28A.710.020  <<  28A.710.030 >>   28A.710.040

Charter school boardsPowers.

(1) To fulfill its duty to manage and operate the charter school, and to execute the terms of its charter contract, a charter school board may:
(a) Hire, manage, and discharge charter school employees in accordance with the terms of this chapter and the school's charter contract;
(b) Receive and disburse funds for the purposes of the charter school;
(c) Enter into contracts with any school district, educational service district, or other public or private entity for the provision of real property, equipment, goods, supplies, and services, including educational instructional services, pupil transportation services, and for the management and operation of the charter school, provided the charter school board maintains oversight authority over the charter school. Contracts for management operation of the charter school may only be with nonprofit organizations;
(d) Rent, lease, purchase, or own real property. All charter contracts and contracts with other entities must include provisions regarding the disposition of the property if the charter school fails to open as planned or closes, or if the charter contract is revoked or not renewed;
(e) Issue secured and unsecured debt, including pledging, assigning, or encumbering its assets to be used as collateral for loans or extensions of credit to manage cash flow, improve operations, or finance the acquisition of real property or equipment. However, the charter public school may not pledge, assign, or encumber any public funds received or to be received pursuant to RCW 28A.710.220. Debt issued under this subsection (1)(e) is not a general, special, or moral obligation of the state, the charter school authorizer, the school district in which the charter school is located, or any other political subdivision or agency of the state. Neither the full faith and credit nor the taxing power of the state, or any political subdivision or agency of the state, may be pledged for the payment of the debt;
(f) Solicit, accept, and administer for the benefit of the charter school and its students, gifts, grants, and donations from individuals, or public or private entities, excluding sectarian or religious organizations. A charter school board may not accept any gifts or donations that violate this chapter or other state laws; and
(g) Issue diplomas to students who meet state high school graduation requirements established under RCW 28A.230.090. A charter school board may establish additional graduation requirements.
(2) A charter school board must obtain an accountability audit of the school to be conducted: (a) The second year immediately following the school's first full school year of operation; and (b) at least every three years thereafter. An audit in compliance with this section does not inhibit the state auditor's office from conducting a performance audit of the school.
(3) A charter school board may not levy taxes or issue tax-backed bonds.
(4) A charter school board may not acquire property by eminent domain.
(5) A charter school board, through website postings and written notice with receipt acknowledged by signature of the recipient, must advise families of new, ongoing, and prospective students of any ongoing litigation challenging the constitutionality of charter schools or that may require charter schools to cease operations.
(6) Each charter school board shall ensure that its members and administrative staff receive annual training to support the effective operation and oversight of the charter school, including compliance with requirements governing the employment of properly credentialed instructional staff, compliance with the requirements of chapters 42.30 and 42.56 RCW, and the permitted uses of public funds.
[ 2023 c 356 § 2; 2016 c 241 § 103. Prior: 2013 c 2 § 203 (Initiative Measure No. 1240, approved November 6, 2012).]


FindingsIntent2023 c 356: "(1) The legislature finds that requirements governing the establishment and operations of public charter schools have proven insufficient. These schools have experienced a steady growth in student enrollment and often provide valuable educational opportunities for families in communities across Washington state.
(2) However, several of these schools have closed in the decade since Washington voters authorized the establishment of charter schools. As a result, students, parents, and staff in several Puget Sound locations and in Walla Walla were left to make alternative arrangements for school and work, unexpectedly and without adequate notice, when their school closed. Furthermore, in one western Washington school, the disappointment proved especially difficult as the charter school opened and permanently ceased operations within the span of a few months. Under no circumstances is a disruption of this nature acceptable to the many students, families, and staff that were profoundly impacted by the closure.
(3) The legislature also finds that the establishment and operational challenges of some public charter schools are not limited to school closures: Some public charter schools have failed to properly and timely comply with teacher certification requirements, but an additional reporting requirement for charter schools can reinforce existing requirements and help to avoid any future problems; some public charter school boards have demonstrated ineffective leadership and oversight, leading to charter school closures; and the charter school commission has authorized charter schools that were not able to deliver sustained education services in the manner set forth in their charter school application or charter contract, as evidenced by multiple closures and the disruptions they created for students, families, and staff.
(4) The legislature authorized the establishment of charter schools in 2016 after the supreme court invalidated charter school laws adopted through a voter initiative. As a result, the legislature has an obligation to ensure that the responsibilities for the oversight of charter public schools are clearly delineated and adequate to ensure the highest standards of practices and public accountability. The legislature is committed to ensuring all authorized public charter schools in Washington are successful in their mission to serve Washington students. The legislature, therefore, intends to clarify responsibilities and increase the accountability measures governing the effective delivery and oversight of public education services to public charter school students." [ 2023 c 356 § 1.]
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