2018 Oklahoma Statutes
Title 70. Schools
§70-3-132. Application of act — Charter schools — Sponsorship — Limitation on establishment of new schools — Conversion school.

Universal Citation: 70 OK Stat § 70-3-132 (2018)

A. The Oklahoma Charter Schools Act shall apply only to charter schools formed and operated under the provisions of the act. Charter schools shall be sponsored only as follows:

1. By any school district located in the State of Oklahoma, provided such charter school shall only be located within the geographical boundaries of the sponsoring district and subject to the restrictions of Section 3-145.6 of this title;

2. By a technology center school district if the charter school is located in a school district served by the technology center school district in which all or part of the school district is located in a county having more than five hundred thousand (500,000) population according to the latest Federal Decennial Census;

3. By a technology center school district if the charter school is located in a school district served by the technology center school district and the school district has a school site that has been identified as in need of improvement by the State Board of Education pursuant to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended or reauthorized;

4. By an accredited comprehensive or regional institution that is a member of The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education or a community college if the charter school is located in a school district in which all or part of the school district is located in a county having more than five hundred thousand (500,000) population according to the latest Federal Decennial Census;

5. By a comprehensive or regional institution that is a member of The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education if the charter school is located in a school district that has a school site that has been identified as in need of improvement by the State Board of Education pursuant to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended or reauthorized. In addition, the institution shall have a teacher education program accredited by the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation and have a branch campus or constituent agency physically located within the school district in which the charter school is located in the State of Oklahoma;

6. By a federally recognized Indian tribe, operating a high school under the authority of the Bureau of Indian Affairs as of November 1, 2010, if the charter school is for the purpose of demonstrating native language immersion instruction, and is located within its former reservation or treaty area boundaries. For purposes of this paragraph, native language immersion instruction shall require that educational instruction and other activities conducted at the school site are primarily conducted in the native language;

7. By the State Board of Education when the applicant of the charter school is the Office of Juvenile Affairs or the applicant has a contract with the Office of Juvenile Affairs to provide a fixed rate level E, D, or D+ group home service and the charter school is for the purpose of providing education services to youth in the custody or supervision of the state. Not more than two charter schools shall be sponsored by the Board as provided for in this paragraph during the period of time beginning July 1, 2010, through July 1, 2016;

8. By a federally recognized Indian tribe only when the charter school is located within the former reservation or treaty area boundaries of the tribe on property held in trust by the Bureau of Indian Affairs of the United States Department of the Interior for the benefit of the tribe; or

9. By the State Board of Education when the applicant has first been denied a charter by the local school district in which it seeks to operate. In counties with fewer than five hundred thousand (500,000) population, according to the latest Federal Decennial Census, the State Board of Education shall not sponsor more than five charter schools per year each year for the first five (5) years after the effective date of this act, with not more than one charter school sponsored in a single school district per year. In order to authorize a charter school under this section, the State Board of Education shall find evidence of all of the following:

a.a thorough and high-quality charter school application from the applicant based on the authorizing standards in subsection B of Section 3-134 of this title,

b.a clear demonstration of community support for the charter school, and

c.the grounds and basis of objection by the school district for denying the operation of the charter are not supported by the greater weight of evidence and the strength of the application.

B. An eligible non-school-district sponsor shall give priority to opening charter schools that serve at-risk student populations or students from low-performing traditional public schools.

C. An eligible non-school-district sponsor shall give priority to applicants that have demonstrated a record of operating at least one school or similar program that demonstrates academic success and organizational viability and serves student populations similar to those the proposed charter school seeks to serve. In assessing the potential for quality replication of a charter school, a sponsor shall consider the following factors before approving a new site or school:

1. Evidence of a strong and reliable record of academic success based primarily on student performance data, as well as other viable indicators, including financial and operational success;

2. A sound, detailed, and well-supported growth plan;

3. Evidence of the ability to transfer successful practices to a potentially different context that includes reproducing critical cultural, organizational and instructional characteristics;

4. Any management organization involved in a potential replication is fully vetted, and the academic, financial and operational records of the schools it operates are found to be satisfactory;

5. Evidence the program seeking to be replicated has the capacity to do so successfully without diminishing or putting at risk its current operations; and

6. A financial structure that ensures that funds attributable to each charter school within a network and required by law to be utilized by a school remain with and are used to benefit that school.

D. For purposes of the Oklahoma Charter Schools Act, "charter school" means a public school established by contract with a board of education of a school district, an area vocational-technical school district, a higher education institution, a federally recognized Indian tribe, or the State Board of Education pursuant to the Oklahoma Charter Schools Act to provide learning that will improve student achievement and as defined in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, 20 U.S.C. 8065.

E. 1. For the purposes of the Oklahoma Charter Schools Act, "conversion school" means a school created by converting all or any part of a traditional public school in order to access any or all flexibilities afforded to a charter school.

2. Prior to the board of education of a school district converting all or any part of a traditional public school to a conversion school, the board shall prepare a conversion plan. The conversion plan shall include documentation that demonstrates and complies with paragraphs 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 34 and 35 of subsection B of Section 3-134 of this title. The conversion plan and all documents shall be in writing and shall be available to the public pursuant to the requirements of the Oklahoma Open Records Act. All votes by the board of education of a school district to approve a conversion plan shall be held in an open public session. If the board of education of a school district votes to approve a conversion plan, the board shall notify the State Board of Education within sixty (60) days after the vote. The notification shall include a copy of the minutes for the board meeting at which the conversion plan was approved.

3. A conversion school shall comply with all the same accountability measures as are required of a charter school as defined in subsection D of this section. The provisions of Sections 3-140 and 3-142 of this title shall not apply to a conversion school. Conversion schools shall comply with the same laws and State Board of Education rules relating to student enrollment which apply to traditional public schools. Conversion schools shall be funded by the board of education of the school district as a school site within the school district and funding shall not be affected by the conversion of the school.

4. The board of education of a school district may vote to revert a conversion school back to a traditional public school at any time; provided, the change shall only occur during a break between school years.

5. Unless otherwise provided for in this subsection, a conversion school shall retain the characteristics of a traditional public school.

F. A charter school may consist of a new school site, new school sites or all or any portion of an existing school site. An entire school district may not become a charter school site.

Added by Laws 1999, c. 320, § 7, eff. July 1, 1999. Amended by Laws 2000, c. 232, § 5, eff. July 1, 2000; Laws 2001, c. 33, § 67, eff. July 1, 2001; Laws 2007, c. 257, § 1; Laws 2010, c. 290, § 1, eff. Nov. 1, 2010; Laws 2011, c. 1, § 34, emerg. eff. March 18, 2011; Laws 2011, c. 367, § 1; Laws 2012, c. 367, § 1, eff. July 1, 2012; Laws 2013, c. 83, § 3, eff. July 1, 2013; Laws 2013, c. 212, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2013; Laws 2015, c. 170, § 1; Laws 2016, c. 27, § 1, eff. July 1, 2016; Laws 2016, c. 210, § 41, emerg. eff. April 26, 2016; Laws 2017, c. 42, § 29.

NOTE: Laws 2010, c. 288, § 1 repealed by Laws 2011, c. 1, § 35, emerg. eff. March 18, 2011. Laws 2015, c. 205, § 1 repealed by Laws 2016, c. 210, § 42, emerg. eff. April 26, 2016.

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