An Act To Amend Certain Education Laws
Emergency preamble. Whereas, acts and resolves of the Legislature do not become effective until 90 days after adjournment unless enacted as emergencies; and
Whereas, the changes made by this legislation could affect budget meetings of school administrative units and town budgets; and
Whereas, it is necessary that this legislation take effect prior to the expiration of the 90-day period to allow towns to benefit from the legislation during the next annual budget process; and
Whereas, in the judgment of the Legislature, these facts create an emergency within the meaning of the Constitution of Maine and require the following legislation as immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety; now, therefore,
Sec. 1. 20-A MRSA §254, sub-§19 is enacted to read:
(1) Special education tuition;
(2) Any costs not included in the computation of special education tuition directly related to the student's special education program; and
(3) Any costs associated with due process proceedings in connection with the student's special education program.
Sec. 2. 20-A MRSA §1001, sub-§8, as amended by PL 2013, c. 581, §2, is further amended to read:
Sec. 3. 20-A MRSA §2404, sub-§2, ¶¶C and D, as enacted by PL 2011, c. 414, §5, are amended to read:
Sec. 4. 20-A MRSA §2404, sub-§2, ¶K is enacted to read:
Sec. 5. 20-A MRSA §2405, sub-§4, as amended by PL 2015, c. 54, §1, is further amended to read:
(1) Approved, but not yet open;
(6) Closed; or
(7) Never opened;
Sec. 6. 20-A MRSA §2406, sub-§2, ¶F, as amended by PL 2011, c. 570, §9, is further amended to read:
(1) The proposed public charter school's vision, including:
(a) An executive summary;
(b) The mission and vision of the proposed public charter school, including identification of the targeted student population and the community the school hopes to serve; and
(c) Evidence of need and community support for the proposed public charter school, including information on discussions with the school administrative unit where the public charter school will be located concerning recruitment and operations of the public charter school and possible collaboration with nearby school administrative units;
(2) The proposed public charter school's governance plan, including:
(a) Background information on proposed board members and any assurances or certifications required by the authorizer;
(b) Proposed governing bylaws;
(c) An organization chart that clearly presents the school's organizational structure, including lines of authority and reporting between the governing board, staff and any related bodies such as advisory bodies or parent and teacher councils, and any external organizations that will play a role in managing the school;
(d) A clear description of the roles and responsibilities for the governing board, the school's leadership and management team and any other entities shown on the organization chart;
(e) Identification of the proposed founding governing board members and, if identified, the proposed school leader or leaders; and
(f) Background information on the school's leadership and management team, if identified;
(3) The proposed public charter school's plan of organization, including:
(a) The location or geographic area of the school and the proposed catchment area of the school, which may not be designed to exclude areas with high rates of poverty, English language learners, at-risk students or students with disabilities;
(b) The grades to be served each year for the full term of the charter;
(c) Minimum, planned and maximum enrollment per grade per year for the term of the charter;
(d) The school's proposed calendar and sample daily schedule;
(e) Plans and timelines for student recruitment and enrollment, including lottery procedures;
(f) Explanations of any partnerships or contractual relationships central to the school's operations or mission;
(g) The school's proposals for providing transportation, food service and other significant operational or ancillary services;
(h) A facilities plan, including backup or contingency plans if appropriate;
(i) A detailed school start-up plan, identifying tasks, timelines and responsible individuals; and
(j) A closure protocol, outlining orderly plans and timelines for transitioning students and student records to new schools as described in section 2411, subsection 8, paragraph C and for appropriately disposing of school funds, property and assets in the event of school closure;
(4) The proposed public charter school's finances, including:
(a) A description of the school's financial plan and policies, including financial controls and audit requirements;
(b) Start-up and 3-year budgets with clearly stated assumptions;
(c) Start-up and first-year cash-flow projections with clearly stated assumptions;
(d) Evidence of anticipated fund-raising contributions, if claimed in the application; and
(e) A description of the insurance coverage the school proposes to obtain;
(5) The proposed public charter school's student policy, including:
(a) The school's plans for identifying and successfully serving students with the wide range of learning needs and styles typically found in noncharter public schools of the sending area;
(b) The school's plans for compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations; and
(c) The school's student discipline plans and policies, including those for special education students;
(6) The proposed public charter school's academic program, including:
(a) A description of the academic program aligned with the statewide system of learning results under section 6209;
(b) A description of the school's instructional design, including the type of learning environment, such as classroom-based or independent study, class size and structure, curriculum overview, teaching methods and research basis;
(c) The school's plan for using internal and external assessments to measure and report student progress on the measures and metrics of the performance framework developed by the authorizer in accordance with section 2409; and
(d) A description of cocurricular or extracurricular programs and how they will be funded and delivered; and
(7) The proposed public charter school's staff policy, including:
(a) A staffing chart for the school's first year and a staffing plan for the term of the charter;
(b) Plans for recruiting and developing school leadership and staff;
(c) The school's leadership and teacher employment policies, including performance evaluation plans; and
(d) Opportunities and expectations for parent involvement.
Sec. 7. 20-A MRSA §2411, sub-§8, as enacted by PL 2011, c. 414, §5, is amended to read:
Sec. 8. 20-A MRSA §2412, sub-§5, ¶L is enacted to read:
Sec. 9. 20-A MRSA §5001-A, sub-§2, ¶E, as enacted by PL 2009, c. 330, §3, is amended to read:
Sec. 10. 20-A MRSA §5205, sub-§6, ¶G is enacted to read:
Sec. 11. 20-A MRSA §7204, sub-§§5 and 6, as amended by PL 2005, c. 662, Pt. A, §25, are further amended to read:
Sec. 12. 20-A MRSA §7204, sub-§7 is enacted to read:
Sec. 13. 20-A MRSA §15689-G is enacted to read:
§ 15689-G. Special education budgetary hardship adjustment
(1) The student's placement is a result of an appeal approved by the commissioner pursuant to section 5205, subsection 6; and
(2) The school administrative unit's unexpected allowable costs result in a 5% or more increase in the percentage of the unit's special education budget category to the unit's total budget excluding the debt service budget category.
Emergency clause. In view of the emergency cited in the preamble, this legislation takes effect when approved.
This bill provides that if a superintendent's decision regarding the transfer of a student receiving special education services to a school out of the student's school administrative unit is appealed to the Commissioner of Education or the State Board of Education and the commissioner or state board approves the transfer of the student, the state subsidy of special education costs for the transferred student may not be reduced as a result of the transfer.
This bill gives the Commissioner of Education the authority to designate a school administrative unit to enroll a student when the student's school administrative unit neither maintains a school nor contracts with another school administrative unit and no school administrative unit enrolls the student voluntarily. For a student receiving special education services, the bill requires a resident school administrative unit to pay to the receiving school administrative unit tuition, special education tuition, other costs directly related to the student's special education and costs associated with due process proceedings for providing a free, appropriate public education.
This bill allows the Commissioner of Education to designate the school administrative unit that is responsible for oversight of the individualized education program of a child with a disability who is a state ward and is placed in an out-of-state residential treatment center by the Department of Health and Human Services.
This bill authorizes the Commissioner of Education to provide additional funds to a school administrative unit based on a budgetary hardship resulting from a special education placement.
This bill makes the following changes to the laws relating to public charter schools.
1. The bill allows charter schools authorized by a local school board or a collaborative among local school boards to give enrollment preference to residents of the school administrative unit or units whose school board or school boards authorized the charter school.
2. The bill extends the submission deadline for a charter school authorizer's annual report to the Commissioner of Education from 60 to 90 days after the end of the school fiscal year and adds language to address the disposition of graduation records and records of other students not transitioning to another Maine public school if a charter school closes.
3. The bill adds language to reflect that charter schools are subject to educator effectiveness requirements.
4. The bill provides that the compulsory attendance laws apply to virtual charter schools.
5. For a charter school in a school administrative unit with an enrollment of 500 or fewer students, current law caps the number of students from the school administrative unit that the charter school may enroll during its first 3 years of operation at 5% of the school administrative unit's noncharter public school students per grade level. The bill provides that if 5% of the school administrative unit's noncharter public school students per grade level is less than one, the charter school may enroll one student from the school administrative unit per grade level in each of the charter school's first 3 years of operation.