Text: H.R.2904 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (06/28/2007)


110th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 2904


To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to reauthorize the laws relating to public charter schools to improve academic achievement of all students.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

June 28, 2007

Mr. Boustany (for himself, Mr. McKeon, Mr. Castle, Mr. Hoekstra, Mrs. McCarthy of New York, and Mr. Fortuño) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and Labor


A BILL

To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to reauthorize the laws relating to public charter schools to improve academic achievement of all students.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Charter School Program Enhancement Act of 2007.”.

SEC. 2. Charter schools program.

(a) Purpose.—Section 5201 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7221) is amended—

(1) in the matter preceding paragraph (1) by striking “to increase national understanding of the charter schools model by—” and inserting “to support the Nation’s charter schools in increasing the academic achievement of students, by—”;

(2) in paragraph (3)—

(A) by inserting before the semicolon the following: “, especially those students that attend schools that have been identified as in need of improvement”; and

(B) by striking “and” at the end;

(3) by redesignating paragraph (4) as (6); and

(4) by inserting after paragraph (3) the following:

“(4) encouraging the replication of successful charter school models;

“(5) disseminating charter school innovations throughout public education; and”.

(b) Program authorized.—Section 5202 of that Act (20 U.S.C. 7221a) is amended—

(1) in subsection (a) by inserting after “State educational agencies” the following: “and authorized public chartering agencies”;

(2) in subsection (b) by striking “5203(c)” and inserting “5203(d)”;

(3) in subsection (c)—

(A) in paragraph (1)—

(i) by striking “under this section” and inserting “or authorized public chartering agencies under this section”; and

(ii) by striking “3 years” and inserting “5 years”; and

(B) by amending paragraph (2) to read as follows:

“(2) GRANTS TO ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS.—Grants awarded by the Secretary to eligible applicants under subsection (b) or subgrants awarded by State educational agencies or authorized public chartering agencies to eligible applicants under section 5204(g)(1) shall be for a period of not more than 3 years. The eligible applicant shall use a portion of that period for planning and program design and a portion for the initial implementation of a charter school.”;

(4) by striking subsection (d);

(5) by redesignating subsections (e) and (f) as (d) and (e), respectively;

(6) in subsection (d) (as so redesignated)—

(A) by amending paragraph (1) to read as follows:

“(1) IN GENERAL.—In awarding grants under this subpart from any funds appropriated under section 5211 (other than funds reserved to carry out section 5205(b)), the Secretary shall—

“(A) exclude applications from a State to the extent the State has laws that meet the criteria described in paragraph (4), unless the application demonstrates that such laws do not stifle growth of charter schools or limit parental options; and

“(B) give priority to States to the extent that the States meet the criteria described in paragraph (2) and one or more of the criteria described in paragraph (3).”;

(B) in paragraph (2)—

(i) by striking “paragraph (1)” and inserting “paragraph (1)(B)”;

(ii) by striking “periodic” and inserting “annual”; and

(iii) by striking “, at least once every five years unless required more frequently by State law,”;

(C) in paragraph (3)—

(i) by striking “paragraph (1)” and inserting “paragraph (1)(B)”;

(ii) in subparagraph (A) by inserting after “State educational agency” the following: “, authorized public chartering agency,”; and

(iii) by striking subparagraphs (B) and (C) and inserting the following:

“(B) The State provides for one authorized public chartering agency that is not a local educational agency, such as a State chartering board, for each individual or entity seeking to operate a charter school pursuant to such State law.

“(C) The State allows for an appeals process for the denial of an application for a charter school.

“(D) The State ensures that each charter school has a high degree of autonomy over the charter school's budgets and expenditures and an independent governing board that enters into a written performance contract with an authorized public chartering agency.

“(E) The State provides public charter schools with funding commensurate with that provided to other public schools, including provision for school facilities, and ensures that local educational agencies send to public charter schools the Federal, State, and local dollars to which they are entitled in a timely manner.

“(F) The State makes it a priority to create charter schools in districts or geographical areas with large numbers of schools designated as in need of improvement.

“(G) The State demonstrates that a high percentage of its charter school students are either achieving at or above the proficient level or making sufficient progress toward proficient levels on the State reading or language arts, and mathematics, assessments administered under section 1111(b)(3).”; and

(D) by adding at the end the following:

“(4) EXCLUSION CRITERIA.—The criteria referred to in paragraph (1)(A) are the following:

“(A) The laws limit the number of charter schools in the State.

“(B) The laws limit the number of new charter schools per year.

“(C) The laws limit the number of start-up charter schools.

“(D) The laws limit the number of charter schools per approved authorizer.

“(E) The laws limit the number or percentages of students who may attend a charter school.

“(F) The laws limit the number or percentages of a State’s student population who may attend a charter school.

“(G) The laws limit the percentage of a school district’s budget allocated to charter schools.

“(H) The laws limit, in any other way the Secretary considers material, the ability of the State to use charter schools to serve students in the State.”; and

(7) in subsection (e) (as so redesignated)—

(A) by striking “subpart” and inserting “section”;

(B) by inserting after “State educational agency” the following: “or authorized public chartering agency”;

(C) by striking “take into consideration” and inserting “consider”; and

(D) by inserting before the period at the end the following: “and the number of subgrants the Secretary believes the State educational agency or authorized public chartering agency would be able to make”.

(c) Applications.—Section 5203 of that Act (20 U.S.C. 7221b) is amended—

(1) in subsection (a) by striking “may require” and inserting “may reasonably require”;

(2) in subsection (b)—

(A) in paragraph (1) by striking “and” at the end;

(B) in paragraph (2) by striking “and” at the end;

(C) by redesignating paragraph (3) as (4);

(D) by inserting after paragraph (2) the following:

“(3) describe the criteria that the eligible entity will use to award subgrants to eligible applicants to ensure high-quality charter schools; and”; and

(E) in paragraph (4) (as so redesignated)—

(i) in subparagraph (F) by striking “authorized public chartering agency will provide for continued operation” and inserting “State educational agency will provide for continued funding”;

(ii) by redesignating subparagraphs (G) through (M), and subparagraph (N), as (H) through (N), and (Q), respectively;

(iii) by inserting after subparagraph (F) the following:

“(G) a description of how the State educational agency will ensure that the creation of charter schools are targeted toward those districts or geographical areas with a large number of schools designated as in need of improvement;”;

(iv) in subparagraph (I) (as so redesignated) by inserting before the semicolon at the end the following: “and how such funds will be used for planning and program design and for the initial implementation of a charter school”;

(v) in subparagraph (J)(ii) (as so redesignated) by inserting before the semicolon at the end the following: “, including a description of how the eligible applicant will hold a lottery if the number of applicants exceeds the number of seats available”;

(vi) in subparagraph (N) (as so redesignated)—

(I) by striking “under section 5202(c)(2)(C)” and inserting “as described in section 5204(g)(6)”; and

(II) by striking “and” at the end; and

(vii) by inserting after subparagraph (N) (as so redesignated) the following:

“(O) information demonstrating support of the application from the State’s charter school community;

“(P) a description of how the State encourages the inclusion, on independent governing boards, including those overseeing multi-campus charters, individuals with a diversity of skills, including business management, financial management, real estate finance, and curriculum and instruction; and”;

(3) by redesignating subsections (c) and (d) as (d) and (e), respectively;

(4) by inserting after subsection (b) the following:

“(c) Authorized public chartering agency’s application.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—Each authorized public chartering agency desiring a grant under section 5202(a) shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and accompanied by such information as the Secretary may reasonably require.

“(2) CONTENTS.—Each application submitted pursuant to paragraph (1) shall contain the information and assurances described in subsection (b), as appropriately applied to authorized public chartering agencies.”; and

(5) in subsection (e) (as so redesignated)—

(A) in the matter preceding paragraph (1) by striking “subsection (c)” and inserting “subsection (d)”;

(B) in paragraph (1)—

(i) by striking “(A) through (N)” and inserting “(A) through (Q)”; and

(ii) by striking “(J), (K), and (N)” and inserting “(K), (L), and (Q)”; and

(C) in paragraph (2)(B) by striking “5204(e)” and inserting “5204(f)”.

(d) Administration.—Section 5204 of that Act (20 U.S.C. 7221c) is amended—

(1) in subsection (a)(7) by striking “(f)(6)(B)” and inserting “(g)(6)(B)”;

(2) by striking subsection (g);

(3) by redesignating subsections (b) through (f) as (c) through (g), respectively;

(4) by inserting after subsection (a) the following:

“(b) Selection criteria for authorized public chartering agencies.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall award grants to authorized public chartering agencies under this subpart on the basis of the quality of the applications submitted under section 5203(c), after considering such factors as—

“(A) the contribution that a proposed grant will make to assisting educationally disadvantaged and other students in meeting State academic content standards and State student academic achievement standards;

“(B) the degree of flexibility afforded by the State educational agency to charter schools under the State's charter school law;

“(C) the ambitiousness of the objectives for the proposed project;

“(D) the quality of the strategy for assessing achievement of those objectives;

“(E) the likelihood that the proposed grant will meet those objectives and improve educational results for students;

“(F) the number of high-quality charter schools created under this subpart by the agency; and

“(G) in the case of an authorized public chartering agency that proposes to use grant funds to support dissemination activities under subsection (g)(6)(B), the quality of those activities and the likelihood that those activities will improve student academic achievement.

“(2) REQUIREMENTS.—The Secretary may award a grant to an authorized public chartering agency only if the Secretary determines that—

“(A) the agency has the capacity to make subgrants effectively; and

“(B) making the grant would benefit charter schools in the State.”;

(5) in subsection (c) (as so redesignated)——

(A) in the matter preceding paragraph (1) by striking “5203(c)” and inserting “5203(d)”;

(B) by striking paragraph (4) and inserting the following:

“(4) the objectives for the charter school and a description of how such objectives will be fulfilled, including steps taken by the charter school to include teachers, parents, and communities in fulfilling the objectives;”; and

(C) in paragraph (7) by striking “(f)(6)(B)” and inserting “(g)(6)(B)”;

(6) in subsection (d) (as so redesignated) by inserting after “State educational agency” the following: “or authorized public chartering agency”;

(7) in subsection (e) (as so redesignated)—

(A) in the matter preceding paragraph (1) by inserting after “State educational agency” the following: “or authorized public chartering agency”; and

(B) in paragraph (2) by striking “, such as approaches designed to reduce school size”;

(8) in subsection (g) (as so redesignated)—

(A) by amending paragraph (1) to read as follows:

“(1) STATE EDUCATIONAL AGENCIES AND AUTHORIZED PUBLIC CHARTERING AGENCIES.—Each State educational agency or authorized public chartering agency receiving a grant under this subpart shall use such grant funds to award subgrants to one or more eligible applicants in the State to enable such applicant to plan and implement a charter school in accordance with this subpart, provided that most of the funds be awarded to charter school developers, equitably distributed among public nonprofit organizations, private nonprofit organizations, and groups of teachers, administrators, parents, and others. A State educational agency or authorized public chartering agency may vary the dollar amount per grant that it awards to eligible applicants based upon a variety of factors, including whether the eligible applicant is a start-up charter school or a conversion charter school and whether the eligible applicant is creating a charter school under a new charter or an existing charter.”;

(B) in paragraph (2) by striking “or a State educational agency” and inserting “, or from a State educational agency or authorized public chartering agency,”;

(C) in paragraph (3)—

(i) in subparagraph (A) by striking “and” at the end;

(ii) in subparagraph (B) by striking the period at the end and inserting “; and”; and

(iii) by adding at the end the following:

“(C) dissemination activities as described in paragraphs (2) and (6).”;

(D) in paragraph (4) by amending subparagraph (A) to read as follows:

“(A) STATE EDUCATIONAL AGENCY AND AUTHORIZED PUBLIC CHARTERING AGENCY ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES.—Each State educational agency or authorized public chartering agency receiving a grant pursuant to this subpart may reserve not more than 5 percent of such grant funds for administrative expenses associated with the charter school grant program assisted under this subpart.”; and

(E) in paragraph (6)—

(i) in subparagraph (A)—

(I) by striking “In general” and inserting “Charter school”; and

(II) by striking “whether or not the charter school has applied for or received funds under this subpart for planning, program design, or implementation,”; and

(ii) by adding at the end the following:

“(C) STATE DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES.—

“(i) GENERAL RULE.—A State educational agency or authorized public chartering agency may use funds authorized to be reserved for dissemination activities under paragraph (3) to make subgrants for dissemination activities, described in subparagraph (B), for charter schools described in subparagraph (A), to—

“(I) eligible applicants; or

“(II) non-profit organizations that have demonstrated knowledge of, and experience with, the activities described in subparagraph (B).

“(ii) SPECIAL RULE.—A State educational agency may also use funds authorized to be reserved for dissemination under paragraph (3) to make a subgrant, for dissemination activities described in subparagraph (B), to an authorized public chartering agency that does not receive a direct grant from the Secretary under section 5202.”.

(e) National activities.—Section 5205 of that Act (20 U.S.C. 7221d) is amended—

(1) in subsection (a)—

(A) in paragraph (1) by inserting after “State educational agencies” the following: “or authorized public chartering agencies”;

(B) in paragraph (3)(E) by inserting before the period at the end the following: “, authorized public chartering agencies, and charter support organizations”; and

(C) by striking paragraph (5) and inserting the following:

“(6) To provide technical assistance to charter schools on how to meet the requirements of part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.”;

(2) in subsection (b)—

(A) in paragraph (2)(A) by striking “subsection” and all that follows through “the Secretary shall” and inserting “subpart, the Secretary may”;

(B) in paragraph (4) by striking subparagraph (B) and inserting the following:

“(B) ELIGIBILITY.—To be eligible to receive a grant under this subsection, a State shall—

“(i) establish or enhance, and administer, a per-pupil facilities aid program for charter schools in the State, that is specified in State law and provides annual financing, on a per-pupil basis, for charter school facilities; or

“(ii) provide funding for operations, capital costs, and interest for charter schools in the State in an amount that, on a per-pupil basis, is commensurate with what it provides for those costs to public elementary and secondary schools in the State.”;

(C) in paragraph (6) by striking “(A), (B), and (C) of paragraph (3), of section 5202(e)” and inserting “(A) through (G) of paragraph (3), of section 5202(d)”; and

(D) by adding at the end the following:

“(7) EVALUATIONS.—The Secretary shall carry out evaluations of, technical assistance for, and information dissemination regarding, the per-pupil facilities aid programs. In carrying out the evaluations, the Secretary may carry out one or more evaluations of State programs assisted under this subsection, which shall, at a minimum, address—

“(A) how, and the extent to which, the programs promote educational equity and excellence; and

“(B) the extent to which charter schools supported through the programs are—

“(i) held accountable to the public;

“(ii) effective in improving public education; and

“(iii) open and accessible to all students.”; and

(3) by adding at the end the following:

“(d) Dissemination grants.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary may reserve not more than 7 percent of the funds appropriated under section 5211 for any fiscal year to make grants, on a competitive basis, to State educational agencies, authorized public chartering agencies, local educational agencies, nonprofit organizations, or a consortium of charter schools, in any combination, for multi-State dissemination activities designed to increase the number of high-quality charter schools nationally by carrying out such activities as—

“(A) assisting others with the planning and start-up of one or more new public schools, including charter schools;

“(B) developing partnerships designed to improve student academic achievement;

“(C) developing curriculum materials, assessments, and other materials that promote increased student achievement and are based on successful practices within charter schools;

“(D) conducting evaluations and developing materials that document successful practices at charter schools and that are designed to improve student performance in other schools; and

“(E) training personnel of the adopting local educational agencies, charter schools, authorized public chartering agencies, and charter support organizations in the innovative practice developed at the original site.

“(2) APPLICATION.—An eligible entity desiring a grant under paragraph (1) shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may reasonably require.”.

(f) Definitions.—Section 5210 of that Act (20 U.S.C. 7221i) is amended—

(1) in paragraph (1)—

(A) by striking subparagraph (L);

(B) by redesignating subparagraphs (C) through (K) as (D) through (L);

(C) by inserting after subparagraph (B) the following:

“(C) has an independent governing board that enters into a performance-based agreement—

“(i) that encompasses one or more campuses with an authorized public chartering agency in the State;

“(ii) that includes a description of how student performance will be measured in charter schools pursuant to State assessments that are required of other schools and pursuant to any other assessments or evaluations mutually agreeable to the authorized public chartering agency and the charter school and criteria for renewal or revocation;”;

(D) in subparagraph (I) (as so redesignated) by inserting before the semicolon at the end the following: “, and does not give admissions preference to any student on the basis of prior academic achievement”;

(E) in subparagraph (K) (as so redesignated) by adding “and” at the end; and

(F) in subparagraph (L) (as so redesignated) by striking “; and” and inserting a period;

(2) by amending paragraph (3) to read as follows:

“(3) ELIGIBLE APPLICANT.—The term ‘eligible applicant’ means—

“(A) a developer that has applied to an authorized public chartering authority to operate a charter school and provided adequate and timely notice and a copy of the application to that authority under section 5203(e)(3); or

“(B) a charter support organization.”;

(3) in paragraph (4) by striking “or other public entity” and inserting “other public entity, private nonprofit entity, or a consortium of entities”; and

(4) by adding at the end the following:

“(5) CHARTER SUPPORT ORGANIZATION.—The term ‘charter support organization’ means a public or private nonprofit organization that provides assistance to developers during the planning, program design, and initial implementation of a charter school.”.

(g) Authorization of appropriations.—Section 5211 of that Act (20 U.S.C. 7221j) is amended—

(1) in subsection (a) by striking “2002” and inserting “2008”; and

(2) by striking subsection (b) and inserting the following:

“(b) Considerations.—In allocating funds under this subpart for any fiscal year, the Secretary shall consider the relative need between the programs under section 5202 and section 5205(b) and (d) and the quality of the applications submitted.”.

SEC. 3. Charter school credit enhancement program.

(a) Grants to eligible entities.—Section 5222(a) of that Act (20 U.S.C. 7223a(a)) is amended by striking “The Secretary shall use 100 percent of the amount available” and inserting “After reserving any funds as necessary for grant evaluation or administration consistent with applicable provisions (including section 9601(a) of this Act and section 402(b)(1) of the Department of Education Organization Act (20 U.S.C. 3462(b)(1))), the Secretary shall use the amounts available”.

(b) Applications.—Section 5223(b)(4) of that Act (20 U.S.C. 7223b(b)(4)) is amended by inserting before the semicolon at the end the following: “, including how the applicant will offer a combination of rates and terms more favorable than those that a charter school could receive without assistance under this subpart”.

(c) Charter school objectives.—Section 5224(2) of that Act (20 U.S.C. 7223c(2)) is amended by inserting after “construction” the following: “(including predevelopment costs, even in rare instances where construction or renovation cannot proceed as a result of pre-development findings)”.

(d) Reserve account.—Section 5225(a) of that Act (20 U.S.C. 7223d(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(5) Making limited loans to charter schools, under such terms and conditions as the Secretary may prescribe.”.

(e) Limitation on administrative costs.—Section 5226 of that Act (20 U.S.C. 7223e) is amended by striking “0.25 percent of the funds received” and inserting “two percent of the funds received for any fiscal year”.

(f) Authorization of appropriations.—Section 5231 of that Act (20 U.S.C. 7223j) is amended by striking “for fiscal year 2002” and all that follows through the period at the end and inserting “for fiscal year 2008 and such sums as may be necessary for each of the five succeeding fiscal years.”.