Title 17. Education

Chapter 42. Charter School Demonstration Programs Law

Part V. Operation of a Charter School

 

17:3997         Charter school employees

 

A. (1)(a) The governing authority of any charter school may employ such faculty and staff members as it deems necessary. All potential charter school employees shall be notified of the specific benefits they will be offered, as specified in the school’s charter agreement. 

 

(b) The nonprofit organization shall have exclusive authority over all employment decisions at the charter schools. However, as provided for in the charter, a nonprofit organization may enter into a contract with a for-profit organization to manage the charter school and may delegate to the for-profit organization such authority over employment decisions at the charter school as the nonprofit organization deems necessary and proper. Any delegation of this authority must be specifically delegated in a service provider agreement. 

 

(c) The governing authority of any Type 5 charter school may bargain and enter into a collectively bargained contract on behalf of all or any group of its employees. The provisions of this Subparagraph supersede the provisions of R.S. 17:3996(D) as it relates to Type 5 charter schools. 

 

(2) Employees employed by any charter school who, previous to employment in the charter school, were employees of a local school board shall, if such employees desire, be placed on leave of absence pursuant to Subsection B of this Section. However, for the duration of such leave each such employee shall continue to contribute to and be a member of the school employees’ or teachers’ retirement system, and earn service credit for the accrual of retirement benefits. However, service time while employed by a charter school shall not accrue toward the acquisition of permanent status. 

 

(3)(a) Employment in any charter school for all employees other than those provided for in Paragraph (2) of this Subsection shall be deemed to be employment in a public elementary or secondary school in the state regarding eligibility for any or all benefits which would otherwise accrue under state law to such an employee in any other elementary or secondary school, including but not limited to membership in the school employees’ and teachers’ retirement systems. However, participation of the charter school and its employees in such benefit programs shall be contingent upon provisions contained in the school’s approved charter. 

 

(b)(i) The provisions of such charter may require only teachers employed by the charter school who previous to employment in the charter school were employees of a local school board to continue active membership in the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana for the duration of their employment as charter school teachers, regardless of their leave status. 

 

(ii) The provisions of Item (i) of this Subparagraph enacted by the Act that originated as Senate Bill No. 31 of the 2012 Regular Session of the Legislature1 shall not become effective until the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana is in receipt of a private letter ruling issued by the Internal Revenue Service, pursuant to a request by the system for such a ruling, concluding that the provisions of Item (i) of this Subparagraph will not adversely affect the status of the system as a qualified governmental plan under the Internal Revenue Code. 

 

(4) With regard to participation in the public retirement systems: 

 

(a) The compensation that the teacher or school employee would have received if employed by the local public school system shall be used to determine employee and employer contribution levels of the respective retirement systems. 

 

(b) Any compensation paid to a teacher or school employee which exceeds the salary that would have been received if employed by the local school system shall not be deemed as compensation solely for the purpose of the calculation of future retirement benefits. 

 

B. (1)(a) Terminated effective July 1, 2010. 

 

(b)(i) The provisions of Subparagraph (a) of this Paragraph shall be in effect through June 30, 2010. 

 

(ii) A leave of absence granted by a local school board pursuant to the provisions of this Section prior to July 1, 2010, shall continue to be governed by all applicable provisions of this Section. 

 

(2)(a) At the end of the first year of leave authorized by this Subsection, an employee may return to his former teaching position with the local school board. 

 

(b) At the end of the second year of leave authorized by this Subsection, an employee may make a written request to the local school board to return to the school system to a comparable position from which the leave was granted. Upon such request, the employee shall be permitted to return to a comparable position even if such return necessitates a reduction in force by the local school board in accordance with the provisions of R.S. 17:81.4. 

 

(c)(i) Except as otherwise provided by Item (ii) of this Subparagraph, at the end of the third year of leave authorized by this Subsection, an employee shall either make a written request to the local school board to return to the school system in a comparable position, if one is available, or resign from the position from which the leave was granted. Any employee requesting to return to the school system in a comparable position shall be permitted to return even if such return necessitates a reduction in force by the local school board in accordance with the provisions of R.S. 17:81.4. 

 

(ii)(aa) Any employee granted a three-year leave of absence pursuant to the provisions of Paragraph (1) of this Subsection and who would otherwise be required to take, during the 2007-2008 school year or the 2008-2009 school year, one of the actions specified in Item (i) of this Subparagraph relative to returning to or resigning from the school system granting leave may request, in lieu of taking such action, an additional leave of absence from the local school board not to exceed two years. The request for additional leave shall be made in the same manner and in accordance with the same timeline as applicable to a request to return to the school system. A request for additional leave pursuant to the provisions of this Item shall be granted by the local school board. 

 

(bb) At the end of the additional leave period authorized by this Item, an employee shall either make a written request to the local school board to return to the school system in a comparable position, if one is available, or resign from the position from which the leave was granted. Any employee requesting to return to the local school system in a comparable position shall be permitted to return even if such return necessitates a reduction in force by the local school board in accordance with the provisions of R.S. 17:81.4. 

 

(3) The local school board may require that any request to return to the city or parish school system be made at least ninety days before the employee would otherwise have to report for duty. 

 

(4)(a) Notwithstanding any provision of law, rule, or regulation to the contrary, upon the return of a teacher to the city or parish school system such teacher shall retain permanent status gained in the public school system prior to the leave authorized by this Subsection even if the teacher is terminated by the charter school. 

 

(b) Upon the return of an employee to the city or parish school system, such employee shall not lose any right of retirement or salary status or any other benefits to which the employee would have been entitled had he not taken a leave of absence to teach in a charter school. 

 

(5) Each local school board shall permit any employee granted leave under this Subsection to continue to participate in any group insurance program in which he was otherwise entitled to participate subject to the same conditions and costs. 

 

C. (1)(a) Notwithstanding the provisions of Subsections A and B of this Section and in addition to those provisions, the state board or any local school board may contract with any charter school to provide all or any portion of the faculty and staff of such school. In such a case, any such faculty and staff members shall be employees of the contracting state or local board and shall continue as such employees to receive all the same benefits as other such employees, except as otherwise specified in the charter. 

 

(b) No state or local board employee may be assigned by his employer to serve in a charter school involuntarily. No action taken or assignment made regarding any employee of a state or local board in any charter school shall affect the status of the employee as an employee of the board. 

 

(2) The governing authority of the charter school shall have complete and exclusive control over all decisions regarding assignment, responsibilities, and conduct when such an employee is hired to work at, or is employed in, its charter school. 

 

D. (1)(a) Each governing authority of a charter school annually shall evaluate every teacher and administrator employed at the school using the value-added assessment model and measures of student growth as determined by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education pursuant to R.S. 17:3902(B)(5). 

 

(b) The governing authority of a charter school shall terminate the employment of any teacher or administrator determined to be ineffective for three consecutive years pursuant to the evaluation required by this Section. 

 

(2) Fifty percent of each teacher and administrator evaluation conducted pursuant to Paragraph (1) of this Subsection shall be based on evidence of growth in student achievement as determined by the state board. Data derived from a value-added assessment model, as determined by the state board, shall be a factor in determining evidence of student growth for grade levels and subjects for which value-added data is available and shall comprise thirty-five percent of the overall evaluation. For grade levels and subjects for which value-added data is not available, the state board shall establish measures of student growth. The model shall take into account important student factors, including but not limited to special education, eligibility for free or reduced price meals, student attendance, and student discipline. The state board shall develop and adopt a policy to invalidate such student growth data for any teacher for any school year in which there is a natural disaster or any other unexpected event that results in the temporary closure of the school. 

 

(3) The state superintendent of education shall make available to the public the data specified in R.S. 17:3902(B)(5) as may be useful for conducting statistical analyses and evaluations of educational personnel, but shall not reveal information pertaining to the evaluation report of a particular employee. Beginning with the 2012-2013 school year, such public information may include school level student growth data as specified in R.S. 17:3902(B)(5). 

 

(4)(a) The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education may request that the state Department of Education monitor evaluation programs established pursuant to this Section as necessary. The method to be used in monitoring such programs shall be established by the department with the approval of the board and shall be sufficient to determine the extent to which any programs have been implemented, and whether such programs comply with the provisions of this Section. 

 

(b) If, in conducting such monitoring, the department determines that the governing authority of a charter school has failed to implement its evaluation program or has otherwise failed to comply with the provisions of this Section, the department shall notify the charter school governing authority of such failure, and the charter school governing authority shall correct such failure within sixty calendar days after receiving such notification. The department also shall notify the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education of such failure, by the charter school governing authority. 

 

(c) If the failure is not corrected within the prescribed sixty calendar days, the department shall notify the board of such continued failure and shall recommend to the board whatever sanctions against such charter school governing authority the department deems appropriate, which may include withholding funds distributed pursuant to the minimum foundation program formula until the corrections are made. The board shall act upon such recommendation within sixty calendar days after its receipt of the notification. 

 

E. (1) The provisions of this Section apply to all charter schools except for Type 4 charter schools. The employees in Type 4 charter schools are in all respects employees of the local school board entering into the charter and shall be entitled to the benefits, and be subject to conditions of employment, as prescribed by the local school board within the charter. 

 

(2) The transfer of an employee of a local school board to a Type 4 charter school shall be governed by the transfer policy of the local school board. 

 

F. (1) The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, hereinafter referred to as the “board”, shall develop and administer a process for consideration and settlement of claims by former employees of the Northwood Preparatory High School, a nonprofit corporation domiciled in Amite, Louisiana, hereinafter referred to as the “school”, for earned but unpaid wages and benefits as the board deems appropriate, subject to the provisions of this Subsection and pursuant to the availability of funds as provided in Paragraph (4) of this Subsection. 

 

(2)(a) The board shall develop and administer a process for determining eligibility for settlement and payment of claims for unpaid wages and benefits by former employees of the school, as well as determining the amounts due each claimant and the execution of settlements with respect to claims. While the board shall establish the criteria for eligibility for settlement of a claim, at a minimum, a claimant shall have been employed by the school at the time of its closure and shall make a claim in accordance with the requirements of the board no later than July 30, 2003. Any former employee of the school who makes a claim for unpaid wages and benefits, who is determined by the board to be eligible for consideration for payment of unpaid wages and benefits shall execute a receipt, release, and waiver of any past, present, or future cause of action against the state and its departments, agencies, subdivisions, boards, and commissions, and the Tangipahoa Parish School Board with respect to earned but unpaid wages and benefits, hereinafter referred to as a “settlement agreement”. Such settlement agreements shall contain a clause which provides that neither the state nor any of its departments, agencies, subdivisions, boards, and commissions, nor the Tangipahoa Parish School Board shall bear any liability to pay any compensation to a claimant unless the provisions of Subparagraphs (b) and (c) of this Paragraph are met: 

 

(b) After all settlements have been executed by the board with all claimants who made a valid claim by July 30, 2003, the board shall certify that a settlement has been effected with every person who was employed at the school at the time of its closure. 

 

(c) The cooperative endeavor agreement executed by the Louisiana Department of Education and the Tangipahoa Parish School Board on March 25, 2003, has been amended to extend the effective date of the contract through December 31, 2003, and to expand the purposes of the contract to include payments either in whole or in part to the former employees of the school who have entered into settlement agreements with the board. 

 

(3) The board shall complete its consideration and settlement of claims as provided herein no later than September 30, 2003. If the conditions of Subparagraphs (b) and (c) of Paragraph (2) are met, the board shall then transmit a copy of all settlement agreements not later than December 1, 2003, to the Tangipahoa Parish School Board for its use in determining the payments to be made to the former employees. 

 

(4) In the event the conditions of Subparagraphs (b) and (c) of Paragraph (2) and Paragraph (3) of this Subsection are met, the Tangipahoa Parish School Board shall make payments to satisfy the settlement agreements, to the extent that monies are available from the cooperative endeavor agreement with the State Department of Education, with the amount of each payment made at the discretion of the Tangipahoa Parish School Board based on monies available. 

 

Acts 1997, No. 477, § 1, eff. June 30, 1997. Amended by Acts 1999, No. 757, § 1, eff. July 2, 1999; Acts 1999, No. 1210, § 1; Acts 2001, No. 20, § 1, eff. May 22, 2001; Acts 2003, No. 944, § 1, eff. July 1, 2003; Acts 2005, 1st Ex.Sess., No. 35, § 1, eff. Nov. 30, 2005; Acts 2008, No. 497, § 1, eff. June 25, 2008; Acts 2010, No. 54, § 1, eff. May 27, 2010; Acts 2010, No. 324, § 1, eff. July 1, 2010; Acts 2010, No. 861, § 8; Acts 2010, No. 999, § 2; Acts 2012, No. 298, § 2, eff. July 1, 2012; Acts 2016, No. 504, § 1, eff. June 14, 2016. 

Footnotes

1 Senate Bill No. 31 of the 2012 Regular Session was enacted as Acts 2012, No. 298.