Measuring Up to the Model



Oklahoma

TOTAL SCORE:
112 out of 228

Rank: 36 out of 43

Year Charter School Law Was Enacted:  1999
Estimated Number of Public Charter Schools in 2013-14:  25
Estimated Number of Public Charter School Students in 2013-14:  16,137

Oklahoma did not pass any legislation in 2013 that affected its score and ranking.

Oklahoma’s score increased from 109 points in 2013 to 112 points this year.  The score changed because of adjustments in our methodology for Component #3 (Multiple Authorizers Available).  Its ranking went from #34 to #36.

The biggest area for improvement in Oklahoma’s law is expanding charter schools statewide (the state currently allows charters in 21 of its 537 districts).  Other potential areas for improvement include beefing up the law in relation to the model law’s four quality control components (Components #6 through #9) and ensuring equitable operational funding and equitable access to capital funding and facilities.

Do Oklahoma's laws align to the model law?

Model Law Component

Matches

Oklahoma's Charter Law

Score

1. No Caps

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

State law only allows charter schools to be established in districts with more than 5,000 students in Oklahoma and Tulsa counties and in districts that have schools on the states’ school improvement list. As a result, charter schools are allowed to open in 21 of the state’s 521 districts.

Statute allows the state board of education to approve two schools affiliated with the Office of Juvenile Affairs.

6

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.

2. A Variety of Public Charter Schools Allowed

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Oklahoma law allows new start-ups, public school conversions, and virtual schools.

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2A. New start-ups.

2B. Public school conversions.

2C. Virtual schools.

3. Multiple Authorizers Available

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Oklahoma law permits the following entities to serve as authorizers: local school districts; technology center school districts; a comprehensive or regional institution that is a member of the Oklahoma state system of higher education; a federally recognized Indian tribe (but only for schools located within its former reservation or treaty area boundaries and designed to demonstrate native language immersion instruction); the state board of education when the applicant is the Office of Juvenile Affairs or has a contract with that Office; and the statewide virtual charter school board when the charter school is for the purpose of establishing a full-time statewide virtual charter school. There is some authorizing activity by these authorizing activities.

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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

Oklahoma law includes a small number of the elements of the model law's authorizer and overall program accountability system.

Oklahoma law requires the state board of education to issue an annual report to the legislature and the governor outlining the status of charter schools in the state.

However, it does not require at least a registration process for school boards to affirm their interest in chartering to the state, authorizer submission of an annual report that summarizes the agency’s authorizing activities as well as the performance of its school portfolio, a regular review process by authorizer oversight body, and an authorizer oversight body with authority to sanction authorizers, including removal of authorizer right to approve schools.

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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

Oklahoma law permits an authorizer to withhold up to 5% of a school's state aid allocation for administrative purposes. However, it does not include requirements for authorizers to publicly report detailed authorizer expenditures, require a separate contract for any services purchased from an authorizer by a school, and prohibit authorizers from requiring schools to purchase services from them.

4

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

Oklahoma law includes a small number of the elements of the model law's provisions for transparent charter application, review, and decision-making processes. Oklahoma law outlines the elements to be contained in the charter application. However, it does not contain additional application elements specific to conversion schools, virtual schools, educational service providers, and replications.

The law does not require authorizers to issue requests for proposals, to thoroughly evaluate each application via an in-person interview and a public meeting, to make all charter approval or denial decisions in a public meeting, and to state reasons for denials in writing.

4

6A. Application elements for all schools.

6B. Additional application elements specific to conversion schools.

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

Oklahoma law requires the authorizer and charter school governing board to enter into a written contract, but the requirements only concern school roles, powers, and responsibilities and don’t address authorizer roles, powers, and responsibilities.

The law does not explicitly require performance expectations or responsibilities to be incorporated in the contract.

Oklahoma law provides that a charter contract may not be longer than five years.

It does not require contracts to include requirements addressing 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

Oklahoma law includes a small number of the elements of the model law's provisions for comprehensive charter school monitoring and data collection processes. Oklahoma law requires each charter school to annually file a report with the Office of Accountability. It provides that this report must include such information as requested by the Office of Accountability, including but not limited to information on enrollment, testing, curriculum, finances and employees.

The law requires charter schools to be subject to the same reporting requirements, financial audits, audit procedures, and audit requirements as the school district.

However, it doesn’t require authorizers to collect and analyze student outcome data at least annually, provide authorizers the authority to conduct or require oversight activities, require authorizers to publish annual school performance reports, require authorizers to notify their schools of perceived problems and give schools opportunities to remedy such problems, and provide authorizers the authority to take appropriate corrective actions or exercise sanctions short of revocation.

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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

Oklahoma law requires schools seeking renewal to apply for it. However, it does not require authorizers to issue school performance renewal reports to schools whose charter will expire the following year and to issue renewal application guidance that provides an opportunity for schools to augment their performance record and discuss improvements and future plans.

Oklahoma law provides that a charter school authorizer may deny the request for renewal if it determines the charter school has failed to complete the obligations of the contract or comply with the provisions of the state's charter schools law. It also provides that a charter school authorizer may terminate a contract during the term of the contract for failure to meet the requirements for student performance contained in the contract, failure to meet the standards of fiscal management, violations of the law, or other good cause.

Oklahoma law requires an authorizer to give written notice of its intent to deny the request for renewal at least eight months prior to expiration of the contract. It requires an authorizer to give at least 90 days written notice to the governing board prior to terminating the contract.

Under Oklahoma law, a renewed charter contract is effective for no longer than five years.

Oklahoma law allows charter school governing boards to request an informal hearing before the authorizer within 14 days of receiving notice of termination. The law is silent as to such an option for nonrenewal.

Oklahoma law does not require authorizers to make charter renewal, nonrenewal, and revocation decisions in a public meeting.

Oklahoma law allows a charter school governing board to proceed to mediation and/or binding arbitration if its charter is not renewed or terminated.

Oklahoma law does not require authorizers to have school closure protocols to ensure timely parent notification, orderly student and record transitions, and property and asset disposition. However, it requires a school's charter to include a provision specifying the method or methods to be employed for disposing of real and personal property acquired by the charter school upon expiration or termination of the charter or failure of the charter school to continue operations. It also states that, except as otherwise provided, any real or personal property purchased with state or local funds must be retained by the sponsoring school district. It also states that where a charter is not renewed or revoked, each affected students may enroll in his resident school district or apply for a transfer in accordance with the law.

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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

Oklahoma law is silent regarding these arrangements. It does provide that the governing body of a charter school is subject to the same conflicts of interest requirements as a member of the local school board, but these provisions are not specific to potential conflicts with educational service providers.

0

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

Oklahoma law allows a charter school to enter into contracts and sue or be sued. It also provides that charter schools are also considered a school district for purposes of the Governmental Tort Claims Act.

Oklahoma law requires charter schools to provide for a governing body for the school that shall be responsible for the policies and operational decisions of the charter school.

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

Oklahoma law requires charter schools to select students through a lottery selection process if capacity is insufficient to enroll all eligible students. However, it does not require charter schools to provide open enrollment to any student in the state.

Oklahoma law requires a charter school to give enrollment preference to eligible students who reside within the boundaries of the school district in which the charter school is located. For schools created in 2010 or later, this required preference includes students who meet this criteria and attend a school on the state’s school improvement list.

Oklahoma law allows a charter school to designate a specific geographic area within the school district in which the charter school is located as an academic enterprise zone and may limit admissions to students who reside within that area (an academic enterprise zone is a geographic area in which 60% or more of the children who reside in the area qualify for the free or reduced school lunch program).

It does not require enrollment preferences for previously enrolled students within conversions, prior year students within chartered schools, siblings of enrolled students enrolled at a charter school. It also does not provide optional enrollment preferences for children of a school’s founders, governing board members, and full-time employees, not exceeding 10% of the school’s total student population.

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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

Oklahoma law provides that except as provided for in the state's charter school law and a charter school's charter, a charter school is exempt from all statutes and rules relating to schools, boards of education, and school districts.

Oklahoma law exempts charter schools from state teacher certification requirements.

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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

Oklahoma law exempts charter schools from participation in district collective bargaining agreements.

12

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

Oklahoma law provides that a charter school may consist of new school sites, but does not require each school to be independently accountable for fiscal and academic performance.

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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

Oklahoma law is silent regarding charter eligibility and access for brick-and-mortar charter schools.

However, Oklahoma law provides that students enrolled full-time in the statewide virtual charter school governed by the statewide virtual charter school board shall not be authorized to participate in any activities administered by the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association. However, it provides that these students may participate in intramural activities sponsored by the statewide virtual charter school, an online provider sponsored by the statewide virtual charter school, or any other outside organization.

0

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

Oklahoma law states that charter schools are their own local education agencies and specifies that a charter school must comply with all federal and state laws relating to the education of children with disabilities in the same manner as a school district. The law does not provide clarity regarding funding for low-incident, high-cost services for charter schools.

4

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

Oklahoma law includes a small number of the model law’s provisions for equitable operational and categorical funding. There is no evidence of the amount of funds charters receive versus districts.

Oklahoma law requires the state board of education to determine the policy and procedure for making payments to a charter school.

Oklahoma law requires that charter schools receive state aid, but not local dollars.

Under Oklahoma law, a charter school "may" provide transportation. Where it is provided, charters receive the same per pupil allotment as traditional public schools for transportation.

0

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

Oklahoma law provides the charter school incentive fund, which provides up to $50,000 per school to cover costs associated with renovating or remodeling existing buildings and structures for use by a charter school.

It also allows charter schools to access tax-exempt bond financing through the Oklahoma Development Finance Authority.

The law provides that public charter schools have access to the State Public Common School Building Equalization Fund. It provides that charters must use these funds to acquire buildings, grants can only be awarded to charter schools that have secured matching funds for acquiring buildings in an amount of not less than 10% of the total grant amount, and the amount of each grant cannot exceed $4,000,000. From the total amount available to provide grants to public schools, the law requires that charter schools be allocated the greater of 10% of the total amount or the percent of students enrolled in charter schools that are not sponsored by the statewide virtual charter school board as compared to the student enrollment in school districts which have a total assessed property valuation per average daily membership that is equal to or less than 25% of the state total assessed property valuation per average daily membership. It also provides that the state board of education shall make available to eligible charter schools any unused grant funds that remain after the initial allocation to all eligible public school districts and charter schools.

The law provides that charter schools that choose to lease property are eligible to receive current government lease rates.

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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

Oklahoma law provides charter schools the option to participate in relevant employee retirement systems.

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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).