Measuring Up

 



Missouri

TOTAL SCORE:
132 out of 228

Rank: 26 out of 43

Year Charter School Law Was Enacted:  1998
Estimated Number of Public Charter Schools in 2013-14:  38
Estimated Number of Public Charter School Students in 2013-14:  19,439

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

Missouri’s score stayed at 132 points.  Its ranking went from #18 to #26.  This drop had more to do with the aggressive changes made in other states than with any steps backward in Missouri.

Potential areas for improvement include beefing up the requirements for charter application, review, and decisionmaking processes and ensuring equitable operational funding and equitable access to capital funding and facilities.

Do Missouri's laws align to the model law?

Model Law Component

Matches

Missouri's Charter Law

Score

1. No Caps

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Missouri law allows public charter schools to open in the Kansas City school district, the St. Louis school district, unaccredited districts, and accredited districts. It will allow public charter schools to open in provisionally accredited districts starting in 2015.

Missouri law prohibits public charter schools from serving more than 35% of public school students in accredited school districts that enroll 1,500 or more students.

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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

Missouri 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

Missouri law allows the following types of entities to serve as authorizers in the Kansas City school district, the St. Louis school district, and unaccredited districts: the Kansas City and St. Louis school boards; a special administrative board created by the state board of education to operate the Kansas City or St. Louis school districts; a community college, the service area of which encompasses some portion of the district; a public four-year college or university with an approved teacher education program that meets regional or national standards of accreditation; any private four-year college or university with an enrollment of at least one thousand students, with its primary campus in Missouri, and with an approved teacher preparation program; any two-year private vocational or technical school designated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 which is a member of the North Central Association and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, with its primary campus in Missouri; or the Missouri Charter Public School Commission.

In provisionally accredited school districts that have received scores on their annual performance reports consistent with a classification of provisionally accredited or unaccredited for three consecutive school years beginning with the 2012-2013 accreditation year, Missouri law allows local school boards and authorizers that have met the standards of accountability and performance as determined by the state department of education to authorize charters.

In accredited school districts, Missouri law only allows local school boards to authorize charters.

Missouri law requires that when an authorizer approves an application, it must forward it to the state board of education for its approval along with an assurance that it meets legal requirements and provides a monitoring plan for the school. The law allows the state board to find the application insufficient and decline to approve it.

If an authorizer turns down application, the law allows the applicant to submit it to the state board, which can approve and then act as the authorizer.

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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

Missouri law requires the state department of education to establish an annual application and approval process for all entities eligible to sponsor charters that are not sponsoring a charter school as of August 28, 2012.

Missouri law requires the application process for sponsorship to require each interested eligible sponsor to submit an application that includes: written notification of intent to serve as a charter school sponsor in accordance with state law; evidence of the applicant sponsor's budget and personnel capacity; an outline of the request for proposal that the applicant sponsor would, if approved as a charter sponsor, issue to solicit charter school applicants consistent with state law; the performance framework that the applicant sponsor would, if approved as a charter sponsor, use to guide the establishment of a charter contract and for ongoing oversight and a description of how it would evaluate the charter schools it sponsors; and the applicant sponsor's renewal, revocation, and nonrenewal processes consistent with state law.

By April first of each year, the law requires the department to decide whether to grant or deny a sponsoring authority to a sponsor applicant. According to the law, this decision shall be made based on the applicant charter's compliance with state law and properly promulgated rules of the department.

Within thirty days of the department's decision, the law requires the department to execute a renewable sponsoring contract with each entity it has approved as a sponsor. According to the law, the term of each authorizing contract shall be six years and renewable.

Missouri law requires authorizers to submit an annual report to the Joint Committee on Education, but it does not require the reports to summarize each entity’s authorizing activities as well as the performance of its school portfolio.

Missouri law requires the state board of education to ensure that sponsors are in compliance with their obligations.

The law requires the state board to notify each sponsor of applicable standards.

The law requires that the state board of education ensure that each sponsor is in compliance with its responsibilities. The law requires the state board to evaluate sponsors to determine compliance with the state’s standards for sponsorship every three years. It requires the evaluation to include a sponsor's policies and procedures in the areas of charter application approval, required charter agreement terms and content, sponsor performance evaluation and compliance monitoring, and charter renewal, intervention, and revocation decisions. The law provides that nothing shall preclude the department from undertaking an evaluation at any time for cause.

The law provides that if the department determines that a sponsor is in material noncompliance with its sponsorship duties, the sponsor shall be notified and given reasonable time for remediation. If remediation does not address the compliance issues identified by the department, the law requires the commissioner of education to conduct a public hearing and thereafter provide notice to the charter sponsor of corrective action that will be recommended to the state board of education. According to the law, corrective action by the department may include withholding the sponsor's funding and suspending the sponsor's authority to sponsor a school that it currently sponsors or to sponsor any additional school until the sponsor is reauthorized by the state board of education.

Missouri law allows the charter sponsor to, within thirty days of receipt of the notice of the commissioner's recommendation, provide a written statement and other documentation to show cause as to why that action should not be taken. According to the law, final determination of corrective action shall be determined by the state board of education based upon a review of the documentation submitted to the department and the charter sponsor.

If the state board removes an authorizer's ability to authorize charter schools, the law requires the Missouri Charter Public School Commission to serve as the authorizer of any schools sponsored by the entity losing its ability to authorize charters.

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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

To defray the expenses associated with authorizing, Missouri law requires the state department of education to retain and provide to the authorizer one and five-tenths percent of the amount of state and local funding allocated to the charter school.

The law allows charter schools to enter into contracts with districts for the provision of services, but it silent about allowing charters to enter into contracts with non-district authorizers for the provision of services.

The law doesn’t require authorizers to publicly report detailed authorizer expenditures and doesn’t prohibit authorizers from requiring schools to purchase 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

Missouri law provides application elements for all schools and additional application elements when using educational service providers.

It does not include additional application elements specific to conversion schools, virtual schools, and replications. It also does not require authorizers to issue requests for proposals, does not require authorizers to thoroughly evaluate each application including an in-person interview and a public meeting, and does not require that all charter approval or denial decisions be made in a public meeting with authorizers stating reasons for denials in writing.

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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

The law does not require that a charter contract be created as a separate document from the application and executed by the governing board of the charter school and the authorizer. Under Missouri law, the charter application is the “proposed contract.” If approved, the application becomes the charter contract.

The law requires the application/contract to define the responsibilities of the charter school and the authorizer.

The law requires the application/contract to contain a description of the charter school's pupil performance standards and academic program performance standards. According to the law, the charter school program shall be designed to enable each pupil to achieve such standards and shall contain a complete set of indicators, measures, metrics, and targets for academic program performance, including specific goals on graduation rates and standardized test performance and academic growth.

Missouri law provides that the term of charter agreements must be five 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

Missouri law requires that, upon approving an application, the authorizer must create and submit to the state board of education a monitoring plan under which they will evaluate the academic performance of students enrolled in each charter school.

The law requires sponsors to annually review the charter school's compliance with statutory standards including: participation in the statewide system of assessments; assurances for the completion and distribution of an annual report card; the collection of baseline data during the first three years of operation to determine the longitudinal success of the charter school; a method to measure pupil progress toward the pupil academic standards adopted by the state board of education; and publication of each charter school's annual performance report.

The law requires charter schools to have a certified public accountant conduct an annual audit, submit an annual financial report, and use practices consistent with the Missouri Financial Accounting Manual.

According to the law, a sponsor's intervention policies shall give schools clear, adequate, evidence-based, and timely notice of contract violations or performance deficiencies and mandate intervention based upon findings of the state board of education of the following: the charter school provides a high school program which fails to maintain a graduation rate of at least seventy percent in three of the last four school years unless the school has dropout recovery as its mission; the charter school's annual performance report results are below the district's annual performance report results based on the performance standards that are applicable to the grade level configuration of both the charter school and the district in which the charter school is located in three of the last four school years; and the charter school is identified as a persistently lowest achieving school by the department of elementary and secondary education.

The law requires an authorizer to take all reasonable steps to confirm that each charter school authorized by it is in material compliance with all of its obligations under its charter and the law. The law requires a charter school to provide enough information for them to make this analysis.

Under Missouri law, charter schools must present annual school report cards that include comprehensive measures of student progress to the state department of education and disseminated by the state annually.

By October 1 of each year, the law requires the sponsor of each charter school to review the information submitted on the report required by state law to identify charter schools experiencing financial stress. The law authorizes the state department of elementary and secondary education to obtain such additional information from a charter school as may be necessary to determine the financial condition of the charter school. Annually, the law requires the department of education to provide a listing of charter schools identified as experiencing financial stress to the governor, speaker of the house of representatives, and president pro tempore of the senate

According to the law, a sponsor shall notify by November first the governing board of the charter school identified as experiencing financial stress. Upon receiving the notification, the governing board shall develop, or cause to have developed, and shall approve a budget and education plan on forms provided by the sponsor. The budget and education plan shall be submitted to the sponsor, signed by the officers of the charter school, within forty-five calendar days of notification that the charter school has been identified as experiencing financial stress. Minimally, the budget and education plan shall: give assurances that adequate educational services to students of the charter school shall continue uninterrupted for the remainder of the current school year and that the charter school can provide the minimum number of school days and hours required by state law; outline a procedure to be followed by the charter school to report to charter school patrons about the financial condition of the charter school; and detail the expenditure reduction measures, revenue increases, or other actions to be taken by the charter school to address its condition of financial stress.

According to the law, upon receipt and following review of any budget and education plan, the sponsor may make suggestions to improve the plan. Nothing in state law shall exempt a charter school from submitting a budget and education plan to the sponsor following each such notification that a charter school has been identified as experiencing financial stress, except that the sponsor may permit a charter school's governing board to make amendments to or update a budget and education plan previously submitted to the sponsor.

The law allows the department to withhold any payment of financial aid otherwise due to the charter school.

The law allows authorizers to place a school on probation to allow implementation of a remedial plan, which may require a change in methodology or leadership or both. If unsuccessful, the law allows the authorizer to revoke the charter.

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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

According to Missouri law, a sponsor's renewal process of a charter school shall be based on the thorough analysis of a comprehensive body of objective evidence and consider if:

• The charter school has maintained results on its annual performance report that meet or exceed the district in which the charter school is located based on the performance standards that are applicable to the grade level configuration of both the charter school and the district in which the charter school is located in three of the last four school years.
• The charter school is organizationally and fiscally viable determining at a minimum that the school does not have a negative balance in its operating funds, a combined balance of less than three percent of the amount expended for such funds during the previous fiscal year, or expenditures that exceed receipts for the most recently completed fiscal year.
• The charter is in compliance with its legally binding performance contract and certain sections of state law.

The law requires a sponsor to have a policy to revoke a charter during the charter term if there is clear evidence of underperformance as demonstrated in the charter schools annual performance report in three of the last four school years or a violation of the law or the public trust that imperils students or public funds.

Under Missouri law, an authorizer can revoke a charter or take other appropriate remedial action, which may include placing the charter school on probationary status for no more than twelve months, provided that no more than one designation of probationary status shall be allowed for the duration of the charter contract, at any time if the charter school commits a serious breach of one or more provisions of its charter or on any of the following grounds: failure to meet the performance contract as set forth in its charter, failure to meet generally accepted standards of fiscal management, or violation of law.

Before revoking a charter, the law requires authorizers to provide appropriate due process protections to the school, including a timely written notice of an intent to revoke and a formal hearing upon request of the school’s board.

Like initial charter terms, the law provides that renewal terms are for not less than five years, nor greater than 10 years.

The law requires authorizers to hold administrative hearings upon a recommendation of revocation.

Along with data reflecting the academic performance standards indicated in state law, the law requires the sponsor to submit a revised charter application to the state board of education for review and renewal.

Beginning August first during the year in which a charter is considered for renewal, the law requires a charter school sponsor to demonstrate to the state board of education that the charter school is in compliance with federal and state law as provided in certain sections of state law and the school's performance contract including but not limited to those requirements specific to academic performance.

The law requires the state board of education to vote on a charter up for renewal at a regularly scheduled board meeting. The law also requires the state board of education to renew a school’s charter if a charter school sponsor demonstrates the objectives identified in state law. The law does not require authorizers to state reasons for non-renewals and revocations in writing.

The law requires charter contracts to contain procedures to be implemented if the charter school should close including: orderly transition of student records to new schools and archival of student records; archival of business operation and transfer or repository of personnel records; submission of final financial reports; resolution of any remaining financial obligations; disposition of the charter school's assets upon closure; and a notification plan to inform parents or guardians of students, the local school district, the retirement system in which the charter school's employees participate, and the state board of education within thirty days of the decision to close.

For all new or revised charters, the law requires charter contracts to contain procedures to be used upon closure of the charter school requiring that unobligated assets of the charter school be returned to the department of elementary and secondary education for their disposition, which upon receipt of such assets shall return them to the local school district in which the school was located, the state, or any other entity to which they would belong.

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

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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

Missouri law allows contracting with all types of educational service providers.

In the case of a proposed charter school that intends to contract with an education service provider for substantial educational services or management services, the law requires the charter school applicant to:

• Provide evidence of the education service provider's success in serving student populations similar to the targeted population, including demonstrated academic achievement as well as successful management of nonacademic school functions, if applicable;
• Provide a term sheet setting forth the proposed duration of the service contract; roles and responsibilities of the governing board, the school staff, and the service provider; scope of services and resources to be provided by the service provider; performance evaluation measures and time lines; compensation structure, including clear identification of all fees to be paid to the service provider; methods of contract oversight and enforcement; investment disclosure; and conditions for renewal and termination of the contract;
• Disclose any known conflicts of interest between the school governing board and proposed service provider or any affiliated business entities;
• Disclose and explain any termination or nonrenewal of contracts for equivalent services for any other charter school in the United States within the past five years;
• Ensure that the legal counsel for the charter school shall report directly to the charter school's governing board; and
• Provide a process to ensure that the expenditures that the educational service provider intends to bill to the charter school shall receive prior approval of the governing board or its designee.

Missouri law states that charter school governing board members may not have any substantial interest in any entity employed by, or contracting with, the board. It also states that board members cannot be employees of a company that provides substantial services to the charter school and it requires them to meet financial disclosure requirements.

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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

Missouri law requires that charter schools incorporate as non-profit entities with various powers, such as entering into partnership contracts for services to support the school and incurring debt in advance of receiving funds. Statute indicates that charter schools can incur bonded indebtedness or take other measures to provide for physical facilities or other needs.

Under Missouri law, charter school board members are selected as officers of the nonprofit charter school and must follow financial disclosure requirements. They are subject to the same liability for acts while in office as if they were members of traditional school boards.

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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

According to Missouri law, a charter school shall enroll:

• All pupils resident in the district in which it operates;
• Nonresident pupils eligible to attend a district's school under an urban voluntary transfer program;
• In the case of a charter school whose mission includes student drop-out prevention or recovery, any nonresident pupil from the same or an adjacent county who resides in a residential care facility, a transitional living group home, or an independent living program whose last school of enrollment is in the school district where the charter school is established, who submits a timely application; and
• In the case of a workplace charter school, any student eligible whose parent is employed in the business district, who submits a timely application, unless the number of applications exceeds the capacity of a program, class, grade level, or building. The configuration of a business district shall be set forth in the charter and shall not be construed to create an undue advantage for a single employer or small number of employers.

Missouri law requires that charter schools follow an admission process that ensures students an equal chance of admission.

Missouri law provides that a charter school may establish a geographical area around the school whose residents will receive a preference for enrolling in the school, provided that such preferences do not result in the establishment of racially or socioeconomically isolated schools and provided such preferences conform to policies and guidelines established by the state board of education. It allows a charter school to give a preference for admission of children whose siblings attend the school or whose parents are employed at the school. The law also allows charter alternative and special purpose schools to give a preference for admission to high-risk students, as defined in state law, when the school targets these students through its proposed mission, curriculum, teaching methods, and services.

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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

Missouri law exempts charter schools from all state and district statutes, rules, and education code except those explicitly applying to charters (state, county or city laws and regulations relating to health and safety, minimum educational standards, notification of criminal conduct to law enforcement authorities, criminal background checks, assessment, transmittal of school records, and minimum attendance requirements).

Missouri law provides that 20% of charter school teachers are exempt from certification in Missouri if they are working towards certification and have expertise in the content area. It also allows foreign language programs flexibility in determining certification status of teachers from other countries.

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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

Missouri law provides that charter schools are exempt from participation in any district collective bargaining agreements.

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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

Missouri law is silent regarding these arrangements.

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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

Missouri law is silent about charter eligibility and access.

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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

Missouri law provides that a charter school must provide special education services and may provide them pursuant to a contract with the district or any other entity for services. The law requires the state to provide the proportionate share of state and federal resources for students with disabilities and staff that serve them to charter schools enrolling those students. The law does not provide 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.

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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

Under Missouri law, for the purposes of the calculation and distribution of state aid, pupils enrolled in charter schools are included in the pupil enrollment of the school district where the student resides in the application of the state's per-pupil funding formula.

Missouri law requires districts to pay to charter schools per pupil funding in accordance with a state funding formula as well as other federal and state aid attributable to the charter school. It requires the district to make such payments no later than 20 days following receipt of such funds.

Missouri law provides that charter schools are eligible for state transportation aid and are free to contract with the local district or any other entity for such services.

In a national study of charter school funding (Charter School Funding: Inequity Persists, 2010), Missouri charter schools were receiving on average $10,085 per pupil, while traditional public schools would have received $14,398 for those students. As a result, the state's charter schools were receiving $4,313 per pupil - or 30.0% - less than what the traditional public schools would have received for those students. This figure includes all sources of funding, and analysis reveals continued inequities for both operational and capital funding (see component #19 for information on capital issues).

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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

Missouri law provides that a school district may incur bonded indebtedness or take other measures to provide for physical facilities for charter schools that it authorizes or with which it contracts.

Missouri law also allows charter schools to access bonds through the Missouri Health & Educational Facilities Authority.

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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

Under Missouri law, charter schools must participate in the employee retirement systems in their school districts.

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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).