Measuring Up to the Model



Nevada

TOTAL SCORE:
150 out of 228

Rank: 13 out of 43

Year Charter School Law Was Enacted:  1997
Estimated Number of Public Charter Schools in 2013-14:  34
Estimated Number of Public Charter School Students in 2013-14:  26,022 

Nevada enacted two major pieces of charter school legislation in 2013. The first piece of legislation created performance frameworks as part of charter contracts, strengthened the application and renewal processes, and provided for stronger authorizer accountability. The second piece of legislation provided facilities support.

As a result, Nevada’s score increased from 126 points in 2013 to 150 points this year. The score changed because of changes in state policies for Component #4 (Authorizer and Overall Program Accountability System Required), Component #7 (Performance-Based Charter Contracts Required), Component #8 (Comprehensive Charter School Monitoring and Data Collection Processes), and Component #19 (Equitable Access to Capital Funding and Facilities) and because of further clarification about the specific policies for Component #11 (Fiscally and Legally Autonomous Schools with Independent Public Charter School Boards) and Component #14 (Automatic Collective Bargaining Exemption).

Its ranking went from #22 to #13 .

Potential areas for improvement include increasing operational autonomy and ensuring equitable operational funding and equitable access to capital funding and facilities.

Do Nevada's laws align to the model law?

Model Law Component

Matches

Nevada's Charter Law

Score

1. No Caps

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Nevada law does not place any caps on charter school growth.

12

1A. No limits are placed on the number of public charter schools or students (and no geographic limits).

1B. If caps exist, adequate room for growth.

N/A

2. A Variety of Public Charter Schools Allowed

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Nevada law allows new start-ups and virtual schools, but not public school conversions.

6

2A. New start-ups.

2B. Public school conversions.

2C. Virtual schools.

3. Multiple Authorizers Available

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Nevada law allows applicants to seek approval from a local school board (if previously approved to be an authorizer by the state department of education), the State Public Charter School Authority, or a college or university within the Nevada System of Higher Education (if previously approved to be an authorizer by the state department of education). There is some authorizing activity by local school boards and the State Public Charter School Authority.

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3A. The state allows two or more authorizing options (e.g., school districts and a state charter schools commission) for each applicant with direct application to each authorizer.

4. Authorizer & Overall Program Accountability System Required

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Nevada law requires local school boards and a college or university within the Nevada System of Higher Education to apply to the state department of education for authorization to authorize charter schools. It requires an entity’s application to be approved by the state department of education before it may authorize a charter school.

Nevada law requires each authorizer to submit an annual report to the state department of education that includes: for each charter school that it authorizes with a written charter, an evaluation of the progress of each such charter school in achieving the educational goals and objectives of the written charter; for each charter school that it authorizes with a charter contract, a summary evaluating the academic, financial and organizational performance of the charter school, as measured by the performance indicators, measures and metrics set forth in the performance framework for the charter school; an identification of each charter school approved by the authorizer which has not opened and the scheduled time for opening, if any, which is open and in operation, which has transferred authorization, whose written charter has been revoked or whose charter contract has been terminated by the authorizer, whose charter contract has not been renewed by the authorizer, and which has voluntarily ceased operation; a description of the strategic vision of the authorizer for the charter schools that it authorizes and the progress of the authorizer in achieving that vision; a description of the services provided by the authorizer pursuant to a service agreement entered into with the governing body of the charter school pursuant to state law, including an itemized accounting of the actual costs of those services; the amount of any money from the Federal Government that was distributed to the charter school, any concerns regarding the equity of such distributions and any recommendations on how to improve access to and distribution of money from the Federal Government.

Nevada law requires the state department of education to conduct a comprehensive review of the authorizers that it has approved at least once every three years.

The law allows the state department of education to determine whether to continue or to revoke the authorization of an entity to authorize charter schools.

Nevada law requires the state superintendent of public instruction to submit a periodic report to the Director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau for transmission to the next regular session of the Legislature that includes: a list of each application to form a charter school that was submitted to the board of trustees of a school district, the State Board, a college or a university during the immediately preceding biennium; the educational focus of each charter school for which an application was submitted; the current status of the application; and, if the application was denied, the reasons for the denial.

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4A. At least a registration process for local school boards to affirm their interest in chartering to the state.

4B. Application process for other eligible authorizing entities.

4C. Authorizer submission of annual report, which summarizes the agency’s authorizing activities as well as the performance of its school portfolio.

4D. A regular review process by authorizer oversight body.

4E. Authorizer oversight body with authority to sanction authorizers, including removal of authorizer right to approve schools.

4F. Periodic formal evaluation of overall state charter school program and outcomes.

5. Adequate Authorizer Funding

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Nevada law provides that authorizers receive a fee not to exceed 2% of the total amount of money apportioned to charter schools, except that charter schools meeting the requirements of law may request their sponsor to lower the amount to not less than 1%.

Upon completion of a school quarter, the law allows an authorizer to request reimbursement from a charter school for the administrative costs associated with authorization during that school year, including an itemized list of those costs.

Statute requires a separate contract for any services purchased from an authorizer by a charter school board, excluding those services covered by the sponsorship fee. The law also provides a prohibition on authorizers requiring schools to purchase any services from them.

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5A. Adequate funding from authorizing fees (or other sources).

5B. Guaranteed funding from authorizing fees (or from sources not subject to annual legislative appropriations).

5C. Requirement to publicly report detailed authorizer expenditures.

5D. Separate contract for any services purchased from an authorizer by a school.

5E. Prohibition on authorizers requiring schools to purchase services from them.

6. Transparent Charter Application, Review, and Decisionmaking Processes

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

Nevada law and regulation contains application elements for all schools.

Nevada law requires virtual charter schools to submit both a charter application and a distance education application to the state department of education.

As part of the application requirements, Nevada law and regulation, applicants must provide all contracts, including those with educational service providers.

The law requires authorizers to thoroughly evaluate each application with an in-person interview and a public meeting.

Nevada law requires all charter approval or denial decisions to be made in a public meeting, with authorizers stating reasons for denials in writing.

The law does not include additional application elements specific to replications, does not require authorizers to issue requests for proposals that include application requirements and approval criteria.

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6A. Application elements for all schools.

6B. Additional application elements specific to conversion schools.

N/A

6C. Additional application elements specific to virtual schools.

6D. Additional application elements specific when using educational service providers.

6E. Additional application elements specific to replications.

6F. Authorizer-issued request for proposals (including application requirements and approval criteria).

6G. Thorough evaluation of each application including an in-person interview and a public meeting.

6H. All charter approval or denial decisions made in a public meeting, with authorizers stating reasons for denials in writing.

7. Performance-Based Charter Contracts Required

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

Nevada law requires charter contracts be executed by the governing body of a charter school and the authorizer of the charter school and include a description of the administrative relationship between the authorizer and the charter school, including, without limitation, the rights and duties of the authorizer and the charter school.

If the authorizer is the State Public Charter School Authority or a college or university within the Nevada System of Higher Education, law and regulation provide that a written charter contract must set forth the responsibilities of the authorizer and the charter school with regard to the provision of services and programs to pupils with disabilities who are enrolled in the charter school in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This provision does not apply to charters authorized by local school boards.

The law requires charter contracts to define academic, financial, and organizational performance expectations by which the school will be judged based on a performance framework

The law provides that a written charter contract must be for a term of six years.

The law does not include requirements addressing the unique environments of virtual schools.

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7A. Being created as a separate document from the application and executed by the governing board of the charter school and the authorizer.

7B. Defining the roles, powers, and responsibilities for the school and its authorizer.

7C. Defining academic and operational performance expectations by which the school will be judged, based on a performance framework that includes measures and metrics for, at a minimum, student academic proficiency and growth, achievement gaps, attendance, recurrent enrollment, postsecondary readiness (high schools), financial performance, and board stewardship (including compliance).

7D. Providing an initial term of five operating years (or a longer term with periodic high-stakes reviews.

7E. Including requirements addressing the unique environments of virtual schools, if applicable.

8. Comprehensive Charter School Monitoring and Data Collection Processes

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

The law requires authorizers to ensure the collection, analysis, and reporting of all data from the results of pupils enrolled in the charter school on statewide examinations to determine whether the charter school is meeting the performance indicators, measures, and metrics for the achievement and proficiency of pupils as set forth in the performance framework for the charter school.

Nevada law requires a charter school to submit an annual budget report to its authorizer, the state superintendent of public instruction, and the Director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau for transmission to the Majority Leader of the Senate and the Speaker of the Assembly. The law provides that a governing body of a charter school must cause the charter school to be audited on an annual basis.

The law requires that all authorizers must prepare an annual public report of accountability, including provisions required by law and the state department of education.

Statute explicitly states that authorizers must monitor their schools.

The law requires authorizers to notify schools of problems and ask them to remedy them (or at least provide a summary of how they are planning on remedying them) by a certain date.

The law allows authorizers to proceed with consequences or sanctions or both if problems are found and not resolved.

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8A. The collection and analysis of student outcome data at least annually by authorizers (consistent with performance framework outlined in the contract).

8B. Financial accountability for charter schools (e.g., Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, independent annual audit reported to authorizer).

8C. Authorizer authority to conduct or require oversight activities.

8D. Annual school performance reports which are made public.

8E. Authorizer notification to their schools of perceived problems, with opportunities to remedy such problems.

8F. Authorizer authority to take appropriate corrective actions or exercise sanctions short of revocation.

9. Clear Processes for Renewal, Nonrenewal, and Revocation Decisions

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

Nevada law requires authorizers to issue school performance renewal reports to schools whose charter will expire the following year, requires charter schools seeking renewal to apply for it, and provides renewal application requirements and timelines.

Nevada law requires that an authorizer’s renewal decisions be based upon the criteria of the authorizer for the renewal of charter contracts and evidence of the performance of the charter school during the term of the charter contract in accordance with the performance framework for the charter school.

Nevada law provides that an authorizer may revoke a written charter or terminate a charter contract before the expiration of the charter if the sponsor determines that: the charter school, its officers, or its employees committed a material breach of the terms and conditions of the written charter or charter contract, failed to comply with generally accepted standards of fiscal management, failed to comply with the provisions of the state’s charter law or any other statute or regulation applicable to charter schools, or if the charter schools holds a charter contract, has persistently underperformed, as measured by the performance indicators, measures, and metrics set forth in the performance framework for the charter school; the charter school has filed for a voluntary petition of bankruptcy, is adjudicated bankrupt or insolvent, or is otherwise financially impaired such that the charter school cannot continue to operate; or there is reasonable cause to believe that revocation or termination is necessary to protect the health and safety of the pupils who are enrolled in the charter school or persons who are employed by the charter school from jeopardy, or to prevent damage to or loss of the property of the school district or the community in which the charter school is located.

Nevada law provides that the authorizer of a charter school shall revoke the written charter or terminate the charter contract of the charter school if the charter school receives three consecutive annual ratings established as the lowest rating possible indicating underperformance of a public school, as determined by the state department of education pursuant to the statewide system of accountability for public schools.

Nevada law requires authorizers to provide charter schools with timely notification of potential revocation, termination, and non-renewal decisions, a reasonable time to respond, and due process.

Nevada law provides that renewal contract terms are for six years. It does not allow authorizers to vary the length of charter renewal contract terms based on performance or other issues.

Nevada law requires governing bodies of charter schools that cease to operate voluntarily or upon revocation of their written charter contract to appoint an administrator of the charter school to act as a trustee during the process of the closure of the charter school and for one year after the date of closure.

12

9A. Authorizer must issue school performance renewal reports to schools whose charter will expire the following year.

9B. Schools seeking renewal must apply for it.

9C. Authorizers must issue renewal application guidance that provides an opportunity for schools to augment their performance record and discuss improvements and future plans.

9D. Clear criteria for renewal and nonrenewal/revocation.

9E. Authorizers must ground renewal decisions based on evidence regarding the school’s performance over the term of the charter contract (in accordance with the performance framework set forth in the charter contract).

9F. Authorizer authority to vary length of charter renewal contract terms based on performance or other issues.

9G. Authorizers must provide charter schools with timely notification of potential revocation or non-renewal (including reasons) and reasonable time to respond.

9H. Authorizers must provide charter schools with due process for nonrenewal and revocation decisions (e.g., public hearing, submission of evidence).

9I. All charter renewal, non-renewal, and revocation decisions made in a public meeting, with authorizers stating reasons for non-renewals and revocations in writing.

9J. Authorizers must have school closure protocols to ensure timely parent notification, orderly student and record transitions, and property and asset disposition.

10. Educational Service Providers (ESPs) Allowed

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Nevada laws and regulations contain many of the model law’s provisions for educational service providers. However, the law does not require the charter application to include performance data for all current and past schools operated by the ESP, including documentation of academic achievement and (if applicable) school management success and explanation and evidence of the ESP’s capacity for successful growth while maintaining quality in existing schools.

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10A. All types of educational service providers (both for-profit and non-profit) explicitly allowed to operate all or parts of schools.

10B. The charter application requires 1) performance data for all current and past schools operated by the ESP, including documentation of academic achievement and (if applicable) school management success; and 2) explanation and evidence of the ESP’s capacity for successful growth while maintaining quality in existing schools.

10C. A performance contract is required between the independent public charter school board and the ESP, setting forth material terms including but not limited to: performance evaluation measures; methods of contract oversight and enforcement by the charter school board; compensation structure and all fees to be paid to the ESP; and conditions for contract renewal and termination.

10D. The material terms of the ESP performance contract must be approved by the authorizer prior to charter approval.

10E. School governing boards operating as entities completely independent of any educational service provider (e.g., must retain independent oversight authority of their charter schools, and cannot give away their authority via contract).

10F. Existing and potential conflicts of interest between the two entities are required to be disclosed and explained in the charter application.

11. Fiscally and Legally Autonomous Schools with Independent Public Charter School Boards

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Nevada law provides for fiscally and legally autonomous schools with independent charter school boards.

12

11A. Fiscally autonomous schools (e.g., schools have clear statutory authority to receive and disburse funds, incur debt, and pledge, assign or encumber assets as collateral).

11B. Legally autonomous schools (e.g., schools have clear statutory authority to enter into contracts and leases, sue and be sued in their own names, and acquire real property).

11C. School governing boards created specifically to govern their charter schools.

12. Clear Student Recruitment, Enrollment, and Lottery Procedures

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Nevada law requires public charter schools to be open to any student in the state that wishes to enroll. If a charter school is sponsored by a local school board of a school district located in a county whose population is 100,000 or more, the law requires the charter school to enroll pupils who are eligible for enrollment who reside in the school district in which the charter school is located before enrolling pupils who reside outside the school district, except for a program of distance education provided by the charter school.

Nevada law requires charter schools to hold lotteries if too many students seek enrolment in the school.

Nevada law provides that before a charter school enrolls pupils who are eligible for enrollment, a charter school may enroll a child who is a sibling of a pupil who is currently enrolled in the charter school, was enrolled, free of charge, and on the basis of a lottery system in a prekindergarten program at the charter school or any other early childhood education program affiliated with the charter school, is a child of a person who is employed by the charter school, a member of the committee to form the school, or a member of the governing body of the school, is in a particular category of at-risk pupils and the child meets the eligibility for enrollment prescribed by the charter school for that particular category, or resides within the school district and within two miles of the charter school if the charter school is located in an area that the authorizer of the charter school determines includes a high percentage of children who are at risk. If space is available after the charter school enrolls such pupils, the law allows a charter school to enroll children who reside outside the school district but within two miles of the charter school if the charter school is located within an area that the authorizer determines includes a high percentage of children who are at risk.

Nevada law also states that If the local school board of the school district in which the charter school is located has established zones of attendance, the charter school must, if practicable, ensure that the racial composition of pupils enrolled in the charter school does not differ by more than 10% from the racial composition of pupils who attend public schools in the zone in which the charter school is located.

6

12A. Open enrollment to any student in the state.

12B. Lottery requirements.

12C. Required enrollment preferences for previously enrolled students within conversions, prior year students within chartered schools, siblings of enrolled students enrolled at a charter school.

12D. Optional enrollment preference for children of a school’s founders, governing board members, and full-time employees, not exceeding 10% of the school’s total student population.

13. Automatic Exemptions from Many State and District Laws and Regulations

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Nevada law allows a charter school to submit a written request to the state superintendent of public instruction for a waiver from providing the days of instruction required by state law. The law allows the state superintendent of public instruction to grant the request if the charter school demonstrates to the satisfaction of the state superintendent that extenuating circumstances exist to justify the waiver and that the charter school will provide at least as many hours or minutes of instruction as would be provided under a program consisting of the days of instruction required by state law.

Nevada law provides the following teacher certification requirements for charters:

(1) Up to 30% of the teachers who provide instruction at a charter school may be non-licensed.
(2) In a vocational charter school, up to 50% of the teachers who provide instruction may be non-licensed.
(3) A teacher that provides instruction in the following subjects must be licensed: English, reading or language arts; mathematics; science; foreign language; civics or government; economics; geography; history; or the arts.
(4) If a charter school specializes in arts and humanities, physical education, or health education, a licensed teacher must teach those courses of study.
(5) If a charter school specializes in the construction industry or other building industry, licensed teachers must teach courses of study relating to the industry if those teachers are employed full-time.
(6) If a charter school specializes in the construction industry or other building industry and the school offers courses of study in computer education, technology, or business, licensed teachers must teach those courses of study if those teachers are employed full-time.
(7) A charter school may employ a person who is not licensed to teach a course of study for which a licensed teacher is not required if the person has a degree, a license, or a certificate in the field for which he is employed to teach at the charter school and at least two years of experience in that field.

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13A. Exemptions from all laws, except those covering health, safety, civil rights, student accountability, employee criminal history checks, open meetings, freedom of information, and generally accepted accounting principles.

13B. Exemption from state teacher certification requirements.

14. Automatic Collective Bargaining Exemption

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Nevada law makes collective bargaining agreement applicable to employees at charters on leave from school districts, but not to other employees.

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14A. Charter schools authorized by non-local board authorizers are exempt from participation in any outside collective bargaining agreements.

14B. Charter schools authorized by local boards are exempt from participation in any district collective bargaining agreements.

15. Multischool Charter Contracts and/or Multicharter Contract Boards Allowed

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Nevada law is silent regarding these arrangements.

2

15A. Oversee multiple schools linked under a single contract with independent fiscal and academic accountability for each school.

15B. Hold multiple charter contracts with independent fiscal and academic accountability for each school.

16. Extracurricular and Interscholastic Activities Eligibility and Access

weight = 1 | Possible total = 4

Nevada law allows charter school students in schools not providing extra-curricular and interscholastic activities to have access to those activities at non-charter public schools by a mutual agreement.

The law does not explicitly state that charter school students and employees are eligible to participate in all interscholastic leagues, competitions, awards, scholarships, and recognition programs available to non-charter public school students and employees.

3

16A. Laws or regulations explicitly state that charter school students and employees are eligible to participate in all interscholastic leagues, competitions, awards, scholarships, and recognition programs available to non-charter public school students and employees.

16B. Laws or regulations explicitly allow charter school students in schools not providing extra-curricular and interscholastic activities to have access to those activities at non-charter public schools for a fee by a mutual agreement.

17. Clear Identification of Special Education Responsibilities

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Nevada law provides that the State Public Charter School Authority is the LEA for charters authorized by it and a college or university within the Nevada System of Higher Education. The law does not provide similar clarity for charters authorized by school districts or regarding funding for low-incident, high-cost services for charter schools in the same amount or in a manner similar to other LEAs.

The law provides that if the governing body of a charter school determines that the charter school is unable to provide an appropriate special education program and related services for a particular disability of a pupil who is enrolled in the charter school, the governing body may request that the board of trustees of the school district of the county in which the pupil resides transfer that pupil to an appropriate school.

2

17A. Clarity regarding which entity is the local education agency (LEA) responsible for providing special education services.

17B. Clarity regarding funding for low-incident, high-cost services for charter schools (in the same amount and/or in a manner similar to other LEAs).

18. Equitable Operational Funding and Equal Access to All State and Federal Categorical Funding

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

Nevada law includes some of the model law’s provisions for equitable operational and categorical funding, but there is no evidence of the amount of funds charters receive versus districts.

Nevada law provides that each pupil who is enrolled in a charter school, including, without limitation, a pupil who is enrolled in a program of special education in a charter school, must be included in the count of pupils in the school district for the purposes of apportionments and allowances from the State Distributive School Account.

It also provides that a charter school is entitled to receive its proportionate share of any other money available from federal, state, or local sources that the school or the pupils who are enrolled in the school are eligible to receive.

The law does not provide funding for transportation similar to school districts.

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18A. Equitable operational funding statutorily driven.

18B. Equal access to all applicable categorical federal and state funding, and clear guidance on the pass-through of such funds.

18C. Funding for transportation similar to school districts.

19. Equitable Access to Capital Funding and Facilities

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

Nevada law authorizes the Director of the Department of Business and Industry to issue bonds and other obligations to finance the acquisition, construction, improvement, restoration, or rehabilitation of property, buildings, and facilities for charter schools.

4

19A. A per-pupil facilities allowance which annually reflects actual average district capital costs.

19B. A state grant program for charter school facilities.

19C. A state loan program for charter school facilities.

19D. Equal access to tax-exempt bonding authorities or allow charter schools to have their own bonding authority.

19E. A mechanism to provide credit enhancement for public charter school facilities.

19F. Equal access to existing state facilities programs available to non-charter public schools.

19G. Right of first refusal to purchase or lease at or below fair market value a closed, unused, or underused public school facility or property.

19H. Prohibition of facility-related requirements stricter than those applied to traditional public schools.

20. Access to Relevant Employee Retirement Systems

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Nevada law requires participation in the relevant employee retirement systems.

4

20A. Charter schools have access to relevant state retirement systems available to other public schools.

20B. Charter schools have the option to participate (i.e., not required).