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  • Acts
  • 2000
  • Chapter 227 AN ACT RELATIVE TO CHARTER SCHOOLS.

Whereas , The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is forthwith to amend the statutes concerning charter schools, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:


SECTION 1. Subsection (b) of section 89 of chapter 71 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 1998 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following sentence:- The board of trustees may include a member of the school committee.

SECTION 2. Said section 89 of said chapter 71, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out subsection (i) and inserting in place thereof the following subsection:-

(i) The board of education shall make the final determination on granting charter school status and may condition charters on the applicant's taking certain actions or maintaining certain conditions. Not more than 120 charter schools shall be allowed to operate in the commonwealth at any time. In any fiscal year, no public school district's total charter school tuition payment to commonwealth charter schools shall exceed 9 per cent of said district's net school spending; provided, however, the commonwealth shall incur charter school tuition payments for siblings attending commonwealth charter schools to the extent that their attendance would otherwise cause said school district's charter school tuition payments to exceed 9 per cent of said school district's net school spending. Of the total number of charter schools in the state, 48 shall be reserved for Horace Mann charter schools and 72 shall be reserved for commonwealth charter schools. Under no circumstances shall the total number of students attending commonwealth public schools exceed 4 per cent of the total number of students attending public schools in the commonwealth. Not less than three of the new charters approved by the board in any year shall be granted for charter schools located in districts where overall student performance on the statewide assessment system approved by the board of education pursuant to section 1I of chapter 69 is at or below the statewide average in the year preceding said charter application. In any year, the board shall approve only one regional charter school application of any commonwealth charter school located in a school district where overall student performance on the statewide assessment system is in the top 10 per cent in the year preceding charter application. The board may give priority to schools that have demonstrated broad community support, an innovative educational plan and a demonstrated commitment to assisting the district in which it is located in bringing about educational change. The board shall not approve a new commonwealth charter school in any community with a population of less than 30,000 unless it is a regional charter school.

SECTION 3. Subsection (aa) of said section 89 of said chapter 71, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph:-

A charter school shall recognize an employee organization designated by the authorization cards of 60 per cent of its employees in the appropriate bargaining unit as the exclusive representative of all the employees in such unit for the purpose of collective bargaining.

SECTION 4. Subsection (ff) of said section 89 of said chapter 71, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following sentence:- A regional charter school as designated by the board of education, and whose charter provides for transportation of all students from charter municipalities shall also be reimbursed by the commonwealth under section 16C of chapter 71 for transportation provided to pupils residing outside the municipality where the charter school is located, but no reimbursement for transportation between the charter school and home shall be made on account of any pupil who resides less than one and one-half miles from the charter school, measured by a commonly traveled route.

SECTION 5. Subsection (ll) of said section 89 of said chapter 71, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word "located", in lines 379 and 380, the following words:- ; provided that a commonwealth charter shall not be renewed unless the board of trustees of the charter school has documented in a manner approved by the board of education that said commonwealth charter school has provided models for replication and best practices to the commissioner and to other public schools in the district where the charter school is located.

SECTION 6. Said section 89 of said chapter 71, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by adding the following two subsections:-

(qq) No teacher shall be hired by a commonwealth charter school who is not certified pursuant to section 38G unless the teacher has successfully passed the state teacher test as required in said section 38G.

(rr) The commissioner shall provide technical assistance to public school districts to assist in the development of proposals for Horace Mann schools.

SECTION 7. Notwithstanding any general or special law, rule or regulation to the contrary, the board of education may increase the number of Horace Mann charter schools only by seven and the number of commonwealth charter schools only by seven upon the effective date of this act, and only by seven Horace Mann charter schools and only by seven commonwealth charter schools each year thereafter, until the total 120 charter schools are established under subsection (i) of section 89 of chapter 71 of the General Laws. Charters revoked, not renewed, or returned to the board of education may be subsequently granted without respect to the number of commonwealth or Horace Mann charters granted in any year. Should fewer than seven commonwealth or seven Horace Mann charters be granted in any given year, the remaining charters in each category shall be available for granting in the following year or years. The board of education may grant each year not more than four additional commonwealth charter schools above the seven granted each year for the specific purpose of establishing alternative education programs for disruptive students.

SECTION 8. There is hereby established a special commission consisting of four persons to be appointed by the governor; the chairman of the board of education; five persons to be appointed by the president of the senate; and five persons to be appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives for the purpose of studying and developing models for alternative education programs for disruptive students. In developing models the commission may study existing programs within or without the commonwealth. The commission shall report the results of its study and development of models and its recommendations, if any, together with drafts of legislation necessary to carry its recommendations into effect, by filing the same with the joint committee on education, arts and humanities, the house and senate committees on ways and means and the clerks of the senate and house of representatives not later than July 1, 2001.

SECTION 9. Subsection (qq) of section 89 of chapter 71 of the General Laws, inserted by section 6 of this act, shall apply to teachers initially hired by a particular commonwealth charter school after the effective date of this act.

SECTION 10. The second paragraph of subsection (aa) of section 89 of chapter 71 of the General Laws, inserted by section 3 of this act, shall apply to charter schools whose charters are issued after the effective date of this act.

Approved August 10, 2000.