Is there transparency regarding educational service providers?
Maine statute allows charter school governing boards for virtual charter schools to enter into contracts with educational service providers for education design, implementation, or comprehensive management of the virtual public charter school program. However, it only allows charter school governing boards for brick and mortar charter schools to enter into contracts with educational service providers for a limited scope of education or management services.
Maine law requires the charter application to contain details regarding past performance data of any service provider and significant details regarding the terms of the proposed contract with the service provider.
The law also requires the application to contain details about any potential conflict of interests between the charter school governing board and the service provider and a statement of assurance that the two entities are legally and operationally independent of each other.
Maine rules require a public charter school’s governing board, leaders, and managers to be legally and operationally independent from any education service provider. In determining whether boards, leaders, and managers are independent of the service provider, the rules require an authorizer to consider all factors, including but not limited to: whether the charter school’s governing board is selected by, or includes members who are employees of, the education service provider; whether the charter school has an independent attorney, accountant, and audit firm that works for the charter school and not the education service provider; whether the contract between the charter school and the education service provider was negotiated at “arms length,” clearly describes each party’s rights and responsibilities, and specifies reasonable and feasible terms under which either party may terminate the contract; whether the fee to be paid by the charter school to the education service provider is reasonable for the type of services provided; and whether any other agreements (e.g., loans or leases between the charter school and the education service provider) are fair and reasonable, documented appropriately, align with market rates, and include terms that will not change if the contract is terminated.
The law provides that a charter school must ensure that the persons who operate the virtual public charter school on a day-to-day basis comply with and carry out all applicable requirements, statutes, regulations, rules and policies of the school.