2010 Arkansas Code
6-18-227. Arkansas Opportunity Public School Choice Act of 2004.
Title 6 - Education
Subtitle 2 - Elementary And Secondary Education Generally
Chapter 18 - Students
Subchapter 2 - Attendance
§ 6-18-227 - Arkansas Opportunity Public School Choice Act of 2004.
(a) (1) This section may be referred to and cited as the "Arkansas Opportunity Public School Choice Act of 2004".
(2) (A) The purpose of this section is to provide enhanced opportunity for students in this state to gain the knowledge and skills necessary for postsecondary education, a technical education, or the world of work.
(B) The General Assembly:
(i) Recognizes that the Arkansas Constitution, as interpreted by the Arkansas Supreme Court in Lake View School District No. 25 v. Huckabee, 351 Ark. 31 (2002), makes education a paramount duty of the state;
(ii) Finds that the Arkansas Constitution requires the state to provide an adequate education;
(iii) Further finds that a student should not be compelled against the wishes of the parent, guardian, or the student, if the student is over eighteen (18) years of age, to remain in a school designated as a level 1 school under 6-15-2103 for two (2) or more consecutive years; and
(iv) Shall make available a public school choice option in order to give a child the opportunity to attend a public school that is performing satisfactorily.
(C) This section shall take effect with the implementation of school performance category levels.
(3) The General Assembly further finds that giving more options to parents and students with respect to where the students attend public school will increase the responsiveness and effectiveness of the state's schools, since teachers, administrators, and school board members will have added incentives to satisfy the educational needs of the students who reside in the district.
(4) A public school choice program is hereby established to enable any student to transfer from a failing school to another public school in the state, subject to the restrictions contained in this section.
(b) (1) Upon the request of a parent, guardian, or the student, if the student is over eighteen (18) years of age, a student may transfer from his or her resident district to another public school in accordance with the provisions of this section if:
(A) The resident public school has been designated pursuant to 6-15-2103 as a level 1 school for two (2) or more consecutive school years; and
(B) The parent, guardian, or the student, if the student is over eighteen (18) years of age, has notified the Department of Education and both the sending and receiving school districts of the request for a transfer no later than July 30 of the first year in which the student intends to transfer.
(2) (A) (i) For the purposes of continuity of educational choice, the transfer shall operate as an irrevocable election for each subsequent entire school year and shall remain in force until the student completes high school or the parent, guardian, or the student, if the student is over eighteen (18) years of age, makes application no later than July 30 for attendance or transfer as provided for by 6-18-202, 6-18-206, and 6-18-316.
(ii) Such a transfer shall be effective at the beginning of the next academic year.
(B) Application for the opportunity public school choice option shall be provided by the department, shall contain a notice that a transfer under this subsection shall operate as an irrevocable choice for at least one (1) entire school year, and shall remain in force until the student completes high school as provided in this subsection except as otherwise provided by law.
(3) (A) For each student enrolled in or assigned to a school that has been designated as a level 1 school for two (2) or more consecutive school years, a school district shall:
(i) Timely notify the parent, guardian, or the student, if the student is over eighteen (18) years of age, as soon as practicable after the designation is made, of all options available pursuant to this section; and
(ii) Offer the parent, guardian, or the student, if the student is over eighteen (18) years of age, an opportunity to enroll the student in any public school that has been designated by the state pursuant to 6-15-2103 as a school performing higher than that in which the student is currently enrolled or to which the student has been assigned, but not less than annual performance category level 3. The opportunity to continue attending the higher performing public school shall remain in force until the student graduates from high school.
(B) (i) The parent or guardian of a student enrolled in or assigned to a school that has been designated as a school in level 1 under 6-15-2103 for two (2) or more consecutive years may choose as an alternative to enroll the student in a legally allowable category level 3 or higher performing public school nearest to the student's legal residence.
(ii) That school or school district shall accept the student and report the student for purposes of the funding pursuant to applicable state law.
(C) (i) Students with disabilities who are eligible to receive services from the school district under federal or state law, including students receiving additional funding through federal title programs specific to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, 20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq., and who participate in this program remain eligible to receive services from the school district as provided by federal or state law.
(ii) Any funding for such a student shall be transferred to the district to which the student transfers.
(c) (1) Transportation costs shall be the responsibility of the state, and the State Board of Education shall establish rules pertaining to state reimbursement of transportation costs.
(2) However, upon the transferring district's receiving a category level 3 or higher for its annual performance, the transportation costs shall no longer be the responsibility of the state, and the student's transportation and the costs thereof shall be the responsibility of the parents.
(d) (1) Each district school board of directors shall offer the opportunity public school choice option within the public schools. The opportunity public school choice option shall be offered in addition to other existing choice programs.
(2) In the event that the opportunity public school choice option results in a receiving district's requiring temporary facilities or faculty as a result of and to accommodate the additional students, expenses related thereto in excess of that received for each student electing the opportunity public school choice option shall be borne by the state.
(e) The provisions of this section and all student choice options created in this section are subject to the limitations of 6-18-206(d)-(f).
(f) The department shall develop an annual report on the status of school choice and deliver the report to the state board, the Governor, and the Legislative Council at least ninety (90) days prior to the convening of the regular session of the General Assembly.
(g) Each district school board of directors shall annually report the number of students applying for and attending the various types of public schools of choice in the district, including schools such as magnet schools, according to rules adopted by the state board.
(h) (1) A receiving district shall accept credits toward graduation that were awarded by another district.
(2) The receiving district shall award a diploma to a nonresident student if the student meets the receiving district's graduation requirements.
(i) For purposes of determining a school district's state equalization aid, the nonresident student shall be counted as a part of the average daily membership of the district to which the student has transferred.
(j) (1) All school districts shall report to the department on an annual basis the race, gender, and other pertinent information needed to properly monitor compliance with the provisions of this section.
(2) The reports may be on those forms that are prescribed by the department, or the data may be submitted electronically by the district using a format authorized by the department.
(3) The department may put on probation the superintendent of any school district that fails to file its report each year or fails to file any other information with a published deadline requested from school districts by the department so long as thirty (30) calendar days are given between the request for the information and the published deadline.
(4) A copy of the report shall be provided to the Joint Interim Committee on Education.
(k) (1) Unless excused by the school for illness or other good cause:
(A) Any student participating in the opportunity public school choice option shall remain in attendance throughout the school year and shall comply fully with the school's code of conduct; and
(B) The parent or guardian of each student participating in the opportunity public school choice option shall comply fully with the receiving public school's parental involvement requirements.
(2) The parent or guardian shall ensure that the student participating in the opportunity public school choice option takes all statewide assessments, including, but not limited to, benchmark exams, required pursuant to 6-15-433.
(3) A participant who fails to comply with this section shall forfeit the opportunity public school choice option.
(l) (1) The maximum opportunity public school choice funds granted for an eligible student shall be calculated based on applicable state law.
(2) The receiving school district shall report all students who transfer from another public school under this program. The students attending public schools pursuant to the opportunity public school choice option shall be reported separately from those students reported for purposes of compliance with applicable state law.
(3) The public school that provides services to students with disabilities shall receive funding as determined by applicable federal and state law.
(m) The state board shall adopt any rules necessary for the implementation of this section pursuant to the Arkansas Administrative Procedure Act, 25-15-201 et seq.
(n) A district under this program shall request public service announcements to be made over the broadcast media and in the print media at such times and in such a manner as to inform parents or guardians of students in adjoining districts of the availability of the program, the application deadline, and the requirements and procedure for nonresident students to participate in the program.
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