SBE policy changes

Last week, the State Board of Education updated the TCS-U policies. Specifically, these were “technical corrections” due to the new numbering system of the charters school law and revisions from the Charter Agreement. The State Board office is going through the process of updating the specific policy pages, so the modified policies are not yet “live” on the website.

Specifically, TCS-U-006 was modified to include language that addresses concerns that have arisen recently through charter school closures. I have outlined below what the major 4 changes are in this policy:
1. Mid-year closure of a school, without SBE approval, is considered a voluntary surrender of the charter;
2. Requirements for a conflict of interest/nepotism policy (see below for the exact language);
· “Specifically, charter schools must have policies that include, at a minimum, the following;
i. No voting members of the governing board shall be an employee of a for-profit company that provides substantial services to the charter school for a fee.
ii. No employee of the charter school shall be immediate family (as defined in G.S. 115C-12.2) to any member of the Nonprofit board of directors.
iii. No employee of the charter school, whether hired by the board of directors or a management company, shall be a voting member of the Nonprofit board of directors.
iv. No teacher or staff member that is immediate family of the chief administrator shall be hired without the board of directors evaluating their credentials, establishing a structure to prevent conflicts of interest, and notifying the Department, with evidence, that this process has occurred.”
3. Mirroring that of the Charter Agreement to state “initiating” revocation; and
4. Boards should meet no less than 8 times per year.
· Rather than setting a maximum number that must be met, the SBE adopted a minimum. The State Board wanted to afford charter schools flexibility while also ensuring transparency and public meetings to govern the charter school.

The Office of Charter Schools will NOT immediately start enforcing these policies because we understand that time is necessary to modify existing policies or create new ones. This email serves as notification of the policy expectations, and we need you to have made the necessary changes to start the 2015-16 school year. This timeframe, depending on your school calendar, affords your boards nearly 4 full months to adjust as needed.

If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact the Office of Charter Schools.

Joel E. Medley
NC Office of Charter Schools