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Delaware General AssemblyDelaware RegulationsMonthly Register of RegulationsNovember 2013

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14 DE Admin. Code 275
The Secretary of Education seeks the consent of the State Board of Education to amend 14 DE Admin. Code 275 Charter Schools. The amendments reflect revisions in the process for Performance Reviews, renewal and new application process, annual reports as well as other amendments to align with specific Delaware Code revised during the 147th General Assembly.
Notice of the proposed regulation was published in the News Journal and the Delaware State News on September 3, 2013, in the form hereto attached as Exhibit "A". Comments were received from Governor's Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens (GACEC) and the State Council for Persons with Disabilities (SCPD). Amendments were made in response to the comments provided by the GACEC and SCPD, and by comments made by the State Board of Education during the discussion in September's board meeting. In addition, clarifications were made after subsequent review by the Department. The following is a summary of the comments and corresponding amendments:
The Secretary finds that it is appropriate to amend 14 DE Admin. Code 275 Charter Schools in order to reflect revisions in the process for Performance Reviews, renewal and new application process, annual reports as well as other amendments to align with specific Delaware Code revised during the 147th General Assembly.
For the foregoing reasons, the Secretary concludes that it is appropriate to amend 14 DE Admin. Code 275 Charter Schools. Therefore, pursuant to 14 Del.C. §122, 14 DE Admin. Code 275 Charter Schools attached hereto as Exhibit "B" is hereby amended. Pursuant to the provision of 14 Del.C. §122(e), 14 DE Admin. Code 275 Charter Schools hereby amended shall be in effect for a period of five years from the effective date of this order as set forth in Section V. below.
The text of 14 DE Admin. Code 275 Charter Schools amended hereby shall be in the form attached hereto as Exhibit "B", and said regulation shall be cited as 14 DE Admin. Code 275 Charter Schools in the Administrative Code of Regulations for the Department of Education.
The actions hereinabove referred to were taken by the Secretary pursuant to 14 Del.C. §122 on October 17, 2013. The effective date of this Order shall be ten (10) days from the date this Order is published in the Delaware Register of Regulations.
IT IS SO ORDERED the 17th day of October 2013.
Department of Education
State Board of Education
1.1 The purpose of these regulations is to provide rules to govern the implementation of 14 Del.C. Ch. 5 (hereafter, the “Charter School Law”) develop and maintain chartering policies and practices consistent with nationally recognized principles and standards for quality charter authorizing in all major areas of authorizing, including:
1.2 These regulations establish the requirements for applying for a charter to operate a public school, renewal of the charter, modification of the charter, oversight of the charter’s performance, and for opening, and operating, and closing the school, when a charter is granted by the Department of Education with the approval of the State Board of Education.
“Accountability Committee”: Any Charter School Accountability Committee established by the Department to review and report to the Department as provided in Sections 511 and 515 of the Charter School Law.
Annual Report: A report submitted by the charter school to the approving authority, DDOE, and State Board of Education and posted publicly on the school’s website. The report shall contain the information and follow the prescribed format required by statute.
“Applicant”: A legal entity organized under the Delaware General Corporation Law that has applied to the Department for, but not yet received, a charter to operate a charter school, or the Renewal or modification of such a charter, as the context indicates.
“Audit”: An informal financial, programmatic, or compliance audit of a charter school.
Charter Contract”: An agreement between the Authorizer and the Charter School. A school enters into a Charter Contract with the authorizer that clearly defines the respective roles, powers, and responsibilities for the school and approving authority and incorporates the provisions of the Performance Agreement.
“Charter Holder”: The legal entity organized under the Delaware General Corporation Law to which a charter is issued by the Department with the approval of the State Board.
“Charter School”: A non home based full time public school that is operated in an approved physical plant under a charter granted by, or transferred to the Department with the approval of the State Board for the personal physical attendance of all students.
Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System (DCAS)” means the statewide assessment used to measure student achievement of the Delaware academic content standards, including an alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.
“Department”: The Delaware Department of Education.
Department’s Annual Charter Report: A report prepared by the Department of Education for the Governor, General Assembly, and State Board of Education in accordance with statute that analyzes the performance, as measured by the Performance Framework, of all charter schools in the state. It also analyzes expenses as compared with traditional public schools, recommends changes in policy and innovative practices which can be replicated in other public schools. The report shall be presented on or before February 1st of each year and is posted on the Department’s public website.
“Financial Audit”: The audit required to be conducted pursuant to 14 Del.C. 513(a).
“First Instructional Day”: The first day a Charter School is open with students in attendance.
“Formal Review”: The lawful investigation of a Charter School to determine whether the school is violating the terms of its charter. Formal reviews may include, but are not limited to, on site visits, inspection of educational records and other documents, and interviews of parents, Charter School employees and others with knowledge of the school’s operations and educational programs.
“Founding Board of Directors”: The Board of Directors of an Applicant at the time the original application for a charter is filed with the Department.
Highly successful charter school operator”: A charter school with sustained high levels of student achievement and sustained financial stewardship. A highly successful charter school is one which has been in operation for at least three years and which, during the three years prior to filing a charter application in Delaware, has a combined student performance which exceeds the statewide average student performance in the state in which the highly successful charter school is located based upon that state’s performance score or measure on its statewide assessment for purposes of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) or any reauthorization thereof. In addition, during the same three year period the school must have had no adverse financial findings and successfully completed any required financial audits in the state in which it is located, and be able to demonstrate that it will be economically viable.
“Parent”: The natural or adoptive parent, or the legal guardian, of a student enrolled in the charter school. “Parent” also includes individuals authorized to act as Relative Caregivers under the provisions of 14 Del.C. §202(e)(2).
Performance Agreement: The document which describes the academic performance expectations, identifies economic viability requirements, defines organizational responsibilities, and outlines accountability of the Charter School. An approved charter school application serves as the basis for the pPerformance aAgreement, which is for a specified term and uses a uniform format as prescribed by the Department with the assent of the State Board of Education. The Performance Agreement is enforceable as part of the school’s cCharter Contract.
Performance Framework: A rubric based tool established by the Department with the assent of the State Board of Education, as amended from time to time, which contains the details, utilizing includes multiple measures, and is used by the Department to assess compliance with the Performance Agreement in the areas of academic performance, economic viability, organizational responsibilities and accountability of the Charter School. The completed frameworks will be provided to the Charter School Accountability Committee, Secretary and State Board of Education to inform their decision making for Renewals, modifications and formal reviews.
“Performance Review”: The process by which the Charter School’s compliance with its Performance Agreement is evaluated annually to inform Rrenewal, major modification and formal review decisions. Compliance with the charter and the Performance Agreement, as assessed through the Performance Framework, is the basis for the Performance Review. Review Analysis and results will be reported in the Department’s aAnnual Charter rReport.
“Renewal”: The approval of an application to continue operating an existing Charter School for an additional five year period, available after the school has been in operation for four years. Renewal decisions are based on the criteria set forth in 14 Del.C. §512, and informed by a Charter School’s compliance with its Performance Agreement as evaluated by the Performance Framework occurs in accordance with 14 Del.C. §514A.
“Secretary”: The Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education.
State Assessment System” means the statewide assessment used to measure student achievement of the Delaware academic content standards including an alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, and other assessments such as, but not limited to, the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP), a college readiness assessment, an assessment for English Language Learners (ELL), a norm-referenced assessment that may be administered or required as determined by the Department of Education.
“State Board”: The Delaware State Board of Education.
3.1 Application Deadlines: Applications to establish new Charter Schools must be submitted to the Department between November 1st and December 31st for schools preparing to admit students the first day of school of the second school year thereafter, unless otherwise agreed upon by the authorizer and the applicant to allow the applicant to serve students who would otherwise be displaced because of the closure of an existing charter school in accordance with 14 Del.C. §511 (g) (1),(2).
3.3 An original and ten (10) five (5) copies of a completed application must be received by the Department by the application deadline in order for the application to be considered; an electronic copy shall also be submitted at the same time either as an attachment to an e-mail message or by electronic portable storage. The electronic copy shall be identical in all respects to the original application. Incomplete applications, or applications received after the deadline, will not be considered.
3.5.1 All questions on applicable sections in the application form are answered appropriately completed.
[3.6 No application for a new Charter School will be accepted by the Department in any year in which the Department with the approval of the State Board has decided not to accept applications; except for an application submitted by a Highly successful charter operator for the purpose of operating a charter school at a site of and serving students currently attending a charter school whose charter has been revoked, has not been renewed, or whose charter is on formal review and whose Board of Directors has agreed to abandon their charter.]
3.[76] Applications will not remain pending from year to year. Applications that do not result in the issuance of a charter must be resubmitted in full in subsequent years to be considered in subsequent years.
3.[87] The State Board of Education may designate one or more of its members to sit as nonvoting members of the Accountability Committee.
3.[98] In deciding whether to approve or disapprove any application for an original charter, a major modification of a charter, the renewal of a charter, or the formal review of a charter, the Secretary and State Board shall base the decision on the record. The record shall consist of the application and any documents filed therewith in support of the application, the Charter Contract, the Performance Framework Review (not applicable for new applications), the preliminary and final reports of the Accountability Committee, any response or other evidence, oral or otherwise, provided by the Applicant to the Accountability Committee prior to the issuance of its final report, any comments received at any public hearing conducted pursuant to the provisions of the Charter School Law, including comments made at any such hearing by the applicant in response to the Accountability Committee’s final report and any written or electronic comments received at or before any such public hearing. In the case of the renewal, major modification, or formal review of a charter, the record shall also include performance documentation generated during the term of the charter or related to the subject of the formal review, including but not limited to, compliance with the school’s Charter Contract and Performance Agreement, renewal report, audits and performance reviews, student testing data, and parent complaint documentation. No other evidence shall be considered. Written and electronic comments must be received by the Education Associate for Charter Schools no later than the beginning of the public hearing to be included in the record.
3.[109] Applicants and Charter Holders shall make the financial disclosures relating to ownership and financial interest as required by 14 Del.C. §511(oq). A charter school founder or member of a charter school board has a “financial interest” in the charter school if that person receives compensation in excess of $5,000.00 from the charter school in any calendar year. Compensation means money, thing of value, or any other economic benefit of any kind or nature whatsoever conferred on or received by a charter school founder or member of a charter school board. “Ownership” shall have the meaning commonly ascribed to it as appropriate in context.
4.1.1.1 Research based curriculum and instructional strategies, aligned to Delaware content standards, to particularly include the curriculum and instructional strategies of the proposed educational program.
4.2.1.1 The Applicant must agree and certify that it will comply with the requirements of the State Public Education Assessment and Accountability System pursuant to 14 Del.C. §§151, 152, 153, 154, and 157 and the Department’s implementing rules and regulations including without limitation those relating to the State Assessment System.
4.2.1.3 If the Applicant plans to adopt or use performance standards or assessments in addition to the standards set by the Department or the assessments administered pursuant to the State Assessment System, the application and performance agreement must specifically identify those additional standards or assessments and include a planned baseline acceptable level of performance, measurable goals for improving performance and a timetable for accomplishing improvement goals for each additional indicator or assessment. The use of additional performance standards or assessments shall not replace, diminish or otherwise supplant the Charter School’s obligation to meet the performance standards set by the Department or to use the assessments administered pursuant to the State Assessment System and must be incorporated into the Performance Agreement.
4.2.1.4 Following charter approval, but not later than a date established by the Department, the Applicant must enter into a Charter Contract [with the approving authority] and [into] a Performance Agreement approved by the Department with the assent of the State Board, which shall address the organizational, academic and financial performance expectations of the Applicant during the term of the charter. The Department, with the assent of the Board, shall establish and publish a Performance Framework which shall be used to assess the school’s compliance with its Performance Agreement. Nothing contained herein shall be interpreted to relieve an applicant of its obligation to comply with any approval criteria or requirement set forth in 14 Del.C. Ch. 5. The Department shall conduct an annual audits Performance Review using the Performance Framework to ensure ongoing compliance with the school’s Performance Agreement.
4.3.3.1 The school’s plan for providing a free appropriate public education to students with disabilities in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, with 14 Del.C. Ch. 31 and with 14 DE Admin. Code 922 through 929, specifically including a plan for having a continuum of educational placements available for children with disabilities.
4.5.1.2 The application must include a plan to distribute the “Student Rights and Responsibilities Manual” to each Charter School student and parent/guardian at the beginning of each school year. Students who enroll after the beginning of the school year shall be provided with a copy of the “Student Rights and Responsibilities Manual” at the time of enrollment.
4.5.2.1 14 Del.C. Ch. 27 and applicable Department regulations regarding school attendance, including a plan to distribute attendance policies to each Charter School student at the beginning of each school year. Students who enroll after the beginning of the school year shall be provided with a copy of the attendance policy at the time of enrollment.
4.5.2.2 11 Del.C. Ch. 85 and 14 Del.C. §511(p), and Department regulations regarding criminal background checks for public school related employment.
4.5.2.3 14 Del.C. §4112 and applicable Department regulations regarding the reporting of school crimes.
4.5.2.5 The provision of free and reduced breakfast and lunch to eligible students pursuant to any applicable state or federal statute or regulation.
4.5.3 The requirement that the Applicant provide for the health and safety of students, employees and guests will be judged against the needs of the student body or population served. Except as otherwise required in this regulation, the Applicant must either agree and certify that the services of at least one (1) full time registered nurse (R.N.) will be provided for each facility in which students regularly attend classes, or demonstrate that it has an adequate and comparable plan for providing for the health and safety of its students. Any such plan must include the Charter School’s policies and procedures for routine student health screenings, for administering medications to students (including any proposed self administration), for monitoring chronic student medical conditions and for responding to student health emergencies. Any applicant which receives funding equivalent to the funding provided to school districts for one or more school nurses shall provide its students the full time services of a corresponding number of registered nurses.
After July 1st of each year, pursuant to 14 Del.C. §513(a) each Charter Holder shall contract to have an audit of the business and financial transactions, records, and accounts of the school, in a form and manner satisfactory to the Department, and shall provide the audit results to the Department by October 1. Each Charter School shall display the audit on [their its] public website.
9.2 The application shall be submitted on a form approved by the Department and posted on the Department website. The applicant shall specify the exact modification requested and describe the need for the modification.
9.3 The applicable standards for deciding a modification application shall be as provided in Section 4.0 of these regulations for the original grant of the charter.
9.4.3 An application to replace, remove or permit the school to operate without an educational management organization providing administrative, managerial or instructional staff or services to the charter holder at any time before the First Instructional Day.
9.7 An increase or decrease of up to 5% in a charter school’s current authorized enrollment shall not be considered a modification of the school’s charter. Any modification application to increase or decrease a charter school’s current authorized enrollment by more than 5% must be filed between November 1st and December 31st and, if approved, shall be effective the following school year.
9.8.1.9 Alter the charter school's charter to satisfy the provisions of "restructuring" as prescribed in the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) or any reauthorization thereof.
9.9.7 Decisions for minor modifications to a charter may be decided by the Secretary[, with the concurrence of the State Board of Education,] within 30 working days from the date the application was filed, unless the timeline is waived by mutual agreement of the Secretary and the applicant, or in any case where the Secretary, in the sole discretion of the Secretary, deems that it would be beneficial to either refer the matter to the Accountability Committee or to seek advice from the State Board prior to deciding the matter.
10.1 Charters are granted for an initial period of 4 years of operation and are renewable every 5 years thereafter.
Last Updated: December 31 1969 19:00:00.
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