Is there transparency regarding educational service providers?
North Carolina law is generally silent regarding these arrangements, but the state attorney general has ruled that all types of educational service providers may operate all or parts of charter schools.
North Carolina law requires the board of directors of a charter school to adopt a conflict of interest and anti-nepotism policy that includes, at a minimum, the following:
* The requirements of Chapter 55A of the General Statutes related to conflicts of interest;
* A requirement that before any immediate family, as defined in state law, of any member of the board of directors or a charter school employee with supervisory authority shall be employed or engaged as an employee, independent contractor, or otherwise by the board of directors in any capacity, such proposed employment or engagement shall be (i) disclosed to the board of directors and (ii) approved by the board of directors in a duly called open?session meeting. The burden of disclosure of such a conflict of interest shall be on the applicable board member or employee with supervisory authority. If the requirements of this subsection are complied with, the charter school may employ immediate family of any member of the board of directors or a charter school employee with supervisory authority.
* A requirement that a person shall not be disqualified from serving as a member of a charter school's board of directors because of the existence of a conflict of interest, so long as the person's actions comply with the school's conflict of interest policy established as provided in this subsection and applicable law.
The law 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.
Although this information is not counted within this analysis (since these provisions are not codified in state law or state board policy), the application requires student performance, governance performance, and financial data from other schools managed by the management company and requires that the applicant must demonstrate how the management company is a good fit for the targeted student population. It requires that the proposed management agreement must be provided with the application (and approved by the authorizer), with such agreement including at least the measureable objectives whereby the charter school board can evaluate annually the performance of the management company, and if necessary, terminate the contract without significant obstacles.
The application must also discuss how the charter school board will govern the school independently of the management company and include a description of the relationship that exists between the charter school employees and the management organization. Elsewhere in the application, the applicant must describe the board’s ethical standards and procedures for identifying and addressing conflicts of interest, including the identification of any existing relationships that could pose actual or perceived conflicts if the application was approved and steps that the board will take to avoid any actual conflicts and to mitigate perceived conflicts.
Furthermore, the state board’s charter contract contains the following provisions: no member of the governing board shall be an employee of a company that provides substantial services to the charter school; the members of the nonprofit board of directors affirm that they will adhere to a duly adopted conflict of interest policy, including provisions related to nepotism; the nonprofit shall have ultimate responsibility for employment, management, dismissal and discipline of its employees and in no event shall the governing board delegate or assign its responsibility for fulfilling terms of this charter; the nonprofit shall not enter into or terminate an agreement for comprehensive management services without the prior, explicit approval of the state board; the nonprofit shall comply with all state board requests regarding the management agreement that are reasonably related to compliance with all provisions of this charter agreement and the charter school statute.