Kansas

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Kansas

1994
Year Charter School Law Was Enacted
10
Estimated Number of Charter Schools in 2016-17
3,800
Estimated Number of Charter School Students in 2016-17
65
out of
240
Total Score

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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.

Component Scores

Are there caps on the growth of charter schools in this state?

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

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
1A
No numeric or geographic limits are placed on the number of charter public schools or students.
N/A
1B
If caps exist, there is room for growth.

Are a variety of charter schools allowed?

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

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
2A
New startups.
Yes
2B
Public school conversions.

Are non-district authorizers available to which charter applicants may directly apply?

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.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
No
3A
The state allows an applicant anywhere in the state to apply directly to a non-district authorizer(s).

Is an authorizer and overall program accountability system required?

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 non-charter 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.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
No
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).
Yes
4C
Authorizer submission of annual report.
No
4D
The ability for the state to conduct a review of an authorizer’s performance.
No
4E
The ability for the state to sanction an authorizer for poor performance, including suspending an authorizer’s authority to approve new schools.
Yes
4F
Periodic formal evaluation of overall state charter school program and outcomes.

Is there adequate authorizer funding?

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

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
No
5A
A uniform statewide formula that guarantees annual authorizer funding that is not subject to annual legislative appropriations.
No
5B
Requirement to publicly report detailed authorizer expenditures.
No
5C
Separate contract for any services purchased from an authorizer by a school.
No
5D
Prohibition on authorizers requiring schools to purchase services from them.

Are there transparent charter application, review, and decisionmaking processes?

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.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
6A
Application elements for all schools.
No
6B
Additional application elements specific to conversion schools.
No
6C
Additional application elements specific to using educational service providers.
No
6D
Additional application elements specific to replications.
Some
6E
Requirement for thorough evaluation of each application, including an in-person interview and a public meeting.
No
6F
Application approval criteria.
No
6G
All charter approval or denial decisions made in a public meeting with authorizers stating reasons for denials in writing.

Are performance-based charter contracts required?

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.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
No
7A
Being created as a separate document from the application and executed by the governing board of the charter school and the authorizer.
No
7B
Defining the roles, powers, and responsibilities for the school and its authorizer.
No
7C
Defining academic, financial, and operational performance expectations by which the school will be judged based on a performance framework.
Yes
7D
Providing an initial term of five operating years.

Are there comprehensive charter school monitoring and data collection processes?

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 non-charter school.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
8A
Required annual school performance reports.
No
8B
Financial accountability for charter schools (e.g., generally accepted accounting principles, independent annual audit reported to authorizer).
No
8C
Authorizer authority to conduct oversight activities.
No
8D
Authorizer notification to its schools of perceived problems, with opportunities to remedy such problems.
No
8E
Authorizer authority to take appropriate corrective actions or exercise sanctions short of revocation.
No
8F
Authorizer may not request duplicative data submission from its charter schools and may not use performance framework to create cumbersome reporting requirements.

Are there clear processes for renewal, nonrenewal, and revocation decisions?

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.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
No
9A
Authorizer must issue school performance renewal reports to schools whose charter will expire the following year.
No
9B
Schools seeking renewal must apply for it.
No
9C
Authorizers must issue renewal application guidance that provides an opportunity for schools to augment their performance record and discuss improvements and future plans.
No
9D
Ability to have a differentiated process for renewal of high-performing charter schools.
Yes
9E
Authorizers must use clear criteria for renewal and nonrenewal/revocation.
Yes
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.
No
9G
Requirement that authorizers close chronically low-performing charter schools unless exceptional circumstances exist.
No
9H
Authorizers must have the authority to vary length of charter renewal contract terms based on performance or other issues.
Yes
9I
Authorizers must provide charter schools with timely notification of potential revocation or nonrenewal (including reasons) and reasonable time to respond.
Yes
9J
Authorizers must provide charter schools with due process for nonrenewal and revocation decisions (e.g., public hearing, submission of evidence).
Yes
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.
No
9L
Authorizers must have school closure protocols to ensure timely parent notification, orderly student and record transitions, and property and asset disposition.
No
9M
Any transfer of charter contracts from one authorizer to another are only allowed if they are approved by the state.

Is there transparency regarding educational service providers?

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).

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Some
10A
All types of educational service providers (both for-profit and nonprofit) are allowed to operate all or parts of schools.
No
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.
No
10C
A performance contract is required between the independent charter school board and the ESP, with such contract approved by the school’s authorizer.
No
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.
No
10E
Provides that charter school governing boards must have access to ESP records necessary to oversee the ESP contract.
No
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.
No
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.

Are the schools fiscally and legally autonomous with independent charter school boards?

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.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
No
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).
No
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).
No
11C
Independent school governing boards created specifically to govern their charter schools.

Are there clear student enrollment and lottery procedures?

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 enrolment in the school.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
No
12A
Open enrollment to any student in the state.
Some
12B
Anti-discrimination provisions regarding admissions.
No
12C
Required enrollment preferences for previously enrolled students within conversions and for prior-year students within charter schools.
Yes
12D
Lottery requirements.

Is there automatic exemption from many state and district laws and regulations?

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.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Some
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.
No
13B
Exemption from state teacher certification requirements.

Is there an automatic collective bargaining exemption?

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.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
N/A
14A
Charter schools authorized by nonlocal board authorizers are exempt from participation in any outside collective bargaining agreements.
Some
14B
Charter schools authorized by local boards are exempt from participation in any district collective bargaining agreements.

Are multischool charter contracts and/or multicharter contract boards allowed?

Kansas law is silent regarding these arrangements.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
No
15A
Oversee multiple schools linked under a single contract with independent fiscal and academic accountability for each school.
No
15B
Hold multiple charter contracts with independent fiscal and academic accountability for each school.

Is there eligibility and access to extracurricular and interscholastic activities?

Kansas law is silent about charter eligibility and access.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
No
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.
No
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.

Is there clear identification of special education responsibilities?

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

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
No
17A
Clarity regarding which entity is the local education agency (LEA) responsible for providing special education services.
No
17B
Clarity regarding the flow of federal, state, and local special education funds to the designated LEA.
No
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).
No
17D
Clarity that charter schools have access to all regional and state services and supports available to traditional districts.

Is there equitable operational funding and equal access to all state and federal categorical funding?

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 charters 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.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
No
18A
Equitable operational funding statutorily driven.
No
18B
Equal access to all applicable categorical federal and state funding and clear guidance on the pass-through of such funds.
No
18C
Funding for transportation similar to school districts.
No
18D
Annual report offering district and charter school funding comparisons and including annual recommendations to the legislature for any needed equity enhancements.

Is there equitable access to capital funding and facilities?

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 charters 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. The law also states that this provision does not prohibit a board of education from providing transportation to and from a charter school for all pupils attending the school.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Facilities Funding
No
19A
A per-pupil facilities allowance that annually reflects actual average district capital costs.
No
19B
A state grant program for charter school facilities.
No
19C
Equal access to existing state facilities programs available to noncharter public schools.
Access to Public Space
No
19D
A requirement for districts to provide school district space or funding to charter schools if the majority of that schools’ students reside in that district.
No
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
No
19F
A state loan program for charter school facilities.
No
19G
Equal access to tax-exempt bonding authorities or allowing charter schools to have their own bonding authority
No
19H
Pledging the moral obligation of the state to help charter schools obtain more favorable bond financing terms.
No
19I
The creation and funding of a state charter school debt reserve fund.
No
19J
The inclusion of charter schools in school district bonding and mill levy requests.
No
19K
A mechanism to provide credit enhancement for charter school facilities.
Other
No
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.
No
19M
Certain entities allowed to provide space to charter schools within their facilities under their preexisting zoning and land use designations.
No
19N
Charter school facilities exempt from ad valorem taxes and other assessment fees not applicable to other public schools.

Is there access to relevant employee retirement systems?

Kansas law requires participation in the relevant employee retirement systems.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
20A
Charter schools have access to relevant state retirement systems available to other public schools.
No
20B
Charter schools have the option to participate (i.e., not required).

Are there provisions for full-time virtual charter schools?

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

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
No
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.
No
21B
Legally permissible criteria and processes for enrollment based on the existence of supports needed for student success.
No
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.
No
21D
Accountability provisions that include virtual-specific goals regarding student enrollment, attendance, engagement, achievement, truancy, and attrition.
No
21E
Funding levels per student based on costs proposed and justified by the operators.
No
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.