PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOLS
33-5205. Petition to establish public charter school. (1) Intent. Any group of persons, upon creating a nonprofit corporation pursuant to section 33-5204, Idaho Code, may petition to establish a new public charter school, or to convert an existing traditional public school to a public charter school. The purpose of the charter petition is to present the proposed public charter school’s academic and operational vision and plans, demonstrate the petitioner’s capacities to execute the proposed vision and plans and provide the authorized chartering entity a clear basis for assessing the applicant’s plans and capacities. An approved charter petition shall not serve as the school’s performance certificate.
(2) New Public Charter School Petition. Except for a petition to establish a new virtual school, which shall follow subsection (6) of this section, or to convert an existing traditional public school, which shall follow subsection (7) of this section, a petition to establish a new public charter school shall follow the process set forth in subsections (3) through (5) of this section.
(a) The state board of education, by rule, shall develop an application to establish a new public charter school that, when submitted by petitioners, shall constitute the public charter school’s completed petition. The application is not intended to be exhaustive, but shall require petitioners to provide descriptions of the following key features of the prospective public charter school:
(i) Educational program, including student academic proficiency and growth standards and measurement methods and any mission-specific standards that may be unique to the school;
(ii) Financial and facilities plan;
(iii) Board capacity and governance structure; and
(iv) Student demand and primary attendance area.
(b) Prior to submitting the completed petition to an authorized chartering entity described in section 33-5202A(1), Idaho Code, petitioners shall send a letter and a copy of the completed petition to the superintendent of each district that overlaps the proposed public charter school’s primary attendance area. The purpose of the letter is to inform the superintendent that petitioners are seeking an authorizer, and to offer to attend a district board of trustees meeting, if the superintendent so requests.
(c) A minimum of four (4) weeks after sending the letter and copy of the completed petition pursuant to paragraph (b) of this subsection, or earlier if the superintendent of each district that overlaps the proposed public charter school’s primary attendance area agrees, petitioners may submit the completed petition to an authorized chartering entity pursuant to section 33-5202A(1), Idaho Code. Upon receipt of the completed petition, which may be received electronically, representatives of the authorized chartering entity shall review, and may contract with a third party or other government agency to assist in reviewing, the petition. If necessary, representatives of the authorized chartering entity may request from petitioners limited additional information necessary to clarify the contents of the completed petition. Any subsequent change to the completed petition will comprise the revised petition.
(4) Hearing. If the authorized chartering entity is the public charter school commission, within ten (10) weeks of receiving a revised petition and not later than twelve (12) weeks after receiving the completed petition, commission staff shall provide commissioners with a written recommendation that the commission approve, deny or grant conditional approval of the petition. Concurrently, the commission staff shall provide a copy of the recommendation to petitioners, along with a notice of a hearing date, and shall notify the district in which the proposed charter school will be physically located of the opportunity to submit written comments or to testify at the hearing. Petitioners may testify to support or refute the recommendation. If the authorized chartering entity is other than the public charter school commission, it may develop its own hearing process.
(5) Petition Decision. If the authorized chartering entity approves the petition, the parties shall negotiate the terms of the performance certificate pursuant to section 33-5205B, Idaho Code. If the authorized chartering entity grants conditional approval, the conditions may be considered reasonable pre-opening requirements or conditions pursuant to section 33-5206, Idaho Code, or may be added to the charter upon agreement of petitioners and the authorized chartering entity.
(6) Virtual Schools.
(a)In the case of a petition for a public virtual charter school, if the primary attendance area described in the petition of a proposed public virtual charter school extends within the boundaries of five (5) or fewer local school districts, the prospective authorizer shall provide notice in writing to those local school districts of the public hearing no less than thirty (30) days prior to the public hearing. The public hearing shall include any oral or written comments that an authorized representative of the local school districts may provide regarding the merits of the petition and any potential impacts on the school districts.
(b) An authorized chartering entity may approve a charter for a public virtual school under the provisions of this chapter if it determines that the petition contains the statements describing the following:
(i) The learning management system by which courses will be delivered;
(ii) The role of the online teacher, including the consistent availability of the teacher to provide guidance around course material, methods of individualized learning in the online course and the means by which student work will be assessed;
(iii) A plan for the provision of professional development specific to the public virtual school environment;
(iv) The means by which public virtual school students will receive appropriate teacher-to-student interaction, including timely and frequent feedback about student progress;
(v) The means by which the public virtual school will verify student attendance and award course credit. Attendance at public virtual schools shall focus primarily on coursework and activities that are correlated to the Idaho state thoroughness standards;
(vi) A plan for the provision of technical support relevant to the delivery of online courses;
(vii) The means by which the public virtual school will provide opportunity for student-to-student interaction;
(viii) To the extent there is a financial agreement that will require an education service provider to assume a virtual school’s financial risk when the virtual school does not have sufficient residual funds to pay the education service provider, such financial agreement, which will be favorably considered during the application process. Where this paragraph is applicable, the education service provider shall make its audited financial statements available unless the education service provider already makes such audited financial statements publicly available for compliance with other federal or state laws; and
(ix) A plan for ensuring equal access for all students, including the provision of necessary hardware, software and internet connectivity required for participation in online coursework.
(7) Conversion Charter Schools. A petition to convert an existing traditional public school shall be submitted to the board of trustees of the district in which the school is located for review and approval. The petition shall be signed by not less than sixty percent (60%) of the teachers currently employed by the school district at the school to be converted, and by one (1) or more parents or guardians of not less than sixty percent (60%) of the students currently attending the school to be converted. Each petition submitted to convert an existing school or to establish a new charter school shall contain a copy of the articles of incorporation and the bylaws of the nonprofit corporation, which shall be deemed incorporated into the petition.
(8) Term. An initial charter, if approved, shall be granted for a term of five (5) operating years. This term shall commence on July 1 preceding the public charter school’s first year of operation.
[33-5205, added 1998, ch. 92, sec. 1, p. 332; am. 1999, ch. 244, sec. 3, p. 625; am. 2000, ch. 443, sec. 3, p. 1405; am. 2004, ch. 371, sec. 6, p. 1104; am. 2004, ch. 375, sec. 1, p. 1117; am. 2005, ch. 376, sec. 4, p. 1204; am. 2008, ch. 105, sec. 2, p. 289; am. 2008, ch. 157, sec. 1, p. 451; am. 2009, ch. 11, sec. 11, p. 21; am. 2009, ch. 41, sec. 1, p. 115; am. 2009, ch. 160, sec. 1, p. 477; am. 2009, ch. 200, sec. 1, p. 639; am. 2010, ch. 79, sec. 10, p. 138; am. 2012, ch. 188, sec. 1, p. 495; am. 2013, ch. 343, sec. 4, p. 911; am. 2015, ch. 129, sec. 1, p. 328; am. 2016, ch. 271, sec. 5, p. 733; am. 2017, ch. 249, sec. 2, p. 608; am. 2023, ch. 268, sec. 3, p. 800.]