Measuring Up

 



Kansas

TOTAL SCORE:
65 out of 240

Rank: 43 out of 44

Year Charter School Law Was Enacted: 1994
Estimated Number of Charter Schools in 2016-17: 10
Estimated Number of Charter School Students in 2016-17: 3,800

While Kansas’ law does not cap charter public school growth, it allows only local school district authorizers and provides little autonomy, insufficient accountability, and inequitable funding to charter schools.

Kansas’ law needs improvement across the board. Potential starting points include expanding authorizing options, beefing up the law in relation to the model law’s four quality-control components (Components 6 through 9), increasing operational autonomy, 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 Kansas's laws align to the model law?

Model Law Component

Matches

Kansas's Charter Law

Score

1. No Caps

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Kansas 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

Kansas 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

Kansas law only provides one authorizing option for charter applications. First, the local school board must approve it. Second, the state board of education must approve it. There is almost no authorizing activity in the state.

0

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

Kansas law provides that at the conclusion of each school year in which a charter school is operated in a school district, the local school board must evaluate the impact the charter school has had on the educational system of the district and submit the evaluation to the state board of education. If applicable, the evaluation must include a statement regarding the reasons why a charter school was discontinued or did not seek renewal and whether the program will continue as a noncharter school.

Kansas law requires the state board to review, assess and compile the evaluations of charter schools submitted by local school boards and submit the compilation of evaluations and other relevant material, including specification of school district and state board waivers granted with respect to the operation of each charter school, to the governor and the legislature.

6

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

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

N/A

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

Kansas law does not include any of the model law's provisions for adequate authorizer funding.

0

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

Kansas law includes a small number of the model law’s provisions for transparent charter application, review, and decision-making processes. Kansas law provides application requirements for all charter schools and requires local school boards to hold a public hearing for each application.

4

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

Kansas law includes a small number of the model law’s provisions for performance-based charter contracts. Kansas law provides that operating terms for charter schools are five years.

4

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

Kansas law includes a small number of the model law’s provisions for comprehensive charter school monitoring and data collection processes.

Kansas law provides that at the conclusion of each school year in which a charter school is operated in a school district, the local school board must evaluate the impact the charter school has had on the educational system of the district and submit the evaluation to the state board of education. If applicable, the evaluation must include a statement regarding the reasons why a charter school was discontinued or did not seek renewal and whether the program will continue as a noncharter school.

4

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

Kansas law provides that renewals should be approved only if the local school board and the state board of education determine that the charter school has demonstrated progress in achieving its program goals.

Kansas law provides that the local school board must revoke the charter of a school if the school: materially violates provisions contained in the charter; fails to make progress in achieving the program goals contained in the charter; fails to comply with fiscal accountability procedures as specified in the charter; or violates rules and regulations of the state board of education that have not been waived by the state board.

The law provides that charter renewal terms are five years.

Kansas law provides that prior to nonrenewing or revoking a charter, a local school board must hold a hearing on the issues in controversy and provide spokespersons for the charter school the opportunity to present information refuting the basis upon which the nonrenewal or revocation is premised. The law provides timelines for notification about the hearing and for announcing a decision after the hearing and requires the decision to nonrenew or revoke a charter to be in writing to the charter school and to specify the reasons for the nonrenewal or revocation. The law also allows the charter school authorities to renew procedures for authority to operate a charter school or to submit a request to the local school board for the reconsideration of its decision and includes a timeline for the local school board to act on such request.

8

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

Kansas law includes a small number of the model law’s provisions for educational service providers. Kansas law states that an “educational services contractor” may petition to establish a charter school. This means that such a provider could receive a direct charter contract with the local school board (not the charter school’s board).

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

Kansas law provides that charter schools operate as an “independent public school” within a school district, with the governance structure as defined in their charter contract with the local school board. However, statute does not provide for any level of fiscal or legal autonomy, nor does it require an independent board to govern the school.

0

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

Kansas law requires that pupils in attendance at a charter school must be reasonably reflective of the racial and socio-economic composition of the school district as a whole.

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

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

Instead of providing automatic exemptions from most state and district laws and regulations, Kansas law requires a charter application to identify the school district policies and state board of education rules and regulations from which waiver is sought in order to facilitate operation of the school and an explanation of the reasons such waivers are being requested. It is then up to the local school board and the state board of education to decide whether or not to grant requests for waivers.

Kansas law does not exempt charter schools 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

Kansas law provides that a charter school's teachers remain covered by the school district collective bargaining agreement, although waivers may be granted if specified in the charter.

3

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

N/A

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

Kansas law is silent regarding these arrangements.

2

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

Kansas law is silent about charter eligibility and access. In practice, these matters are governed by the Kansas State High School Activities Association.

1

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

Kansas law does not include any of the model law’s provisions regarding special education responsibilities.

0

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

Kansas law does not include any of the model law’s provisions for equitable operational and categorical funding, and there is no evidence of the amount of funds charter schools receive versus districts.

While Kansas law does not provide funding to charter schools for transportation similar to school districts, it requires school districts to provide transportation for charter students who qualify for the free-lunch program and live 2 1/2 miles or more from the school.

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

Kansas law does not include any of the model law's provisions for equitable access to capital funding and facilities.

0


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

Kansas 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).

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

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Kansas law does not include 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.