SECTION 1. There is hereby established a charter school working group to study the financing of, caps imposed upon, and innovations promoted by charter schools authorized under the provisions of chapter 71, section 89 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2008 Official Edition. The working group shall also study the obstacles which have limited the broader utilization of the Horace Mann model of charter schools. The working group shall report its findings and conclusions to the general court and make recommendations regarding any necessary legislative and regulatory changes which are suggested by those findings and conclusions. The first meeting of the working group shall take place within 30 days after the effective date of this act.
SECTION 2. The working group shall consist of: the speaker of the house of representatives, or his designee, who shall serve as co-chair; the president of the senate, or his designee, who shall serve as co-chair; the minority leaders of the house and senate, or their designees; the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on education; the chairs of the house and senate committee on ways and means; the secretary of Administration, or her designee; 3 appointees of the Governor, one of which shall be a superintendent of schools; and the Commissioner of Education, or his designee.
SECTION 3. In carrying out its charge, the working group shall examine, report on, and make recommendations regarding, the following matters:
a) the appropriateness of the financing and reimbursement provisions of chapter 71, section 89(nn) and section 89(pp) as a mechanism for the financing of charter schools;
b) the extent to which the reimbursement provisions of chapter 71, section 89(pp) are effective at minimizing the adverse financial impact of charter schools on sending school districts while providing sufficient resources for the successful operation of charter schools;
c) the obstacles to broader utilization of Horace Mann charters as a vehicle to achieve the objectives articulated in section 89(d);
d) the reasons for the transfer of students from charter schools back to local public schools, including students who are suspended or disenrolled;
e) the percentages of students who require special education, receive free and reduced lunch and are English Language Learners;
f) employment data such as average teacher salary and teacher and principal turnover rates;
g) infrastructure costs;
h) comparisons of IEP profiles between charters and public districts;
i) comparisons of non-English speaking students (LEP-1) at charters to districts; and
j) the percentage of ELL and SPED students, particularly in comparison with percentage of same students in their home communities.
SECTION 4. The working group shall solicit advice from such persons and entities as it deems necessary, including the department of education, associations representing superintendents, other educational administrators, teachers, school business officers, municipal officials and charter schools.
SECTION 5. The working group shall file a report containing its recommendations, including legislation and regulations necessary to carry out its recommendations, with the joint committee on education and the clerks of the house and senate not later than 6 months following the first meeting of the working group.
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