Under current law, the division of online learning (division) within the department of education (department) must certify a multi-district online school before the school can operate. The bill continues the certification of multi-district online schools until January 1, 2018. On and after that date, the division will no longer certify the school but will certify a school district, a group of school districts, a board of cooperative services, or the state charter school institute (authorizer) that chooses to authorize a multi-district online school.
The bill establishes the areas in which an authorizer must meet specified requirements to be certified. An authorizer must renew the certification every 5 years. If an authorizer is already operating or overseeing a multi-district online school as of January 1, 2018, the authorizer can continue operating or overseeing the school but must obtain a certification by January 1, 2023.
The state board of education (state board) must adopt rules concerning the procedures and timelines by which to apply for certification and any additional areas for which an authorizer must meet requirements. The procedures must include an appellate procedure if the division denies an authorizer's application for certification or revokes or does not renew an authorizer's certification. If an authorizer loses its certification, it may continue operating or overseeing the multi-district online school for the remainder of the school year in which it loses the certification and for the next school year. The division must facilitate the multi-district online school's transition to a new authorizer.
Under current law, the department must develop parameters and guidelines for pilot projects in online schools to address measures of student achievement, student count processes and competency-based funding models, tiered interventions, and requirements and responsibilities for student success. The bill adds projects to address the needs of specific student groups in online schools. The general assembly is directed to appropriate money for the pilot projects, in addition to any gifts, grants, or donations the department may receive.
Under current law, a multi-district online school that operates a learning center in a school district that is not the school's authorizing school district must enter into a memorandum of understanding with the school district to operate the learning center. The bill requires a multi-district online school to also enter into a memorandum of understanding with a school district that is not the school's authorizer if the school seeks to operate a drop-in center within the school district.
The bill requires the division to:
- Study the issue of student mobility into and out of online schools and report to the state board and the general assembly; and
- Collect data concerning the operations of authorizers and multi-district online schools, identify and disseminate information concerning best practices, and make the data available for research in the field of online education.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)