Thursday, September 13, 2012

RI Law Regarding District Charters

If you're scratching your head over the PPSD's sudden hard-on for creating district charters, it is worth noting that most of the announced process has little to do with the actual legal requirements for creating such a charter. You can find links to the law and RIDE's regulations here.

One significant problem is that the regulations posted on RIDE's website are inconsistent with stated requirements for the application process elsewhere on the site. So I may be wrong insofar as RIDE's site is inaccurate and/or incomplete.

The most important point is that converting an existing school requires the support of 2/3rds of the teachers and more than 50% of the parents in the school. That's been more or less consistently reported. One puzzling aspect of this clause is that it just says that it must be done "prior to implementation," so theoretically the Regents could grant preliminary approval without this, although in practice it seems unlikely. Or perhaps that could come into play if parents revoked their support midway through the process as happened in California?

Applying to convert a school to a district charter does not actually require the cooperation of the District's board or the union, although both are probably helpful. There is no requirement for collaborating partners in the process; that's strictly PPSD's idea.

There is no requirement in statute or regulation or otherwise posted on RIDE's site requiring that a prospectus be submitted to RIDE by October 1. By law, full applications are due December 1, 2012 for schools opening fall 2013. Prospectuses were not required for other charters applying for fall 2013 opening.

RIDE has posted a document stating that prospectuses for schools opening in fall 2014 are also due December 1, 2012, with full 2014 applications due in March 2013 (nine months ahead of the legal deadline). Those deadlines are not backed up by law or posted regulation, so... ?

I'm not sure what is going on with this:

And (PPSD Board Chair) Oliveira says interested charters need to apply by the state's charter deadline of October 1st. He says the state refused to give Providence more time.

Basically, if RIDE likes you, they can waive all the non-binding requirements they've posted. If they don't like you, they'll make more up.

I can't figure out what the rush is anyhow, other than setting up Taveras's gubernatorial campaign in 2014.


It seems unlikely to me that a district charter can weight enrollment by neighborhood.

A new school can be created by a group of district teachers and parents representing 2/3rds of the teachers and over half the students who will attend the school.

1 comment:

Jill Davidson said...

Thanks for this! Appreciate the RIDE link and your thinking about it.