SENATE BILL No. 160
By Senators Lawrence, Bleeker, Brownlee, Clark, Hardenburger, Har-
rington, Jordan, Praeger, Ranson, Salisbury, Sallee, Steffes,
Umbarger and Vidricksen
AN ACT authorizing the establishment of state charter schools.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Kansas:
Section 1. (a) The state board of education may authorize the estab-
lishment of nonsectarian, outcomes-oriented, performance-based edu-
cational programs, hereinafter referred to as state charter schools. The
purposes for authorizing the establishment of state charter schools shall
be consonant with the provisions of K.S.A. 1996 Supp. 72-1904, and
amendments thereto. In addition to the foregoing, the purposes for au-
thorizing the establishment of state charter schools shall be to provide
parents and pupils with expanded options in choosing educational op-
portunities that are available within the state and to provide a stimulus
for authorization of the establishment of charter schools by boards of
education of school districts.
(b) A state charter school shall have all powers necessary or desirable
for carrying out its educational program, including, but not limited to, the
(1) To adopt a name. Any name selected must include the words
``state charter school'';
(2) to sue and be sued, but only to the same extent and upon the
same conditions that a unified school district may be sued;
(3) to acquire real property, from public or private sources, by pur-
chase, lease, lease with an option to purchase, or by gift, for use as a
(4) to receive and expend funds for school purposes;
(5) to enter into contracts and leases for the procurement of services,
equipment and supplies;
(6) to solicit and accept any grants or gifts for school purposes.
(c) State charter schools shall operate independently from school dis-
tricts and boards of education of school districts. No board of education
shall have jurisdiction over or legal responsibility for a state charter school.
(d) Except as provided in this act and in its charter, a state charter
school is exempt from all state laws relating to school districts and boards
of education thereof.
(e) The state board of education shall exercise general supervision
over state charter schools to the same extent and in the same manner that
the state board exercises general supervision over school districts.
(f) The state board of education may conduct or cause to be con-
ducted such financial and program audits of the operations of state charter
schools as may be necessary to determine whether such schools are in
compliance with the provisions of their charters and with the provisions
of law from which such schools have not been exempted by this act.
(g) State charter schools shall comply with all federal and state laws
relating to provision of special education services for exceptional children.
(h) State charter schools shall comply with all federal and state laws
relating to health and safety.
(i) State charter schools shall have no power, privilege or authority
with respect to the levy and collection of taxes or the issuance of bonds.
State charter schools shall not have the power of eminent domain.
(j) State charter schools shall be deemed to be state agencies for all
purposes of the Kansas tort claims act. The members of the governing
authority and all employees of a state charter school shall be deemed to
be employees of a state agency for all purposes of the Kansas tort claims
Sec. 2. (a) The state board of education shall design and prescribe
the format of a petition for establishment of state charter schools. The
petition shall be designed in a manner that will provide for inclusion of
a description of the key elements of the charter under which the school
will be operated.
(b) A petition for the establishment of a state charter school may be
prepared and submitted to the state board of education by or on behalf
of a business or corporate entity, a parent or group of parents, a college,
university, museum or similar entity, an educational services contractor,
or any other person or entity. Any such petition shall be submitted by not
later than December 1 of the school year preceding the school year in
which the state charter school is proposed to be established.
(c) The state board of education shall receive and review each petition
for establishment or continuation of a state charter school and may grant
or renew a charter for operation of the school. The charter must contain
the following key elements:
(1) A description of the educational program of the school, including
the facilities that will be used to house the program;
(2) a description of the level of interest and support on the part of
the community to be served;
(3) specification of program goals and the measurable pupil outcomes
consonant with achieving the goals;
(4) explanation of how pupil performance in achieving the specified
outcomes will be measured, evaluated, and reported;
(5) the governance structure of the school, including the means of
ensuring accountability to the state board of education;
(6) a description of qualifications to be met by persons employed by
the state charter school;
(7) procedures that will be followed to ensure the health and safety
of pupils and staff;
(8) criteria for admission of pupils, including a description of the lot-
tery method to be used if too many pupils seek enrollment in the school;
(9) manner in which annual financial and program audits will be con-
(10) pupil suspension and expulsion policies;
(11) manner of pupil participation in the Kansas assessment program;
(12) terms and conditions of employment in the state charter school;
(13) specification of the manner in which contracts of employment
and status of employees of the school will be dealt with upon nonrenewal
or revocation of the charter; and
(14) the proposed budget of the state charter school.
(d) In addition to the key elements required by subsection (c) to be
contained in the charter, a state charter school must comply with the
following requirements in order to qualify for establishment or continu-
(1) The school must be focused on outcomes or results and must
participate in the quality performance accreditation system unless a spe-
cific request documenting the reasons for deviation from the system is
submitted to and approved by the state board of education;
(2) the school shall not limit admission based on ethnicity, national
origin, gender, income level, condition of exceptionality, proficiency in
English language or athletic ability, however a school may limit admission
to pupils within a given age group or grade level;
(3) pupils may not be charged tuition; and
(4) compliance with applicable health, safety, and access laws must
(e) Upon receipt of a petition for establishment or continuation of a
state charter school, if the state board of education finds the petition to
be incomplete, the state board may request the necessary information
from the petitioner. After receiving a satisfactory petition, the state board
of education shall determine whether the proposed state charter school
will be in compliance with applicable state and federal laws and rules and
regulations. If the state board finds that the proposed state charter school
will be in compliance with such laws and rules and regulations, the state
board shall approve establishment of the school and notify the petitioner
of the approval within 30 days thereafter or by April 1 of the school year
preceding the school year in which the state charter school is proposed
to be established, whichever is earlier. If the state board finds that the
proposed state charter school will not be in compliance with such laws
and rules and regulations, establishment of the school shall not be ap-
proved until the state board's objections have been satisfied. If the state
board disapproves establishment of the school, the state board shall notify
the petitioner of the reasons for the disapproval and shall offer sugges-
tions for improvement of the petition.
Sec. 3. (a) Whenever a state charter school has been approved for
establishment by the state board of education, no other approval shall be
required for a period of five school years. The state board of education
shall submit budget requests for legislative appropriations for state char-
ter schools in the same manner and at the same time as budget requests
for the Kansas state school for the blind and the Kansas state school for
the deaf are submitted.
(b) The state board of education may consider renewal of the oper-
ational status of a state charter school at the conclusion of a five-year
period of approval and may either renew the charter and continue op-
eration of the school, or nonrenew the charter and discontinue operation
of the school. The state board of education shall revoke the charter of a
school if the school:
(1) Materially violates provisions contained in the charter;
(2) fails to meet or pursue the educational objectives contained in the
(3) fails to comply with fiscal accountability procedures as specified
in the charter; or
(4) violates provisions of federal or state law from which the school
has not been exempted by this act.
(c) Prior to nonrenewing or revoking a charter, the state board of
education shall hold a hearing on the issues in controversy. Spokespersons
for the state charter school shall be provided the opportunity to present
information refuting the basis upon which the nonrenewal or revocation
is premised. At least 30 days' notice must be provided to representatives
of the state charter school prior to the hearing. Within 60 days after the
hearing, the state board of education shall announce its decision on the
nonrenewal or revocation issue. The state board may abandon the pro-
posed nonrenewal or revocation, nonrenew or revoke the charter, or con-
tinue recognition of the charter contingent upon compliance with speci-
fied conditions. The decision of the state board of education to nonrenew
or revoke a charter is not subject to appeal; however, the chartering au-
thorities may renew procedures for approval to operate a state charter
Sec. 4. Pupils who are enrolled in a state charter school and who
reside in the school district in which the state charter school is located
shall be provided transportation to the state charter school by the school
district on the same terms and conditions as transportation is provided to
pupils attending schools of the district. No school district shall be required
to provide transportation to a state charter school for pupils who are not
residents of the district. Pupils who are not provided transportation to a
state charter school by a school district shall be responsible for their own
transportation to and from the state charter school.
Sec. 5. (a) Each school district shall grant a leave of absence to any
employee requesting such leave in order to participate in the operation
of a state charter school. A school district employee may request a leave
of absence for up to two years. At the end of the two year period, the
employee may make a request to the board of education that such leave
be extended for an additional three years, and approval for the request
shall not be unreasonably withheld, or the employee may return to the
employee's former position. At the end of the fifth year, the employee
may either return to the employee's former position or, if the employee
chooses to continue participation in the operation of the state charter
school, resign from employment by the school district.
(b) No board of education shall terminate the employment of, or
prevent or impair the profession of, or impose any other sanction on any
school employee because the employee requested a leave of absence to
participate in the operation of a state charter school.
(c) All employees who are participating in the operation of a state
charter school and who qualify for membership in the Kansas public em-
ployees retirement system shall be members of the system.
(d) All employees who are on leave of absence from a school district
in order to participate in the operation of a state charter school and who
qualify for health insurance and other fringe benefit programs provided
for other employees of the school district shall be eligible to participate
in such programs.
(e) The governing authority of a state charter school may purchase
group life, health and accident insurance or health care services of a
health maintenance organization for all employees of the school. The
governing authority of a state charter school may purchase liability insur-
ance covering all or any part of the operation of the school.
Sec. 6. The state board of education shall provide, upon request, any
person, group, or any other entity with technical advice and assistance
regarding the establishment and operation of a state charter school or the
preparation of a petition requesting authorization to establish and operate
a state charter school.
Sec. 7. At the conclusion of each school year, commencing with the
1998-99 school year, the state board of education shall make a report to
the governor and the legislature on the effectiveness of the provisions of
this act. The report shall include the following information:
(a) The number and location of state charter schools established and
operating in the state;
(b) the number of petitions for authorization to establish and operate
a state charter school submitted during the school year, the number of
such petitions that were approved, and the number of such petitions that
were disapproved along with the reasons for disapproval;
(c) an assessment and evaluation of the impact the operation of state
charter schools has had on the public education system of the state.
Sec. 8. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its
publication in the statute book.