Williamsville Central School District

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School Community Relations

Adoption Date: 7/7/2009
3000 - Community Relations

3160 CHARTER SCHOOLS

A charter school is a public school financed through public local, state and federal funds that is independent of local school boards. Although the New York Charter Schools Act of 1998 designates certain "charter entities," only the local school district may approve the conversion of an existing public school to a charter school. Prior to any such conversion to a charter school, the parents/guardians of the majority of the students then enrolled in the public school must have voted in favor of the conversion.

For charter schools approved by the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York or the Board of Regents, the local school district within which the charter school is located has the right to visit, examine, and inspect the charter school for compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and charter provisions.

Charter schools may be located in part of an existing public school building, a private work site, a public building, or any other suitable location. At the request of the charter school or prospective applicant, the District shall make available a list of vacant and unused school buildings and vacant and unused portions of school buildings, including private school buildings, within the District which may be suitable for the operation of a charter school.

The District's high school(s) may accept academic credit from students who transfer from the charter school as authorized and/or permitted in accordance with law, Commissioner's Regulations, and local District standards. Either the charter school or the local School Board may issue a high school diploma upon students' graduation from a charter school depending on the charter school's relationship with the School Board.

For the purposes of the Textbook Loan Program defined in Education Law Section 701, the Library Materials Loan Program defined in Education Law Section 711, and the Computer Software Loan Program defined in Education Law Section 751, and Health and Welfare Services defined in Education Law Section 912, students attending a charter school have the same access to textbooks, software and library materials loaned by the District as if enrolled in a nonpublic school. Within available District inventory and budgetary appropriations for purchase of such materials, the District is required to provide such materials on an equitable basis to all public school students and to all nonpublic school and charter school students who are residents of the District (Textbook Loan Program) or who attend a nonpublic or charter school in the District (Software and Library Materials Loan Programs). The base year enrollment of students in the charter school may be claimed by the District for the purposes of Textbook, Software and Library Materials Aids, in the same manner as nonpublic school enrollments are claimed.

For the purpose of transportation, charter schools are considered nonpublic schools, which means that students attending charter schools who reside within a fifteen (15) mile radius of the charter school (or a greater radius if the voters of the school district of residence have approved nonpublic transportation for more than fifteen [15] miles) will receive transportation from their school district of  residence on the same basis as  nonpublic  school students; that is, subject to the  applicable minimum mileage limits for transportation in the school district of residence, and the requirement of the timely filing of the request for transportation pursuant to Education Law Section 3635(2).

A student cannot be dually enrolled in the charter school and District schools. However, the school district of residence of students attending a charter school may, but is not required to, allow such students to participate in athletic and extracurricular activities.

Special Education programs and services shall be provided to students with disabilities attending a charter school in accordance with the individualized education program recommended by the Committee or Subcommittee of Special Education of the student's school district of residence. The charter school may arrange to have such services provided by the school district of residence or by the charter school directly or by contract with another provider.

All employees of a public school converted to a charter school are included within the negotiating unit for the local school district, but the collective bargaining agreement of that negotiating unit may be modified by a majority vote of the members who work at the charter school, with the approval of the Board of Trustees of the charter school.

Instructional employees of a charter school which has not been converted from an existing public school and which has more than 250 students during the first year of instruction will be represented in a separate negotiating unit at the charter school by the same employee organization representing similar employees in the local school district. Employees may be included in the Teachers' Retirement System and other retirement systems open to employees of the District. Financial contributions for such benefits are the responsibility of the charter school and the charter school's employees.

Teachers employed by the District may apply for a leave of absence for purposes of teaching at a charter school. Approval for such leave of absence for a period of two (2) years or less shall not be unreasonably withheld. If such approval is granted to a teacher by the District, the teacher may return to teach in the District during such period of leave without the loss of any right of certification, retirement, seniority, salary status, or any other benefit provided by law or by collective bargaining agreement. If an appropriate position is unavailable, the teacher's name shall be placed on a preferred eligible list of candidates for appointment to a vacancy that may thereafter occur in an office or position similar to the one such teacher filled in the District immediately prior to the leave of service.

Charter School Finances

Charter school financing shall be based on the number of students projected to be served by the charter school and the approved operating expenses of the district of residence of those students. The New York Charter Schools Act requires that the school district of residence forward payments to the charter school, which shall  include State and  Federal aid and any  other pertinent aid to  students with disabilities, in six (6) substantially equal installments each year beginning on the first business day of the months of July, September, November, January, March, and May. Failure by the District to make such required payments will result in the State Comptroller deducting the required amounts from State funds due to the District and paying them to the charter school.

Approved operating expenses include the essential operating cost of the District. Excluded are costs for transportation, debt services, construction, tuition payments to other school districts, some BOCES payments, cafeteria or school lunch expenditures, balances and transfers, rental income from leased property, and certain other limited categories unless otherwise authorized pursuant to the federal grant program, State Charter School Facilities Incentive Program.

Federal and State aid attributable to students with disabilities are required to be paid to a charter school by the school district of residence for those students attending such charter school in proportion to the services the charter school provides such students.

Amounts payable to a charter school by the District will be determined by the Commissioner of Education.

Neither the District, the charter entity, nor the State is liable for the debts of the charter school.

Notice and Hearing Requirements

The New York State Board of Regents is required to provide the District information on the charter school process. If a charter school is proposed, the charter entity and the Board of Regents have to notify the school district in which the charter school is located and public and nonpublic schools in the same geographic area as the proposed charter school at each significant stage of the chartering process.

Before a charter is issued or renewed, the school district in which the charter school is located is entitled:

  1. To hold a public hearing to receive comments from the community, and
  2. To comment on the proposed charter to the charter entity.
Time limits on the charter application process will be in accordance with the Charter Schools Act.

State Charter School Facilities Incentive Program, 34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 226
Education Law Article 56 and Sections 3602(11) and 3635
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Parts 100 and 119

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