17:3981.2  Local charter authorizers;  powers and duties


A. (1)(a) A local charter authorizer shall comply with R.S. 17:3983 and shall review and formally act upon charter proposals received within time lines established by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education that are consistent with national best practices in charter school authorizing.  Such time lines shall require, at a minimum, an annual charter process in which local charter authorizers are afforded at least ninety days to evaluate such applications.  In conducting such review, the local charter authorizer shall determine whether the proposed charter complies with the law and rules, whether the proposal is valid, complete, financially well-structured, and educationally sound, whether it provides for a master plan for improving behavior and discipline in accordance with R.S. 17:252, whether it provides a plan for collecting data in accordance with R.S. 17:3911, and whether it offers potential for fulfilling the purposes of this Chapter.  The local charter authorizer shall engage in a transparent application review process that complies with the latest Principles and Standards for Quality Charter School Authorizing, as promulgated by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, and shall provide for an independent evaluation of the charter proposal by a third party with educational, organizational, legal, and financial expertise.  Each local charter authorizer shall use a common charter application developed by the state Department of Education and approved by the state board, but may request additional information from applicants as needed.


(b) A local charter authorizer may accept charter proposals and notify charter applicants of its final decision pursuant to time lines approved by the state board.  Notifications of charter proposals denied shall include written explanation of the reasons for such denial.


(2) The local charter authorizer shall make public through its website, and in printed form upon request, the following:


(a) The guidelines for submitting a charter proposal in accordance with Paragraph (1) of this Subsection.


(b) All forms required for submission of a charter proposal.


(c) The time lines established for accepting and reviewing charter proposals.


(d) The process that will be used to review charter proposals submitted to the board.


(e) The name and contact information for a primary point of contact for charter proposals.


(3) If a charter applicant believes that a local charter authorizer has not complied with Paragraphs (1) and (2) of this Subsection in its evaluation of an application, the charter applicant may submit its proposal to the state board for its review and approval as a Type 2 charter.  If the state board determines that the local charter authorizer failed to comply with Paragraphs (1) and (2) of this Subsection, it shall notify the local charter authorizer of that determination and may proceed with its own review of the charter application.  The state board shall review each proposal according to the process set forth in R.S. 17:3981(4) and shall provide written notification of its final decision to the charter applicant pursuant to time lines established by the state board.


B. If a local charter authorizer loses its certification from the state board or otherwise ceases to exist, all of its public assets which it has acquired as a local charter authorizer pursuant to this Chapter shall become the property of the state board;  provided however, that the state board shall first afford the local school district within whose boundaries the assets are located the option to purchase or otherwise acquire such public assets.  Each charter school authorizer shall document all assets acquired with private funds.


C. Any nonprofit corporation certified by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education as a local charter authorizer shall be subject to the Open Meetings Law in accordance with R.S. 42:11 et seq., the Public Records Law in accordance with R.S. 44:1 et seq., and the Code of Governmental Ethics in accordance with R.S. 42:1101 et seq. when exercising its authority as a local charter authorizer.


D. A nonprofit corporation certified by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education as a local charter authorizer shall submit to the Department of Education an annual independent financial audit performed by a certified public accountant who has been approved by the legislative auditor. The audit shall be performed in accordance with generally accepted governmental auditing standards and the Louisiana Governmental Audit Guide.  The completed audit shall be submitted annually to the Department of Education and the legislative auditor and shall be subject to the provisions of R.S. 24:513 in so far as it pertains to quasi-public agencies.


Added by Acts 2012, No. 2, ยง 1.