2019 Tennessee Code
Title 49 - Education
Chapter 13 - Tennessee Public Charter Schools Act of 2002
§ 49-13-105. Public charter school commission.

Universal Citation: TN Code § 49-13-105 (2019)
  • (a) There is established the Tennessee public charter school commission as an independent state entity for the purpose of serving as an appellate public charter school authorizer and the LEA for any public charter school it authorizes. Beginning in the 2020-2021 school year, the commission has the authority to authorize public charter schools on appeal of a local board of education's decision to deny a public charter school application. A public charter school that is authorized by the commission must operate within the geographic boundaries of the local board of education that denied approval of the initial public charter school application. The commission may adopt policies and procedures for the commission and the commission's authorized public charter schools.

  • (b)

    • (1)

      • (A) The commission must be composed of nine (9) members appointed by the governor. Except as otherwise provided in this subsection (b), the nine (9) members of the commission must be confirmed by joint resolution of the senate and the house of representatives prior to beginning a term of office.

      • (B) If either house fails to confirm the appointment of a board member by the governor within ninety (90) calendar days after the general assembly next convenes in regular session following the appointment, then the appointment terminates on the day following the ninetieth calendar day.

    • (2) If the general assembly is not in session when initial appointments are made, then all initial appointees shall serve the terms prescribed pursuant to this section, unless the initial appointments are not confirmed during the next regular session of the general assembly in accordance with subdivision (b)(1).

    • (3) If the general assembly is not in session at the time a member is appointed to fill a vacancy, then the new appointee serves for the term appointed unless the appointment is not confirmed during the next regular session of the general assembly in accordance with subdivision (b)(1).

    • (4) All members shall be subject to removal from the commission by a two-thirds (⅔) majority vote of each house of the general assembly for misconduct, incapacity, or neglect of duty. Removal must be by passage of a joint resolution by the senate and the house of representatives.

  • (c)

    • (1) In making appointments, the governor shall strive to ensure that the commission members collectively possess experience and expertise in charter schools or charter school authorizing, public and nonprofit governance, finance, law, and school or school district leadership.

    • (2) A majority of the commission members must reside within the geographic boundary of an LEA in which at least one (1) public charter school operates.

    • (3) There must be at least three (3) members from each grand division of this state serving on the commission.

  • (d) The terms for all initial members begin on July 1, 2019. The terms of the initial nine (9) appointments shall be three (3) years for three (3) members, four (4) years for three (3) members, and five (5) years for three (3) members, as designated by the governor in the governor's initial appointments. As the terms for the initial members expire, successors shall be appointed for five-year terms.

  • (e) Each member of the commission shall:

    • (1) Review public charter school applications, hear appeals, and carry out the member's duties in a fair and impartial manner; and

    • (2) Before beginning a term of office, sign a conflict of interest agreement in which the member agrees to carry out the member's duties in compliance with subdivision (e)(1).

  • (f)

    • (1) The commission has the power to declare a commission member's position vacant if a commission member fails, without cause, to attend more than fifty percent (50%) of the commission's regular meetings in a calendar year. The commission shall determine cause for purposes of this subdivision (f)(1).

    • (2)

      • (A) Whenever a vacancy on the commission exists, the governor shall appoint a member for the remainder of the unexpired term. A member appointed by the governor to fill a vacancy on the commission is subject to confirmation by the general assembly pursuant to subsection (b).

      • (B) A member of the commission shall not vote on any matter that involves an LEA or public charter school of which the member is an employee of the local board of education or the governing body.

  • (g) The commission shall meet at least quarterly. The chair may call special meetings whenever necessary for the transaction of urgent business. The chair shall notify each member of the commission of any special meeting at least five (5) days before the time fixed for the special meeting. A majority of the commission may petition the chair to call a special meeting, in which case the chair shall call a special meeting.

  • (h) A majority of the commission members entitled to vote is required to transact business coming before the commission. The commission shall pass a resolution memorializing the commission's approval or denial of each application that the commission considers. The commission shall comply with the open meetings law, compiled in title 8, chapter 44, and open records law, compiled in title 10, chapter 7.

  • (i) The chair and vice chair are officers of the commission and must be elected by the members of the commission for a term of three (3) years or for the remainder of the respective chair's or vice chair's term on the commission, whichever is earlier. Officers may be reelected.

  • (j) A commission member shall not receive compensation but shall be reimbursed for expenses incurred in the performance of official duties in accordance with the state comprehensive travel regulations as promulgated by the commissioner of finance and administration and approved by the attorney general and reporter.

  • (k)

    • (1) The commission shall employ a director of schools who has the same duties and powers granted to directors of schools in § 49-2-301, consistent with this chapter. An employee or official of any department, agency, or board of this state shall not serve as a director of schools. The director of schools shall be responsible solely to the commission.

    • (2) Additional personnel hired by the director of schools shall be subject to personnel regulations and policies that apply to state employees, such as leave, compensation, classification, and travel regulations. The director of schools has the sole authority to appoint, terminate, and control personnel as provided in this section. The personnel of the commission shall not have state service status.

  • (l) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the commission shall, at a minimum, have the same authority and autonomy afforded to LEAs under state law regarding the procurement of goods and services, including, but not limited to, personal, professional, consulting, and social services. The commission shall develop written procedures for the procurement of all goods and services in compliance with the expenditure thresholds for competitive bidding outlined or permitted in § 49-2-203.

  • (m) The commission may promulgate rules and regulations that are solely necessary for the administrative operation and functions of the commission. The commission's rulemaking authority shall not supersede the state board of education's rulemaking authority and may only be exercised in performance of the commission's administrative responsibilities. The rules must be promulgated in accordance with the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, compiled in title 4, chapter 5.

  • (n) Commission meetings shall be made available for public viewing over the internet by streaming video accessible on the commission's website. Archived videos of the commission's meetings shall also be available to the public through the commission's website.

  • (o) The following individuals are prohibited from serving as a member of the commission for so long as they hold the office or position:

    • (1) Elected officials; and

    • (2) State employees.

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