Title 17. Education

Chapter 1. General School Law

Part I. Elementary and Secondary Education

Subpart A. State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

 

17:10.7.1       Return of certain schools from the Recovery School District to the transferring school system; time line; conditions; funding

 

A. The provisions of this Section shall be applicable only to a school system from which one or more schools have been transferred to the Recovery School District pursuant to R.S. 17:10.7. 

 

B. To the extent that the provisions of this Section conflict with the provisions of Chapter 42 of this Title, the provisions of this Section shall prevail. 

 

C. (1) Not later than July 1, 2018, every school transferred to the Recovery School District pursuant to R.S. 17:10.5 or 10.7 shall be returned to the governance, administration, and jurisdiction of the local school system from which the school was transferred. 

 

(2)(a) Each Type 5 charter school returned to the local school system shall be converted to a Type 3B charter school in accordance with the provisions of R.S. 17:3973(2)(b)(vii). 

 

(b) The initial term of the charter for such Type 3B charter school shall be equal to the number of years remaining on the school’s prior Type 5 charter contract. 

 

(c) Each Type 5 charter school returned to the local school system shall remain subject to any active federal consent judgments or settlement agreements as a Type 3B charter school under the jurisdiction of the local school board. 

 

D. (1) All buildings, facilities, and property owned by, or under the control of, the Recovery School District shall be transferred to the local school system at the time the school is returned to the governance, administration, and jurisdiction of the local school system from which the school was transferred. However, any assets acquired by the charter school shall remain the property of the charter school, as provided in R.S. 17:3991(H). 

 

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of this Subsection, unless otherwise agreed to by the Recovery School District and the local school system, subject to any necessary approval by the appropriate federal agency, the following shall apply: 

 

(a) A school facility under the control of the Recovery School District that is under construction or scheduled to be under construction pursuant to a federal recovery plan, shall remain under the control of the Recovery School District until construction is substantially complete. 

 

(b) The Recovery School District and the state Department of Education shall continue to operate as the federal grant applicant for projects completed by the Recovery School District pursuant to a federal recovery plan and shall retain responsibility for the execution and administration of contractual warranties, grant close-outs, and financing compliance periods for such projects. 

 

(c)(i) The Recovery School District shall return all buildings, facilities, and property related to a school which are owned by, or under the control of, the district to the local school system free of any encumbrances, including liens and judgments, other than those financing transactions to which the local school board is a party. 

 

(ii) The local school board shall have no obligation to reimburse the Recovery School District, the state Department of Education, or the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education for any maintenance, alterations, or other repairs made to any of the school’s buildings, facilities, or property before the school’s return to the local school system. 

 

(d) The local school board and its individual members shall be immune from civil liability for any damages arising from acts, omissions, or incidents occurring during the time a school returned to the local school system was under the jurisdiction of the Recovery School District. 

 

(e) The local school board and its individual members shall be immune from any liability or responsibility for any obligation, claim, demand for reimbursement, or other indebtedness asserted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, or any other federal or state governmental agency or entity, with respect to construction projects managed by the Recovery School District. 

 

E. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, in order to support and protect the interests and rights of the children it serves, the local school board: 

 

(1) Shall adopt a policy that establishes a process to determine the district-level funding allocation to be effective beginning July 1, 2017, and as revised in subsequent years as appropriate, based upon student characteristics or needs, as determined by the local school board, to distribute the total amount of minimum foundation program formula funds allocated to the local school board and to Type 1, 1B, 3, 3B, 4, and 5 charter schools that are located within the geographic boundaries of the local school system. 

 

(2) May use local revenues from new or repurposed taxes levied by the board and approved by voters after September 1, 2016, for parish-wide functions or programs specifically approved by the voters. 

 

(3) Shall approve charter operating agreements for all charter schools under the board’s jurisdiction that are limited to provisions which are common to all such charter contracts, unless terms specific to an individual school are authorized pursuant to policies of the board in accordance with applicable state law. 

 

(4) Shall require all charter schools under the board’s jurisdiction to participate in the parish-wide enrollment system and student expulsion process, according to policies established by the board.

 

(5) May adopt a policy for charter schools under the school board’s jurisdiction that are in good standing in regard to compliance with the board’s parish-wide enrollment system and student expulsion process policies, so that such schools shall be exempted from the minimum enrollment percentages required by R.S. 17:3991. 

 

(6) May provide a lottery preference for enrollment at elementary and middle schools under the board’s jurisdiction for students residing within defined geographic zones as one of the factors to determine student assignment, according to policies adopted by the board. Such preference shall be applied to not more than one-half of the seats available in each grade level to ensure that seats in all schools are accessible to students residing outside of a school’s respective geographic zones. Notwithstanding the provisions of this Subsection, any Type 1 or Type 3 charter school which was first authorized by the board on, or prior to, July 1, 2016, and whose charter contract includes a geographic preference in accordance with R.S. 17:3991, may maintain such preference with the approval of the board, in accordance with board policy adopted for this purpose. 

 

(7) May adopt a policy for cooperatively and annually establishing enrollment projections and targets for every school under the school board’s jurisdiction and requiring enrollment of additional or fewer students throughout the school year as necessary. The policy may consider factors including past trends in enrollment and school performance. 

 

(8) Shall adopt a policy establishing a process which allows the local superintendent to limit the percentage of system enrollment that any single operator of schools or charter governing authority may serve to ensure that a diverse system of schools led by multiple high quality operators exists at all times. 

 

(9) Shall provide for the distribution of deferred local revenues to charter schools under the board’s jurisdiction in any year that such revenues exist. Deferred local revenues shall be defined as the amount of local revenues specified in R.S. 17:3995(A)(1) for distribution to all charter schools under the board’s jurisdiction that vary from the total amount of local revenues distributed to all charter schools pursuant to R.S. 17:3995(A)(3) due to a collection of local revenues that is higher or lower than the amount projected by the board. In the event that actual local revenues are lower than the amount projected, the board may carry forward the amount of any loss, to be recovered from deferred revenues in any future year in which such revenues exceed projections, prior to distribution of such revenues to charter schools. 

 

F. In order to determine quality standards for all schools and intervene appropriately in instances when student needs are not being met, the local superintendent shall: 

 

(1)(a) Present recommendations to the local school board regarding the approval, extension, renewal, or revocation of the charter for any charter school under the board’s jurisdiction. 

 

(b) Unless rejected by a two-thirds vote of the full membership of the board, the local superintendent may implement any such recommendation submitted to the board. 

 

(c) Any action by the board to reject a recommendation made by the local superintendent pursuant to Subparagraph (b) of this Paragraph shall occur no later than the first board meeting held after the meeting during which the recommendation was submitted to the board. 

 

(2) Monitor and require corrective actions by a charter school with respect to compliance with board policy, state law, or terms of the charter contract. 

 

(3) Be authorized to require one or more charter schools under the school board’s jurisdiction to temporarily close, dismiss students, or evacuate in the event that there are credible threats of terror, or an official state of emergency is declared for the area in which any school under the board’s jurisdiction is located. 

 

G. In order to ensure the appropriate level of autonomy to enable educators to successfully prepare students for success in college and career: 

 

(1) Unless mutually agreed to by both the charter school’s governing authority and the local school board pursuant to a duly authorized resolution adopted by each governing entity, the local school board shall not impede the operational autonomy of a charter school under its jurisdiction in the areas of school programming, instruction, curriculum, materials and texts, yearly school calendars and daily schedules, hiring and firing of personnel, employee performance management and evaluation, terms and conditions of employment, teacher or administrator certification, salaries and benefits, retirement, collective bargaining, budgeting, purchasing, procurement, and contracting for services other than capital repairs and facilities construction. 

 

(2) Each Type 3B charter school and, with the approval of the local school board, any other type of charter school under the board’s jurisdiction may act as its own local educational agency for one or more funding purposes or statutory definitions, in accordance with R.S. 17:3995, and rules adopted by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. 

 

(3) Beginning July 1, 2017, each charter school under the local school board’s jurisdiction shall provide for independent test monitoring from a third-party entity approved by the school board for the testing period immediately preceding the board’s consideration of renewal of the charter school’s contract. 

 

H. (1)(a) The local school superintendent shall develop a plan to effect the return of schools from the Recovery School District to the local school board, as provided in this Section. 

 

(b) The local school superintendent, in consultation with the superintendent of the Recovery School District, shall convene an advisory committee to assist in the development of the plan. 

 

(2) The advisory committee shall be subject to the provisions of the Louisiana Open Meetings Law, the Louisiana Public Records Law, and all local school board policy regarding public meetings and public documents. 

 

(3) The advisory committee shall be comprised of thirteen members as follows: 

 

(a) The local school superintendent. 

 

(b) The superintendent of the Recovery School District. 

 

(c) Two members who shall represent Type 5 charter school operators, appointed by the local school superintendent. 

 

(d) Two members who shall represent Type 5 charter school operators, appointed by the superintendent of the Recovery School District. 

 

(e) Two members who shall represent either a Type 1 or Type 3 charter school operator, appointed by the local school superintendent. 

 

(f) One member who shall represent a school directly operated by the local school board, appointed by the local school superintendent. 

 

(g) One member who shall represent an educational advocacy organization, appointed by the local school superintendent. 

 

(h) One member who shall represent an educational advocacy organization, appointed by the superintendent of the Recovery School District. 

 

(i) Two members jointly appointed by the local school superintendent and the superintendent of the Recovery School District. 

 

(4) The local school superintendent shall submit the plan to the local school board for approval by September 1, 2016. The plan shall include: 

 

(a) Consideration of equitable funding for governmental functions deemed appropriate for the efficient operation of a system of autonomous schools under the jurisdiction of the local school board. 

 

(b) An implementation time line that shall include a detailed list of tasks and benchmarks that are appropriately sequenced to efficiently facilitate the transfer of such functions and related funding from the Recovery School District with respect to the return of schools to the local school system. 

 

(5) After the local school board has approved the plan, the local school superintendent shall convene the advisory committee as often as he deems necessary, but at least on a quarterly basis, until all schools have been returned from the Recovery School District to the local school system. 

 

(6)(a) The local school superintendent shall prepare a written progress report regarding implementation of the approved plan to return schools from the Recovery School District to the local school system not later than December 1, 2016, March 1, 2017, June 1, 2017, September 1, 2017, December 1, 2017, March 1, 2018, and June 1, 2018, and submit the report to the following: 

 

(i) The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. 

 

(ii) The local school board. 

 

(iii) The Recovery School District. 

 

(iv) The state Department of Education. 

 

(v) The education committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives. 

 

(b) A final report shall be prepared and submitted to the entities enumerated in Subparagraph (a) of this Paragraph not later than August 1, 2018. 

 

I. (1) The final transfer of schools from the Recovery School District to the local school board as provided in this Section may be postponed only by a majority vote of the full membership of the local school board or the full membership of the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and at least one of the following must apply: 

 

(a) The local school board is not financially stable. 

 

(b) The local school board lacks a comprehensive expulsion and reentry program for students. 

 

(c) The local school board cannot assure the stability of employee retirement benefits. 

 

(d) The local school board cannot ensure or provide sufficient insurance coverage. 

 

(e) The local school superintendent and the superintendent of the Recovery School District provide written certification that it is not feasible to meet the time lines, tasks, and benchmarks established in the plan to effect the return of schools from the Recovery School District to the jurisdiction of the local school board as provided in Subsection H of this Section. 

 

(f) The advisory committee, by a majority vote of its full membership, officially requests the local school board or the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to consider such postponement. 

 

(2) Any action taken by the local school board or the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to postpone the final transfer of schools from the Recovery School District to the local school board must occur no later than January 31, 2018, and in no instance shall such postponement extend the final transfer date beyond July 1, 2019. 

 

Added by Acts 2016, No. 91, § 1, eff. May 12, 2016.