorizer Board is to authorize high-quality charter schools,
particularly schools designed to expand opportunities for underserved students,
consistent with the purposes of this chapter. Subject to the restrictions and
conditions prescribed in this subsection, the Mississippi Charter School
Authorizer Board may authorize charter schools within the geographical
boundaries of any school district.
(b) The Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board may approve a maximum of fifteen (15) qualified charter applications during a fiscal year.
(c) In any school district designated as an "A," "B" or "C" school district by the State Board of Education under the accreditation rating system at the time of application, the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board may authorize charter schools only if a majority of the members of the local school board votes at a public meeting to endorse the application or to initiate the application on its own initiative.
( * * *
4) The Mississippi Charter School
Authorizer Board shall consist of seven (7) members, to be appointed as
(a) Three (3) members appointed by the Governor, with one (1) member being from each of the Mississippi Supreme Court Districts.
(b) Three (3) members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor, with one (1) member being from each of the Mississippi Supreme Court Districts.
(c) One (1) member appointed by the State Superintendent of Public Education.
All appointments must be made with the advice and consent of the Senate. In making the appointments, the appointing authority shall ensure diversity among members of the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board.
( * * *
5) Members appointed to the
Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board collectively must possess strong
experience and expertise in public and nonprofit governance, management and
finance, public school leadership, assessment, curriculum and instruction, and
public education law. Each member of the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer
Board must have demonstrated an understanding of and commitment to charter
schooling as a strategy for strengthening public education.
( * * *
6) To establish staggered terms of
office, the initial term of office for the three (3) Mississippi Charter School
Authorizer Board members appointed by the Governor shall be four (4) years and
thereafter shall be three (3) years; the initial term of office for the three
(3) members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor shall be three (3) years and
thereafter shall be three (3) years; and the initial term of office for the
member appointed by the State Superintendent of Public Education shall be two
(2) years and thereafter shall be three (3) years. No member may serve more
than two (2) consecutive terms. The initial appointments must be made before
September 1, 2013.
( * * *
7) The Mississippi Charter School
Authorizer Board shall meet as soon as practical after September 1, 2013, upon
the call of the Governor, and shall organize for business by selecting a
chairman from among the members appointed by the Governor or Lieutenant Governor
and adopting bylaws. Subsequent meetings shall be called by the chairman.
( * * *
8) An individual member of the
Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board may be removed by the board if the
member's personal incapacity renders the member incapable or unfit to discharge
the duties of the office or if the member is absent from a number of meetings
of the board, as determined and specified by the board in its bylaws. Whenever
a vacancy on the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board exists, the
original appointing authority shall appoint a member for the remaining portion
of the term.
( * * *
9) No member of the Mississippi
Charter School Authorizer Board or employee, agent or representative of the
board may serve simultaneously as an employee, trustee, agent, representative,
vendor or contractor of a charter school authorized by the board.
( * * *
10) The Mississippi Charter School
Authorizer Board shall appoint an individual to serve as the Executive Director
of the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board. The executive director
shall possess the qualifications established by the board which are based on
national best practices, and shall possess an understanding of state and
federal education law. The executive director, who shall serve at the will and
pleasure of the board, shall devote his full time to the proper administration
of the board and the duties assigned to him by the board and shall be paid a
salary established by the board, subject to the approval of the State Personnel
Board. Subject to the availability of funding, the executive director may
employ such administrative staff as may be necessary to assist the director and
board in carrying out the duties and directives of the Mississippi Charter School
( * * *
11) The Mississippi Charter School
Authorizer Board is authorized to obtain suitable office space for
administrative purposes. In acquiring a facility or office space, the
authorizer board shall adhere to all policies and procedures required by the Department
of Finance and Administration and the Public Procurement Review Board.
(12) A state institution of higher learning or a community or junior college that establishes an office for the purpose of authorizing a charter school may accept applications and authorize contracts for the organization and operation of a charter school. The institution or college shall exercise the same authority, powers and duties granted to, and be subject to the same restrictions and limitations placed on, the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board under this chapter.
SECTION 2. Section 37-28-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-28-5. As used in this chapter, the following words and phrases have the meanings ascribed in this section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
means any person or group that develops and submits an application for a charter
school to * * *
"Application" means a proposal from an applicant to * * *
an authorizer to enter into a
charter contract whereby the proposed school obtains charter school status.
"Authorizer" means * * *
an entity permitted under Section 37-28-7 to
review applications, decide whether to approve or reject applications, enter
into charter contracts with applicants, oversee charter schools, and decide
whether to renew, not renew, or revoke charter contracts.
contract" means a fixed-term, renewable contract between a charter school
and * * *
authorizer which outlines the roles, powers, responsibilities and performance
expectations for each party to the contract.
(e) "Charter school"
means a public school that is established and operating under the terms of
charter contract between the school's governing board and * * *
an authorizer. The term
"charter school" includes a conversion charter school and start-up charter
(f) "Conversion charter school" means a charter school that existed as a noncharter public school before becoming a charter school.
(g) "Education service provider" means a charter management organization, school design provider or any other partner entity with which a charter school intends to contract for educational design, implementation or comprehensive management.
board" means the independent board of a charter school which is party to
the charter contract with * * *
the an authorizer and whose members have been elected
or selected pursuant to the school's application.
(i) "Noncharter public school" means a public school that is under the direct management, governance and control of a school board or the state.
(j) "Parent" means a parent, guardian or other person or entity having legal custody of a child.
(k) "School board" means a school board exercising management and control over a local school district and the schools of that district pursuant to the State Constitution and state statutes.
(l) "School district" means a governmental entity that establishes and supervises one or more public schools within its geographical limits pursuant to state statutes.
(m) "Start-up charter school" means a charter school that did not exist as a noncharter public school before becoming a charter school.
(n) "Student" means any child who is eligible for attendance in a public school in the state.
students" means students * * *
who qualify for at-risk student funding under the Mississippi Adequate Education
Program and students who are identified as having special educational needs.
SECTION 3. Section 37-28-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-28-9. (1) * * *
An authorizer is responsible for
exercising, in accordance with this chapter, the following powers and duties:
(a) Developing chartering policies and maintaining practices consistent with nationally recognized principles and standards for quality charter authorizing in all major areas of authorizing responsibility, including:
(i) Organizational capacity and infrastructure;
(ii) Solicitation and evaluation of charter applications;
(iii) Performance contracting;
(iv) Ongoing charter school oversight and evaluation; and
(v) Charter renewal decision-making;
(b) Approving quality charter applications that meet identified educational needs and promote a diversity of educational choices;
(c) Declining to approve weak or inadequate charter applications;
(d) Negotiating and executing charter contracts with approved charter schools;
(e) Amending charter school contracts, including approving mergers, consolidations or reconfigurations without the need for closure and restart of a charter school;
( * * *
f) Monitoring, in accordance with charter
contract terms, the performance and legal compliance of charter schools;
( * * *
g) Determining whether each charter contract
merits renewal, nonrenewal or revocation; * * *
( * * *
h) Applying for any federal funds that
may be available for the implementation of charter school programs * * * ; and
(i) Complying with the Mississippi Administrative Procedures Law for the adoption of any rule, policy, guideline or other regulation, including any performance framework, renewal framework or any other relevant document with which charter schools are mandated to comply.
(2) The authorizer shall carry out all its duties under this chapter in a manner consistent with nationally recognized principles and standards and with the spirit and intent of this act.
(3) The authorizer may
delegate its duties to * * *
an executive director * * * , general counsel or office appointed
to manage charter authorizing operations.
(4) Regulation by * * *
an authorizer shall be limited to
those powers and duties prescribed in this section and all others prescribed by
law, consistent with the spirit and intent of this chapter.
(5) Except in the case of gross negligence or reckless disregard of the safety and well-being of another person, the authorizer, members of the authorizer's board acting in their official capacity, and employees of the authorizer tasked with managing or executing charter authorizing operations, acting in their official capacity, are immune from civil liability with respect to all activities related to a charter school approved by the authorizer.
SECTION 4. Section 37-28-11, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-28-11. (1) To cover the
costs of overseeing charter schools in accordance with this chapter, * * *
an authorizer * * * may receive up to three percent
(3%) of annual per-pupil allocations received by a charter school from state
and local funds for each charter school it authorizes. However, this subsection
does not apply to an authorizer that receives a state appropriation for the purpose
of defraying the expenses of that authorizer.
(2) * * *
An authorizer may receive
appropriate gifts, grants and donations of any kind from any public or private
entity to carry out the purposes of this chapter, subject to all lawful terms
and conditions under which the gifts, grants or donations are given.
(3) * * *
An authorizer may expend its
resources, seek grant funds and establish partnerships to support its charter
school authorizing activities.
SECTION 5. Section 37-28-13, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-28-13. (1) Upon
request, the State Department of Education shall assist * * *
an authorizer with implementing the authorizer's decisions by providing
such technical assistance and information as may be necessary for the implementation
of this chapter.
(2) Before July 1 of each
year, * * *
authorizer shall publish a pamphlet, which may be in electronic form,
(a) All statutes in Title 37, Mississippi Code of 1972, which are applicable to the charter schools;
(b) Any rules, regulations and policies adopted by the State Superintendent of Public Education, the State Board of Education or the State Department of Education with which charter schools must comply by virtue of the applicability to charter schools, as well as other public schools, of the state law to which those relevant rules, regulations and policies pertain; and
(c) Any other state and federal laws and matters that are relevant to the establishment and operation of charter schools in the State of Mississippi.
* * *
Each authorizer shall make the pamphlet available to the public on * * * its website and shall notify
all prospective applicants of the pamphlet.
SECTION 6. Section 37-28-15, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-28-15. (1) To solicit,
encourage and guide the development of quality charter school applications, * * *
an authorizer shall issue and
publicize a request for proposals before September 1 of each year; however,
during 2013, the * * *
Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board shall issue and publicize a
request for proposals before December 1. The content and dissemination of the
request for proposals must be consistent with the purposes and requirements of
(2) * * *
An authorizer annually shall
establish and disseminate a * * * timeline for charter approval or
(3) * * *
An authorizer's request for
proposals must include the following:
(a) A clear statement of any preferences the authorizer wishes to grant to applications intended to help underserved students;
(b) A description of the performance framework that the authorizer has developed for charter school oversight and evaluation in accordance with Section 37-28-29;
(c) The criteria that will guide the authorizer's decision to approve or deny a charter application; and
(d) A clear statement of appropriately detailed questions, as well as guidelines, concerning the format and content essential for applicants to demonstrate the capacities necessary to establish and operate a successful charter school.
(4) In addition to all
other requirements, and subject to the provisions of subsection (5) of this section,
the request for proposals must require charter applications to provide or
describe thoroughly all of the following * * *
elements of the proposed school plan:
(a) An executive summary;
(b) The mission and vision of the proposed charter school, including identification of the targeted student population and the community the school hopes to serve;
(c) The location or geographic area proposed for the school;
(d) The grades to be served each year for the full term of the charter contract;
(e) Minimum, planned and maximum enrollment per grade per year for the term of the charter contract;
(f) Evidence of need and community support for the proposed charter school;
(g) Background information, including proof of United States citizenship, on the applicants, the proposed founding governing board members and, if identified, members of the proposed school leadership and management team. The background information must include annual student achievement data, disaggregated by subgroup, for every school under the current or prior management of each board member and leadership team member;
(h) The school's proposed calendar, including the proposed opening and closing dates for the school term, and a sample daily schedule. The school must be kept in session no less than the minimum number of school days established for all public schools in Section 37-13-63;
(i) A description of the school's academic program, aligned with state standards;
(j) A description of the school's instructional design, including the type of learning environment (such as classroom-based or independent study), class size and structure, curriculum overview and teaching methods;
(k) The school's plan for using internal and external assessments to measure and report student progress on the performance framework developed by the authorizer in accordance with Section 37-28-29;
(l) The school's plan for identifying and successfully serving students with disabilities (including all of the school's proposed policies pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, 20 USCS Section 1400 et seq., Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 USCS Section 794, and Title 11 of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 USCS Section 12101 et seq., and the school's procedures for securing and providing evaluations and related services pursuant to federal law), students who are English language learners, students who are academically behind, and gifted students, including, but not limited to, compliance with any applicable laws and regulations;
(m) A description of cocurricular or extracurricular programs and how those programs will be funded and delivered;
(n) Plans and timelines for student recruitment and enrollment, including lottery policies and procedures that ensure that every student has an equal opportunity to be considered in the lottery and that the lottery is equitable, randomized, transparent and impartial so that students are accepted in a charter school without regard to disability, income level, race, religion or national origin;
(o) The school's student discipline policies, including those for special education students;
(p) An organizational chart that clearly presents the school's organizational structure, including lines of authority and reporting between the governing board, education service provider, staff, related bodies (such as advisory bodies or parent and teacher councils), and all other external organizations that will play a role in managing the school;
(q) A clear description of the roles and responsibilities of the governing board, education service provider, school leadership team, management team and all other entities shown in the organizational chart;
(r) A staffing chart for the school's first year, and a staffing plan for the term of the charter;
(s) Plans for recruiting and developing school leadership and staff, which may not include utilization of nonimmigrant foreign worker visa programs;
(t) The school's leadership and teacher employment policies, including performance evaluation plans;
(u) Proposed governing bylaws;
(v) Explanations of any partnerships or contractual relationships central to the school's operations or mission;
(w) The school's plans for providing transportation, food service and all other significant operational or ancillary services;
(x) Opportunities and expectations for parent involvement;
(y) A detailed school start-up plan, identifying tasks, timelines and responsible individuals;
(z) A description of the school's financial plans and policies, including financial controls and audit requirements;
(aa) A description of the insurance coverage the school will obtain;
(bb) Start-up and five-year budgets with clearly stated assumptions;
(cc) Start-up and first-year cash flow projections with clearly stated assumptions;
(dd) A disclosure of all sources of private funding and all funds from foreign sources, including gifts from foreign governments, foreign legal entities and domestic entities affiliated with either foreign governments or foreign legal entities. For the purposes of this paragraph, the term "foreign" means a country or jurisdiction outside of any state or territory of the United States;
(ee) Evidence of anticipated fundraising contributions, if claimed in the application; and
(ff) A sound facilities plan, including backup or contingency plans if appropriate.
(5) An authorizer may limit its request to those elements in subsection (4) deemed essential, as identified by the authorizer, for the authorizer's initial review of applications, and applications may be rejected based upon the information provided for those elements during the initial review and any additional review before a final review in which a determination is made. However, an applicant must submit, and an authorizer must evaluate, all elements enumerated in subsection (4) before an application may be approved.
( * * *
6) In the case of an application to
establish a charter school by converting an existing noncharter public school
to charter school status, the request for proposals additionally shall require
the applicant to demonstrate support for the proposed charter school conversion
by a petition signed by a majority of teachers or a majority of parents of
students in the existing noncharter public school, or by a majority vote of the
local school board or, in the case of schools in districts under state conservatorship,
by the State Board of Education.
( * * *
7) In the case of a proposed charter
school that intends to contract with an education service provider for
substantial educational services, management services or both types of
services, the request for proposals additionally shall require the applicant
(a) Provide evidence of the education service provider's success in serving student populations similar to the targeted population, including demonstrated academic achievement as well as successful management of nonacademic school functions, if applicable;
(b) Provide a term sheet setting forth: the proposed duration of the service contract; roles and responsibilities of the governing board, the school staff and the education service provider; the scope of services and resources to be provided by the education service provider; performance evaluation measures and timelines; the compensation structure, including clear identification of all fees to be paid to the education service provider; methods of contract oversight and enforcement; investment disclosure; and conditions for renewal and termination of the contract;
(c) Disclose and explain any existing or potential conflicts of interest between the school governing board and proposed service provider or any affiliated business entities; and
(d) Background information, including proof of United States citizenship, on the principal individuals affiliated with the education service provider.
( * * *
8) In the case of a charter school
proposal from an applicant that currently operates one or more schools in any
state or nation, the request for proposals additionally shall require the
applicant to provide evidence of past performance and current capacity for
growth. The applicant shall be required to submit clear evidence that it has
produced * * *
significant * * *
growth in student achievement or consistently produced proficiency
levels as measured on state achievement tests.
SECTION 7. Section 37-28-19, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-28-19. (1) In reviewing
and evaluating charter applications, * * *
an authorizer shall employ
procedures, practices and criteria consistent with nationally recognized
principles and standards for quality charter authorizing. The application
review process must include thorough evaluation of each written charter application
and in-person interview with the applicant group.
(2) In deciding whether to
approve charter applications, * * *
an authorizer must:
(a) Grant charters
only to applicants that have provided evidence of competence in each element of
the authorizer's published approval criteria, and in the case of an applicant
that currently operates one or more schools in any state or nation, clear
evidence that the management or leadership team of the charter school or
schools currently operated by the applicant has produced * * *
significant * * * growth in student achievement or
consistently produced proficiency levels as measured on state achievement tests;
(b) Base decisions on documented evidence collected through the application review process; and
(c) Follow charter-granting policies and practices that are transparent, based on merit and avoid conflicts of interest or any appearance thereof.
(3) Before the expiration
of one hundred eighty (180) days after the filing of a charter application, * * *
an authorizer must approve or deny
the charter application; however, an application submitted by a public
historically black college or university (HBCU), in partnership with a national
nonprofit public HBCU support organization, for a charter school to be operated
on or near the campus of the HBCU must be considered for expedited approval by
the authorizer. * * *
An authorizer shall adopt by resolution all charter approval or denial
decisions in an open meeting of the authorizer * * * .
(4) An approval decision may include, if appropriate, reasonable conditions that the charter applicant must meet before a charter contract may be executed pursuant to Section 37-28-21.
(5) For a charter denial, * * *
an authorizer shall state clearly,
for public record, its reasons for denial. A denied applicant may reapply
subsequently with the authorizer. An applicant
that is denied after having progressed to a later stage in the evaluation
process, which must be identified by the authorizer, may not be required to
wait until the next regular application process to reapply but must be allowed
one (1) opportunity before the next regular application process to demonstrate to
the authorizer that the applicant has remedied the conditions upon which the denial
(6) Before the expiration
of ten (10) days after taking action to approve or deny a charter application, * * *
an authorizer shall provide a report
to the applicant. The report must 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 procedural requirements and
application elements set forth in this chapter.
SECTION 8. Section 37-28-21, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-28-21. (1) * * *
An authorizer shall grant an initial
charter to each qualified applicant for a term of five (5) operating years.
The term of the charter shall commence on the charter school's first day of
operation. An approved charter school may delay its opening for one (1) school
year in order to plan and prepare for the school's opening. If the school
requires an opening delay of more than one (1) school year, the school must
request an extension from the authorizer. The authorizer may grant or deny the
extension depending on the particular school's circumstances.
(2) (a) * * *
An authorizer and the governing
board of * * *
an approved charter school shall execute a charter contract that clearly
sets forth the academic and operational performance expectations and measures
by which the charter school will be judged and the administrative relationship
between the authorizer and charter school, including each party's rights and
duties. The performance expectations and measures set forth in the charter
contract must include, but need not be limited to, applicable federal and state
accountability requirements. The performance provisions may be refined or
amended by mutual agreement after the charter school is operating and has
collected baseline achievement data for its enrolled students.
(b) * * *
For charter schools authorized by the Mississippi
Charter School Authorizer Board, the charter contract must be signed by the
chairman of the * * *
board and the president of the charter school's governing board. For charter
schools authorized by a state institution of higher learning or community or junior
college, the charter contract must be signed by the president of the state institution
or community or junior college, or the president's designee, and the president of
the charter school's governing board.
(c) A charter school
may not commence operations without a charter contract executed in accordance
with this section and approved in an open meeting of the authorizer * * *
(d) An approved charter school may apply for operational oversight to an authorizer other than its current authorizer at any time so long as the established processes of the authorizer to whom the application is submitted are followed. A charter contract with an authorizer other than the current authorizer must include the effective date on which the subsequent authorizer will begin its oversight of the school, which may not be less than thirty (30) days after a subsequent contract is executed. When the contract with the subsequent authorizer is executed, the charter school must notify the current authorizer of the date on which the subsequent authorizer will assume oversight responsibilities. On the effective date of the subsequent contract, the initial charter contract must be considered terminated.
(e) An approved charter school seeking to change authorizers at the end of a charter term is not required to apply for renewal with the current authorizer but may elect to apply for a subsequent contract with a different authorizer. A charter school's change to a different authorizer does not constitute a closure and restart of the charter school.
(f) An authorizer may accept or reject the application of an existing charter school seeking to change to a different authorizer, based on that authorizer's adopted policy for accepting applications of charter schools initially authorized by another authorizer. The application for an existing charter school to apply to a different authorizer need not be as extensive as required under Section 37-28-15; however, the approval process must comply with Section 37-28-19. A charter school that has had its initial charter revoked or nonrenewed by an authorizer must complete the application process described in Section 37-28-15 in order for any authorizer to grant a new charter contract to the school.
(g) A charter school is not required to notify its current authorizer of a pending application to another authorizer. If an authorizer learns of a charter school's intent to change to a different authorizer, the current authorizer may not retaliate against the charter school, either formally or informally, such as by threatening revocation before a new contract is executed. An authorizer may not continue to assess an authorizer fee to a charter school after the effective date of a subsequent charter contract, as established pursuant to paragraph (d) of this subsection.
(3) * * *
An authorizer may establish
reasonable preopening requirements or conditions to monitor the start-up progress
of a newly approved charter school and to ensure that the school is prepared to
open smoothly on the date agreed and that the school meets all building,
health, safety, insurance and other legal requirements before the school's
(4) This section may not be construed to preclude the approval and operation of a virtual charter school.
SECTION 9. Section 37-28-23, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-28-23. (1) A charter school must be open to:
(a) Any student residing in the geographical boundaries of the school district in which the charter school is located; and
(b) Any student who
resides in the geographical boundaries of a school district that was rated
"C," "D" or "F" at the time the charter school
was approved by the authorizer * * *
, or who resides in the geographical
boundaries of a school district rated "C," or "D" or
"F" at the time the student enrolls.
(2) A school district may not require any student enrolled in the school district to attend a charter school.
(3) Except as otherwise provided under subsection (8)(d) of this section, a charter school may not limit admission based on ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, income level, disabling condition, proficiency in the English language, or academic or athletic ability.
(4) A charter school may limit admission to students within a given age group or grade level, including pre-kindergarten students, and may be organized around a special emphasis, theme or concept as stated in the school's application.
(5) (a) The schoolwide
underserved student composition of a charter school * * *
must reflect * * * the
school district in which the charter school is located * * * . The schoolwide
underserved student composition of a charter school must be at least eighty percent
(80%) of that of the comparison school district's composition in corresponding grade
levels. If the schoolwide underserved student composition of * * * a charter school * * * is less than eighty percent (80%)
of the * * * underserved student composition in corresponding
grade levels of the school district in which the charter school is located,
despite the school's best efforts, the authorizer must consider the * * * charter school's recruitment
efforts and the underserved student composition of the applicant pool in
determining whether the * * * applicant or charter school is operating in a * * * discriminatory manner.
A finding by the authorizer that a charter school is operating in a
discriminatory manner justifies the revocation of a charter.
(b) If a comparison school district is under a federal or state required remediation plan due to disproportionate identification of students with disabilities, the authorizer must consider the impact of this disproportionate identification in the comparison school district when determining the appropriate level of students with disabilities a charter school must enroll in the schoolwide underserved student population.
(6) A charter school must enroll all students who wish to attend the school unless the number of students exceeds the capacity of a program, class, grade level or building.
(7) If capacity is insufficient to enroll all students who wish to attend the school based on initial application, the charter school must select students through a lottery.
(8) (a) Any noncharter public school or part of a noncharter public school converting to a charter school shall adopt and maintain a policy giving an enrollment preference to students who reside within the former attendance area of that public school. If the charter school has excess capacity after enrolling students residing within the former attendance area of the school, students outside of the former attendance area of the school, but within the geographical boundaries of the school district in which the charter school is located, are eligible for enrollment. If the number of students applying for admission exceeds the capacity of a program, class, grade level or building of the charter school, the charter school must admit students on the basis of a lottery.
(b) A charter school must give an enrollment preference to students enrolled in the charter school during the preceding school year and to siblings of students already enrolled in the charter school. An enrollment preference for returning students excludes those students from entering into a lottery.
(c) A charter school may give an enrollment preference to children of the charter school's applicant, governing board members and full-time employees, so long as those children constitute no more than ten percent (10%) of the charter school's total student population.
(d) A charter school
shall give an enrollment preference to underserved children as defined in
Section 37-28-5 * * *
until the charter school meets its required
underserved student composition. The charter school may continue to give an
enrollment preference to underserved children after the charter school meets its
required underserved student composition.
(e) A charter school may give an enrollment preference to children transferring from a charter school whose contract is with the same governing board or which is listed as a school under the same contract. This enrollment preference includes children who have completed the final grade of one (1) school and are transferring to a higher grade in a different school.
(f) This section does not preclude the formation of a charter school whose mission is focused on serving students with disabilities, 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. If capacity is insufficient to enroll all students who wish to attend the school, the charter school must select students through a lottery.
SECTION 10. Section 37-28-29, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-28-29. (1) The performance provisions within a charter contract must be based on a performance framework that clearly sets forth the academic, financial and operational performance indicators, measures and metrics that will guide the authorizer's evaluations of the charter school. The performance framework must include indicators, measures and metrics, at a minimum, for the following:
(a) Student academic proficiency;
(b) Student academic growth;
(c) Achievement gaps
in * * *
proficiency * * * between major student subgroups, as
(e) Recurrent enrollment from year to year;
(f) In-school and out-of-school suspension rates and expulsion rates;
(g) For charter high schools, postsecondary readiness, including the percentage of graduates submitting applications to postsecondary institutions, high school completion, postsecondary admission and postsecondary enrollment or employment;
(h) Financial performance and sustainability; and
(i) Board performance and stewardship, including compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and terms of the charter contract.
(2) The charter contract of each charter school serving Grades 9-12 must include a provision ensuring that graduation requirements meet or exceed those set by the Mississippi Department of Education for a regular high school diploma. Nothing in this section shall preclude competency-based satisfaction of graduation requirements.
(3) Comparisons between the charter school and the district in which the charter school is located may not comprise more than five percent (5%) of the overall academic evaluation under the performance framework. Any comparisons must be based on statistically valid and reliable methods for establishing a comparable population of students in a traditional public school district, including comparability based on race, economic status, any prior achievement, grade and disability status.
( * * *
4) Annual performance targets must be
set by each charter school in conjunction with the authorizer and must be
designed to help each school meet applicable federal, state and authorizer
( * * *
5) The performance framework must
allow the inclusion of additional rigorous, valid and reliable indicators
proposed by a charter school to augment external evaluations of its performance;
however, the authorizer must approve the quality and rigor of any indicators
proposed by a charter school, which indicators must be consistent with the
purposes of this chapter.
( * * *
6) The performance framework must
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). However, achievement gap measures must be
deemed sufficient for evaluating subgroup performance without additional, duplicative
( * * *
7) The authorizer shall collect, analyze
and report all data from state assessments in accordance with the performance
framework for each charter school. Multiple schools overseen by a single
governing board must report their performance as separate, individual schools,
and each school must be held independently accountable for its performance.
( * * *
8) Information needed by the
authorizer from the charter school governing board for the authorizer's reports
must be required and included as a material part of the charter contract.
SECTION 11. Section 37-28-33, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-28-33. (1) A charter may be renewed for successive five-year terms of duration. The authorizer may grant renewal with specific conditions for necessary improvements to a charter school and may lessen the renewal term based on the performance, demonstrated capacities and particular circumstances of each charter school. A charter school renewed for fewer than five (5) years has the same right to appeal as a charter school for which a charter is revoked or not renewed, as described in subsection (8) of this section. An authorizer must describe its rational for a renewal for fewer than five (5) years in the same manner as required under subsections (10) and (11) of this section.
(2) Before September 30, the authorizer shall issue a charter school performance report and charter renewal application guidance to any charter school whose charter will expire the following year. The performance report must summarize the charter school's performance record to date, based on the data required by this chapter and the charter contract, and must provide notice of any weaknesses or concerns perceived by the authorizer which may jeopardize the charter school's position in seeking renewal if not timely rectified. The charter school must respond and submit any corrections or clarifications for the performance report within ninety (90) days after receiving the report.
(3) The charter renewal application guidance must provide, at a minimum, an opportunity for the charter school to:
(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; and
(c) Detail the school's plans for the next charter term.
(4) The charter renewal application guidance must include or refer explicitly to the criteria that will guide the authorizer's renewal decision, which must be based on the performance framework set forth in the charter contract and consistent with this chapter.
(5) Before * * *
December 1, the governing board
of a charter school seeking renewal shall submit a renewal application to the
authorizer pursuant to the charter renewal application guidance issued by the
authorizer. The authorizer shall adopt a resolution ruling on the renewal
application no later than ninety (90) days after the filing of the renewal
(6) In making each charter renewal decision, the authorizer must:
(a) Ground its decision 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 the renewal decision is available to the school and the public; and
(c) Provide a public report summarizing the evidence that is the basis for the renewal decision.
(7) A charter contract must be revoked at any time or not renewed if the authorizer determines that the charter school has done any of the following or otherwise failed to comply with the provisions of this chapter:
(a) Committed a material and substantial violation of any of the terms, conditions, standards or procedures required under this chapter or the charter contract;
(b) Failed to meet or make sufficient progress toward the performance expectations set forth in the charter contract;
(c) Failed to meet generally accepted standards of fiscal management; or
(d) Substantially violated any material provision of law which is applicable to the charter school.
(8) The authorizer shall develop revocation and nonrenewal processes that:
(a) Provide the governing board of a charter school with a timely notification of the prospect of revocation or nonrenewal and of the reasons for such possible closure;
(b) Allow the governing board a reasonable amount of time in which to prepare a response;
(c) Provide the governing board 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 governing board access to representation by counsel and to call witnesses on the school's behalf;
(e) Permit the recording of such proceedings; and
(f) After a reasonable period for deliberation, require a final determination to be made and conveyed in writing to the governing board.
(9) * * *
provision to the contrary, the authorizer may not renew the charter of any
charter school that, during the school's final operating year under the term of
the charter contract, is designated an "F" school under the school
accreditation rating system.
(10) If the authorizer
revokes or does not renew a charter, the authorizer must state clearly, in a
resolution * * *
adopted by the authorizer * * * board, the reasons for the revocation or nonrenewal.
(11) Within ten (10) days
after taking action to renew, not renew or revoke a charter, the authorizer
shall provide a report to the charter school. The report must include a copy
of the authorizer's * * *
resolution setting forth the action
taken, reasons for * * * its decision and assurances as to compliance with all
of the requirements set forth in this chapter.
SECTION 12. Section 37-28-37, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-28-37. (1) Before * * *
December 1 of each year,
beginning in the year that the state has had at least one (1) charter school
operating for a full school year, * * *
an authorizer with at least one (1) charter school approved and operating under
its supervision shall issue to the Governor, Legislature, State Board of Education
and the public an annual report on the state's charter schools for the
preceding school year. The report must include * * * the authorizer's
assessment of the successes, challenges and areas for improvement in meeting
the purposes of this chapter. The report also must include an assessment on
whether the number and size of operating charter schools are sufficient to meet
demand, as calculated according to admissions data and the number of students
denied enrollment based on lottery results. * * *
(2) * * *
Every five (5)
years, beginning in 2023, an authorizer with at least one (1) charter school
approved and operating under its supervision must issue a supplementary report
alongside its annual report described in subsection (1). This report must compare
the performance of all charter school students in an authorizer's portfolio
over the period with the performance of academically, racially and economically
comparable groups of students in the school district in which each charter
school is located or from which a charter school draws its students. The
report must use statistically valid methodology for establishing comparability.
The report and its methodology may not be used as part of an annual evaluation
of a specific charter school.
(3) The reports due from the authorizer under this section must be coordinated with reports due from charter school governing boards, as near as possible, to decrease or eliminate duplication.
(4) Beginning July 1, 2023, and every three (3) years thereafter, the State Auditor shall select a nationally recognized charter authorizing expert to evaluate the performance of each authorizer regarding, at a minimum, the following:
(a) The quality of its self-governance, policies and financial oversight;
(b) The success of its authorizing portfolio, including the number and quality of applicants and approved applicants, as well as the performance of operating schools;
(c) Its fulfillment of the purposes for charter schooling as described in Section 37-28-3; and
(d) The authorizer's relationship with charter school stakeholders, including charter school leaders and governing boards, charter school families, charter school support organizations and the State Department of Education.
This evaluation must be paid for by each authorizer or by funds appropriated to the State Auditor for this purpose. The State Auditor shall submit a report to the Legislature based on the findings, which must include whether any authorizer should be prohibited from issuing charter contracts or required to meet specific conditions for continued operation.
SECTION 13. Section 37-28-47, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-28-47. (1) (a) Charter schools must comply with applicable federal laws, rules and regulations regarding the qualification of teachers and other instructional staff. No more than twenty-five percent (25%) of teachers in a charter school may be exempt from state teacher licensure requirements. Provisionally licensed teachers as well as licensed teachers teaching out of field may not be counted against a charter school's twenty-five percent (25%) exemption. The authorizer may consider the small staff size of the school in determining what consequences to apply in cases where more than twenty-five percent (25%) of a charter school's staff is unlicensed. Administrators of charter schools are exempt from state administrator licensure requirements. However, teachers and administrators must have a bachelor's degree as a minimum requirement, and teachers must have demonstrated subject-matter competency. Within three (3) years of a teacher's employment by a charter school, the teacher must have, at a minimum, alternative licensure approved by the Commission on Teacher and Administrator Education, Certification and Licensure and Development.
(b) A charter school may not staff positions for teachers, administrators, ancillary support personnel or other employees by utilizing or otherwise relying on nonimmigrant foreign worker visa programs. However, a charter school may submit a request to the authorizer for an exception allowing the employment of a nonimmigrant foreign worker before the worker is employed. The authorizer may grant permission for the employment of the nonimmigrant foreign worker only if the charter school makes a satisfactory showing of efforts to recruit lawful permanent residents of the United States to fill the position and a lack of qualified applicants to fill the position.
(2) Employees in charter schools must have the same general rights and privileges as other public school employees, except such employees are not:
(a) Covered under the Education Employment Procedures Law (Section 37-9-103); and
(b) Subject to the state salary requirements prescribed in Section 37-19-7.
(3) * * *
Solely for the purpose of
eligibility for participation in the Public Employees' Retirement System, a
public charter school is considered to be a political subdivision of the
state. Employees in public charter schools are eligible for participation in
other benefits programs if the public charter school governing board chooses to
SECTION 14. Section 37-28-49, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-28-49. (1) Charter
school teachers and other school personnel, as well as members of the governing
board and any education service provider with whom a charter school contracts,
are subject to criminal history record checks and fingerprinting requirements
applicable to employees of other public schools. The authorizer shall require
that current criminal records background checks and current child abuse
registry checks are obtained, and that the criminal record information and
registry checks are on file at the charter school for any new hires applying
for employment. In order to determine an applicant's suitability for
employment, the applicant must be fingerprinted. If no disqualifying record is
identified at the state level, the fingerprints must be forwarded by the
Department of Public Safety to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a
national criminal history record check. Under no circumstances may * * *
anyone associated with the authorizer, a member of the
charter school governing board or any individual other than the subject of the
criminal history record checks disseminate information received through the
checks except as may be required to fulfill the purposes of this section. The
determination whether the applicant has a disqualifying crime, as set forth in
subsection (2) of this section, must be made by the appropriate state or
federal governmental authority, which must notify the charter school whether a
disqualifying crime exists.
(2) If the fingerprinting
or criminal record checks disclose a felony conviction, guilty plea or plea of
nolo contendere to a felony of possession or sale of drugs, murder,
manslaughter, armed robbery, rape, sexual battery, sex offense listed in
Section 45-33-23(g), child abuse, arson, grand larceny, burglary, gratification
of lust or aggravated assault which has not been reversed on appeal or for
which a pardon has not been granted, the new hire is not eligible to be
employed at the charter school. However, the charter school, in its discretion,
may allow any applicant aggrieved by the employment decision under this section
to show mitigating circumstances that exist and may allow, subject to the
approval of the * * *
authorizer, the new hire to
be employed at the school. The authorizer may approve the employment depending
on the mitigating circumstances, which may include, but need not be limited
to: (a) age at which the crime was committed; (b) circumstances surrounding
the crime; (c) length of time since the conviction and criminal history since
the conviction; (d) work history; (e) current employment and character
references; and (f) other evidence demonstrating the ability of the person to
perform the employment responsibilities competently and that the person does
not pose a threat to the health or safety of children.
(3) No charter school,
charter school employee, member of the charter school governing board, the * * *
or member or employee of the * * *
authorizer may be held liable in any employment discrimination suit in
which an allegation of discrimination is made regarding an employment decision
authorized under this section.
(4) A charter school shall terminate any teacher or administrator for committing one or more of the following acts:
(a) Engaging in unethical
conduct relating to an educator-student relationship as identified by the * * *
or the Mississippi Educator Code of Ethics;
(b) Fondling a student as described in Section 97-5-23 or engaging in any type of sexual involvement with a student as described in Section 97-3-95; or
(c) Failure to report sexual involvement of a charter school employee with a student as required by Section 97-5-24.
SECTION 15. Section 37-28-55, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-28-55. (1) (a) The State Department of Education shall make payments to charter schools for each student in average daily attendance at the charter school equal to the state share of the adequate education program payments for each student in average daily attendance at the school district in which the charter school is located. In calculating the local contribution for purposes of determining the state share of the adequate education program payments, the department shall deduct the pro rata local contribution of the school district in which the student resides, to be determined as provided in Section 37-151-7(2)(a).
(b) Payments made pursuant to this subsection by the State Department of Education must be made at the same time and in the same manner as adequate education program payments are made to school districts under Sections 37-151-101 and 37-151-103. Amounts payable to a charter school must be determined by the State Department of Education. Amounts payable to a charter school over its charter term must be based on the enrollment projections set forth over the term of the charter contract. Such projections must be reconciled with the average daily attendance using months two (2) and three (3) ADA for the current year for which adequate education program funds are being appropriated and any necessary adjustments must be made to payments during the school's following year of operation.
(2) For students attending a charter school located in the school district in which the student resides, the school district in which a charter school is located shall pay directly to the charter school an amount for each student enrolled in the charter school equal to the ad valorem tax receipts and in-lieu payments received per pupil for the support of the local school district in which the student resides. The pro rata ad valorem receipts and in-lieu receipts to be transferred to the charter school shall include all levies for the support of the local school district under Sections 37-57-1 (local contribution to the adequate education program) and 37-57-105 (school district operational levy) and may not include any taxes levied for the retirement of the local school district's bonded indebtedness or short-term notes or any taxes levied for the support of vocational-technical education programs. The amount of funds payable to the charter school by the school district must be based on the previous year's enrollment data and ad valorem receipts and in-lieu receipts of the local school district in which the student resides. The pro rata amount must be calculated by dividing the local school district's months one (1) through nine (9) average daily membership into the total amount of ad valorem receipts and in-lieu receipts, as reported to the State Department of Education by the local school district. The local school district shall pay an amount equal to this pro rata amount multiplied by the number of students enrolled in the charter school, based on the charter school's end of first month enrollment for the current school year. The amount must be paid by the school district to the charter school before January 16 of the current fiscal year. If the local school district does not pay the required amount to the charter school before January 16, the State Department of Education shall reduce the local school district's January transfer of Mississippi Adequate Education Program funds by the amount owed to the charter school and shall redirect that amount to the charter school. Any such payments made under this subsection (2) by the State Department of Education to a charter school must be made at the same time and in the same manner as adequate education program payments are made to school districts under Sections 37-151-101 and 37-151-103.
(3) For students attending
a charter school located in a school district in which the student does not
reside, the State Department of Education shall pay to the charter school in
which the student is enrolled an amount as follows: the pro rata ad valorem
receipts and in-lieu payments per pupil for the support of the local school
district in which the student resides under Sections 37-57-1 (local
contribution to the adequate education program) and 37-57-105 (school district
operational levy), however, not including any taxes levied for the retirement of
the local school district's bonded indebtedness or short-term notes or any
taxes levied for the support of vocational-technical education programs. The
amount of funds payable to the charter school by the school district must be
based on the previous year's enrollment data and ad valorem receipts and in-lieu
receipts of the local school district in which the student resides. The pro
rata amount must be calculated by dividing the sum of the local school
district's months one (1) through nine (9) average daily membership of the
previous school year plus the average daily membership of resident students who
were attending charter schools located within the school district for month one
(1) of the current school year, excluding students who transferred from the
school district to a charter school after the previous school year, into
the total amount of ad valorem receipts and in-lieu receipts, as reported to
the State Department of Education by the transferor local school district. The * * *
local school district
shall pay an amount equal to this pro rata amount multiplied by the number
of resident students enrolled in the charter school, based on the
charter school's end of first month enrollment for the current school year.
The State Department of Education shall reduce the school district's January
transfer of Mississippi Adequate Education Program funds by the amount owed to
the charter school and shall redirect that amount to the charter school. Any
such payments made under this subsection (3) by the State Department of
Education to a charter school must be made at the same time and in the same
manner as adequate education program payments are made to school districts
under Sections 37-151-101 and 37-151-103.
(4) (a) The State Department of Education shall direct the proportionate share of monies generated under federal and state categorical aid programs, including special education, vocational, gifted and alternative school programs, to charter schools serving students eligible for such aid. The department shall ensure that charter schools with rapidly expanding enrollments are treated equitably in the calculation and disbursement of all federal and state categorical aid program dollars. Each charter school that serves students who may be eligible to receive services provided through such programs shall comply with all reporting requirements to receive the aid.
(b) A charter school shall pay to a local school district any federal or state aid attributable to a student with a disability attending the charter school in proportion to the level of services for that student which the local school district provides directly or indirectly.
(c) Subject to the approval of the authorizer, a charter school and a local school district may negotiate and enter into a contract for the provision of and payment for special education services, including, but not necessarily limited to, a reasonable reserve not to exceed five percent (5%) of the local school district's total budget for providing special education services. The reserve may be used by the local school district only to offset excess costs of providing services to students with disabilities enrolled in the charter school.
(5) (a) The State Department of Education shall disburse state transportation funding to a charter school on the same basis and in the same manner as it is paid to school districts under the adequate education program.
(b) A charter school may enter into a contract with a school district or private provider to provide transportation to the school's students.
SECTION 16. Section 37-28-57, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-28-57. (1) A charter school must adhere to generally accepted accounting principles. Each authorizer, in consultation with the State Auditor and nationally recognized experts in charter school financial accountability, shall develop financial rules and regulations for charter schools that ensure accountability while reflecting charter schools' autonomy and their operating boards' legal status as nonprofit entities. Charter schools may not be required to adhere to the financial accounting manual used by the State Department of Education for traditional public school districts nor any other State Department of Education financial policy adopted under a law not applicable to charter schools, unless otherwise made applicable by this chapter. Charter schools must comply with accounting and financial policies required for receipt and use of federal funds.
(2) A charter school shall
have its financial records audited annually, at the end of each fiscal year,
either by the State Auditor or by a certified public accountant approved by the
State Auditor. However, a certified public accountant may not be selected to
perform the annual audit of a charter school if that accountant previously has
audited the charter school for more than three (3) consecutive years. Certified
public accountants must be selected in a manner determined by the State
Auditor. The charter school shall file a copy of each audit report and
accompanying management letter with * * *
its authorizer before * * * December 1.
(3) Audit guidance must be promulgated by the State Auditor based primarily on nongovernmental accounting standards applicable to nonprofits. The State Auditor shall consult nationally recognized experts in charter school financial accountability in developing appropriate audit guidance.
SECTION 17. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2023.