Measuring Up

 



Hawaii

TOTAL SCORE:
136 out of 240

Rank: 28 out of 44

Year Charter School Law Was Enacted: 1994
Estimated Number of Charter Schools in 2016-17: 34
Estimated Number of Charter School Students in 2016-17: 10,900

Hawaii’s law does not cap charter public school growth, provides a single authorizing option to applicants, and provides sufficient accountability. However, the law still provides inadequate autonomy and inequitable funding to charter schools.

Hawaii’s law still needs significant improvement in several areas, including beefing up the requirements for charter application, review, and decisionmaking processes; exempting charter schools from collective bargaining agreements; ensuring equitable operational funding and equitable access to capital funding and facilities; ensuring transparency regarding educational service providers; and strengthening accountability for full-time virtual charter schools.

Do Hawaii's laws align to the model law?

Model Law Component

Matches

Hawaii's Charter Law

Score

1. No Caps

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

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

12

1A. No numeric or geographic limits are placed on the number of charter schools or students.

1B. If caps exist, there is room for growth.

N/A

2. A Variety of Charter Public Schools Allowed

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Hawaii law allows new start-ups and public school conversions.

8

2A. New startups.

2B. Public school conversions.

3. Multiple Authorizers Available

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Hawaii law creates a state charter school commission that has statewide authorizing authority. In addition, the law allows accredited public and private postsecondary institutions, county and state agencies, and nonprofits to apply to the state board of education to become an authorizer. There are 34 charter schools open in the state.

3

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

Hawaii law includes each element of the model law's authorizer and overall program accountability system.

The law requires the state board of education to provide oversight for all authorizers in the state, with such authorizers (except the state charter school commission) needing to submit an application to become an authorizer (and if approved receiving an initial six-year authorizing contract). All authorizers must submit annual reports to the state board of education, which in turn must review and determine if the provisions of the authorizing contract are being met. In evaluating the performance of authorizers, the state board of education must apply nationally recognized principles and standards for quality authorizing. Statute provides for a process of non-renewal or revocation of the authorizing contract as needed.

The state board of education must submit an annual report on the overall charter school program to the governor, the legislature, and the public.

12

4A. Registration process for school boards to affirm their interest in authorizing.

N/A

4B. Application process for other eligible authorizing entities (except a state charter schools commission).

4C. Authorizer submission of annual report.

4D. The ability for the state to conduct a review of an authorizer’s performance.

4E. The ability for the state to sanction an authorizer for poor performance, including suspending an authorizer’s authority to approve new schools.

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

5. Adequate Authorizer Funding

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

The law provides that the state charter school commission shall operate with dedicated resources and staff qualified to execute the day-to-day responsibilities of the commission pursuant to this chapter. Beginning with the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the law states that the legislature shall make an appropriation to the commission separate from, and in addition to, any appropriation made to charter. The law also allows the commission to assess fees on non-state entities and individuals to help offset its operating costs. However, statute is silent on any financial support for other potential authorizers.

Statute provides clear requirements to publicly report authorizer expenditures, to have separate contracts for any purchased services, and to prohibit authorizers from requiring any specific services purchases from them.

6

5A. A uniform statewide formula that guarantees annual authorizer funding that is not subject to annual legislative appropriations.

5B. Requirement to publicly report detailed authorizer expenditures.

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

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

6. Transparent Charter Application, Review, and Decisionmaking Processes

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

Hawaii law provides application elements for all schools and additional application elements specific to conversion schools, requires authorizers to issue requests for proposals, and requires a thorough evaluation of each application including an in-person interview and a public meeting.

As part of a state agency, the state charter school commission is subject to the state sunshine law, which requires all official business be conducted in a public meeting. Statute also requires the commission to clearly identify its reasons in writing for not approving any charter application.

12

6A. Application elements for all schools.

6B. Additional application elements specific to conversion schools.

6C. Additional application elements specific to using educational service providers.

6D. Additional application elements specific to replications.

6E. Requirement for thorough evaluation of each application, including an in-person interview and a public meeting.

6F. Application approval criteria.

6G. 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

Hawaii’s law clearly states that the charter is a separate document signed by the governing board and the authorizer that defines the responsibilities of both parties. The law also requires the contract contain a detailed performance framework including every item specifically mentioned in the model law.

The law is silent on the length of the initial charter contract, although it notes that charters can be renewed for additional terms up to five years each time.

12

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

7B. With such contracts defining the roles, powers, and responsibilities for the school and its authorizer.

7C. With such contracts defining academic, financial, and operational performance expectations by which the school will be judged based on a performance framework.

7D. With such contracts providing an initial term of five operating years.

8. Comprehensive Charter School Monitoring and Data Collection Processes

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

Hawaii law requires the following model law items within its law:

* The collection and analysis of student outcome data at least annually by authorizers (consistent with the performance framework outlined in the contract).
* Financial accountability for charter schools (e.g., Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, independent annual audit reported to authorizer).
* Authorizer authority to conduct or require oversight activities.
* Authorizer notification to their schools of perceived problems, with opportunities to remedy such problems.
* Authorizer authority to take appropriate corrective actions or exercise sanctions short of revocation

12

8A. Required annual school performance reports.

8B. Financial accountability for charter schools (e.g., generally accepted accounting principles, independent annual audit reported to authorizer).

8C. Authorizer authority to conduct oversight activities.

8D. Authorizer notification to its schools of perceived problems, with opportunities to remedy such problems.

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

8F. Authorizer may not request duplicative data submission from its charter schools and may not use performance framework to create cumbersome reporting requirements.

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

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

Hawaii law requires that by September 1 each year, authorizers must issue a performance report and charter contract renewal application guidance to any school whose contract is in its final contract year which must include the school’s performance record to date and any weaknesses or concerns that may jeopardize its position in seeking renewal. The law provides charter boards with 30 days to submit any corrections or clarifications for the report. It also requires them to submit their renewal applications by no later than March 1.

The law states clear criteria for renewal and nonrenewal as grounded in the performance framework detailed in the contract. It states that contracts may be renewed for successive five-year terms, although it allows authorizers to vary the terms based on the particular circumstances of the school.

The law allows authorizers to revoke the charter for failure to meet the state student performance standards, fiscal irresponsibility, or serious student or employee health or safety deficiencies. The law requires authorizers to develop revocation and non-renewal processes that provide timely notification and time for reasonable responses. It requires that decisions be made in a public hearing with authorizers stating reasons for non-renewals and revocations in writing. The law requires authorizers to report such actions to the state board of education along with assurances of law compliance.

The law requires authorizers to develop a charter school closure protocol to ensure timely parent notification, orderly student and record transitions, and property and asset disposition.

The law prohibits transfer of charter contracts to another authorizer unless the state board of education approves the transfer.

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. Ability to have a differentiated process for renewal of high-performing charter schools.

9E. Authorizers must use clear criteria for renewal and nonrenewal/revocation.

9F. 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.

9G. Requirement that authorizers close chronically low-performing charter schools unless exceptional circumstances exist.

9H. Authorizers must have the authority to vary length of charter renewal contract terms based on performance or other issues.

9I. Authorizers must provide charter schools with timely notification of potential revocation or nonrenewal (including reasons) and reasonable time to respond.

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

9K. All charter renewal, nonrenewal, and revocation decisions must be made in a public meeting, with authorizers stating reasons for nonrenewals and revocations in writing.

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

9M. Any transfer of charter contracts from one authorizer to another are only allowed if they are approved by the state.

10. Transparency Regarding Educational Service Providers (ESPs) Allowed

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Hawaii law includes a small number of the model law’s provisions for educational service providers.

The law allows all types of educational service providers to operate schools.

The law requires the charter application to detail a governance structure that incorporates a conflict of interest policy, but does not require that existing and potential conflicts of interest between the two entities be disclosed and explained in the charter application. The law also provides that no person may serve on the governing board of a charter school if the person is an employee or former employee of any vendor or contractor providing goods or services to any charter school under the jurisdiction of that governing board unless the person is a vendor or contractor and at least one year has passed since the conclusion of the vendor or contractor’s service to a charter school under the jurisdiction of that governing board or the person’s serving on the governing board shall not cause more than one-third of the voting members of the governing board to be made up of vendors or contractors who are providing goods or services to any charter school that is under the jurisdiction of that governing board. The law also provides that no vendor or contractor providing goods or services to a charter school may serve as the chair of the governing board of that charter school unless at least one year has elapsed since the conclusion of the vendor’s or contractor’s service to the school, provided that an authorizer may grant an exemption from this requirement.

The law requires that anyone working in close proximity to children in a charter school must be fingerprinted, but it does not explicitly state that employees of education service providers or contractors are included.

2

10A. All types of educational service providers (both for-profit and nonprofit) are 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, 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 charter school board and the ESP, with such contract approved by the school’s authorizer.

10D. School governing boards operate as entities completely independent of any ESP, individuals compensated by an ESP are prohibited from serving as voting members on such boards, and existing and potential conflicts of interest between the two entities are required to be disclosed and explained in the charter application.

10E. Provides that charter school governing boards must have access to ESP records necessary to oversee the ESP contract.

10F. An ESP must annually provide information to its charter school governing board on how that ESP spends public funding it receives when the ESP is performing a public function under applicable state law.

10G. Requires that similar criminal history record checks and fingerprinting requirements applicable to other public schools shall also be mandatory for on-site employees of ESPs who regularly come into contact with students.

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

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Hawaii law provides that each charter school's local school board is to be an independent governing body of its charter school and is responsible for the financial, organizational, and academic viability of the charter school and the implementation of the charter and is the independent authority that determines the organization and management of the school, the curriculum, virtual education, and compliance with applicable federal and state laws.

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. Independent school governing boards created specifically to govern their charter schools.

12. Clear Student Enrollment and Lottery Procedures

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Hawaii law requires start-up charter schools to provide open enrollment to any student residing in the state who is entitled to attend a department school.

The law provides that charter schools are not exempt from the state’s discriminatory practices statutes.

The law requires start-up charter schools to select students through a public lottery if capacity is insufficient to enroll all students who have submitted a timely application.

The law allows start-up charter schools to give enrollment preferences for prior year students within chartered schools and siblings of enrolled students enrolled at a charter school.

The law requires conversion charter schools to enroll any student who resides within the school’s former geographic service area for the grades that were in place when the public school converted to a charter school. It also requires conversion charter schools to be subject to the enrollment requirements for start-up charter schools for grades that were not in place when the school converted to a charter school.

Hawaii law provides that a student who is currently enrolled in a charter school that has been notified of the prospect of revocation or is closing shall be given first priority to enroll at another charter school to which the student applies or placed at the top of the waitlist for enrollment.

Hawaii law provides that a start-up charter school may give enrollment preference through a weighted lottery to educationally disadvantaged students.

4

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

12B. Anti-discrimination provisions regarding admissions.

12C. Required enrollment preferences for previously enrolled students within conversions and for prior-year students within charter schools.

12D. Lottery requirements.

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

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Hawaii law provides that charter schools are exempt from all state rules and statutes applicable to district public schools or districts, except those applying to discriminatory practices and health and safety requirements. In addition, Hawaii law provides that the negotiated master agreements apply to charter school employees unless the exclusive union representatives and the local school board of a charter school enter into supplemental agreements that contain cost and non-cost items to facilitate decentralized decision-making.

Hawaii law does not exempt charter school teachers from state teacher certification requirements.

3

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

Hawaii law provides that the negotiated master agreements apply to charter school employees unless the exclusive union representatives and the local school board of a charter school enter into supplemental agreements that contain cost and non-cost items to facilitate decentralized decision-making. In addition, any person with civil service status in a conversion school retains that status and all privileges and benefits as other civil servants.

3

14A. Charter schools authorized by nonlocal board authorizers are exempt from participation in any district collective bargaining agreements.

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

N/A

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

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Hawaii law allows multiple schools overseen by a single governing board, with all such schools still needing to report their own performance framework data.

8

15A. An independent charter school board may oversee multiple schools linked under a single contract with independent fiscal and academic accountability for each school.

15B. An independent charter school board may 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

Hawaii law grants charter school students the same opportunity as students at department schools to participate in sports activities whether it be provided at the charter school or a comparable program at a department school. The law, however, is silent on such rights for employees and on non-sports extra-curricular activities.

3

16A. Laws or regulations explicitly state that charter school students and employees are eligible to participate in all extracurricular and interscholastic activities available to noncharter public school students and employees.

16B. Laws or regulations explicitly allow charter school students in schools not providing extracurricular and interscholastic activities to have access to those activities at noncharter public schools.

17. Clear Provisions Regarding Special Education Responsibilities

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Hawaii law provides that the state department of education is responsible for the provision of a free appropriate public education and that any charter school is responsible for providing the educational and related services required by a student’s individualized education program (IEP). If the school cannot provide all of the required services, then the law requires the department to provide them as determined by the IEP. The law also requires the department to collaborate with the state charter school commission to develop guidelines related to the provision of special education services and resources to each charter school and allows the department to offer staff, funding, or both to the school based on a per-pupil weighted formula used to allocate resources for special education students in all public schools. The law is clear that charter schools will not receive funding for special education services.

The law does not explicitly grant charter schools blanket access to department services or programs, but it does acknowledge that the department must provide special education services, though the charter school must pay for them.

4

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

17B. Clarity regarding the flow of federal, state, and local special education funds to the designated LEA.

17C. 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).

17D. Clarity that charter schools have access to all regional and state services and supports available to traditional districts.

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

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

Hawaii provides operational funds to its charter schools via a line item appropriation in the state budget, using a charter schools account as a separate account in the state treasury. The law notes that the non-facility general fund per-pupil funding is to be the same as that allocated for district public schools. It also directs the state director of finance to transfer additional general fund money to charter schools as needed. The law also provides that charter schools are eligible for all applicable federal funding.

Although not stated in law, transportation dollars are in the “general funds” category in the state’s budget, and charters receive equal non-facility general fund money.

In a national study of charter school funding (University of Arkansas, Charter School Funding: Inequity Expands, 2014), Hawaii charter schools were receiving on average $8,986 per pupil in public funds, while district public schools would have received $13,601 for those students. As a result, the state's charter schools were receiving $4,615 per pupil – or 33.9% - less than what the district public schools would have received for those students. This figure includes all sources of funding, and analysis reveals some significant inequities for both operational and capital funding (see component 19 for information on capital issues).

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.

18D. Annual report offering district and charter public school funding comparisons and including annual recommendations to the legislature for any needed equity enhancements.

19. Equitable Access to Capital Funding and Facilities

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

Hawaii law provides that beginning with the 2016-2017 fiscal year, and each fiscal year thereafter, the legislature shall consider making an appropriation and bond authorization to the commission for the design, planning, construction, repair, and maintenance of charter school improvements to address issues of health, safety, and legal compliance, expand or improve instructional space, provide for food services, or provide restroom facilities. The appropriation and bond authorization for charter schools shall be separate from, and in addition to, any appropriation made to charter schools. These amounts shall be prioritized for allocation by the charter school facilities working group. The legislature is currently not providing funding for facilities costs.

Hawaii law requires the state department of education to make vacant department school facilities available to charter schools.

Hawaii law provides that when any department considers whether to close any particular facility, it shall give reasonable consideration to making all or portions of the facility available to charter schools and early learning programs; provided that the facilities may be used for any other purpose the department of education deems appropriate.

Each department shall provide notice to the superintendent, state charter school commission, and executive office on early learning, identifying suitable unused facilities that may be appropriate for charter schools, early learning programs, including the pre-plus program and any other purpose the department of education deems appropriate.

The department of accounting and general services shall inventory the suitable facilities, and, in determining suitability for educational re-use, priority shall be given to facilities on sites with sufficient space for three or more classrooms.

The law does not explicitly give charter schools the right to contract at or below fair market value with a school district, college/university, or any other public, for-profit, or nonprofit entity for the use of facilities. But there are several provisions referencing such a relationship.

Upon receipt of a notice, the state charter school commission or executive office on early learning shall solicit applications from charter schools or early learning programs, respectively, that are interested in using and occupying all or portions of the facilities and submit a prioritized list of charter schools or early learning programs, respectively, to the department of accounting and general services for final determination of which charter schools or early learning programs, if any, shall be authorized to use and occupy the facilities.

4


Facilities Funding

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

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

19C. Equal access to existing state facilities programs available to noncharter public schools.


Access to Public Space

19D. A requirement for districts to provide school district space or funding to charter schools if the majority of that school’s students reside in that district.

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


Access to Financing Tools

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

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

19H. Pledging the moral obligation of the state to help charter schools obtain more favorable bond financing terms.

19I. The creation and funding of a state charter school debt reserve fund.

19J. The inclusion of charter schools in school district bonding and mill levy requests.

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


Other

19L. Charter schools allowed to contract at or below fair market value with a school district, a college or university, or any other public or for-profit or nonprofit private entity for the use of facility for a school building.

19M. Certain entities allowed to provide space to charter schools within their facilities under their preexisting zoning and land use designations.

19N. Charter school facilities exempt from ad valorem taxes and other assessment fees not applicable to other public schools.

20. Access to Relevant Employee Retirement Systems

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Hawaii law requires charter school employees to be members of the State Pension and Retirement System.

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).

21. Full-Time Virtual Charter School Provisions (if such schools allowed by state)

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Hawaii law does not contain any of the model law’s provisions for full-time virtual charter schools.

0

21A. An authorizing structure whereby full-time virtual charter schools that serve students from more than one district may be approved only by an authorizer with statewide chartering jurisdiction and authority, full-time virtual charter schools that serve students from one school district may be authorized by that school district, and a cap is placed on the total amount of funding that an authorizer may withhold from a full-time virtual charter school.

21B. Legally permissible criteria and processes for enrollment based on the existence of supports needed for student success.

21C. Enrollment level provisions that establish maximum enrollment levels for each year of a charter contract, with any increases in enrollment from one year to the next based on whether the school meets its performance requirements.

21D. Accountability provisions that include virtual-specific goals regarding student enrollment, attendance, engagement, achievement, truancy, and attrition.

21E. Funding levels per student based on costs proposed and justified by the operators.

21F. Performance-based funding whereby full-time virtual charter schools are funded via a performance-based funding system based on meeting the accountability performance provisions.