Assemblyman PATRICK J. DIEGNAN, JR.
District 18 (Middlesex)
Assemblyman GORDON M. JOHNSON
District 37 (Bergen)
Assemblyman LOUIS D. GREENWALD
District 6 (Burlington and Camden)
Assemblywoman VALERIE VAINIERI HUTTLE
District 37 (Bergen)
Assemblyman HERB CONAWAY, JR.
District 7 (Burlington)
Assemblywomen Watson Coleman, Jasey, Assemblymen Caputo, Giblin, Assemblywoman Wagner, Assemblyman Eustace and Assemblywoman Caride
Establishes 12-month moratorium on establishment of new virtual charter schools and creates Virtual Charter School Task Force.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning the establishment of virtual charter schools and supplementing P.L.1995, c.426 (C.18A:36A-1 et seq.).
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. a. As used in this section, “virtual charter school” means a charter school in which all or a portion of the instruction is provided through means of the Internet, and the pupils enrolled in and instructional staff employed by the school are geographically remote from each other.
b. For a period of 12 months following the effective date of P.L. , c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the Commissioner of Education shall not approve any application or final charter for the establishment of a virtual charter school submitted pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1995, c.426 (C.18A:36A-4).
2. There is established a Virtual Charter School Task Force to consist of the following 9 members: three members to be appointed by the Governor; three members to be appointed by the President of the Senate; and three members to be appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly.
3. All appointments to the task force shall be made within 30 days after the effective date of this act. Vacancies in the membership of the task force shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments were made. Members of the task force shall serve without compensation, but shall be reimbursed for necessary expenditures incurred in the performance of their duties as members of the task force.
4. The task force shall organize as soon as may be practicable after the appointment of its members, shall choose a chairperson from among its members, and shall appoint a secretary who need not be a member of the task force. The task force shall meet at the call of the chair or when requested by a majority of its members. A majority of the membership of the task force shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, including the adoption of task force recommendations.
5. The Department of Education shall provide such stenographic, clerical, and other administrative assistants, and such professional staff, as the task force requires to carry out its work. The task force shall also be entitled to call to its assistance and avail itself of the services of the employees of any State, county, or municipal department, board, bureau, commission, or agency as it may require and as may be available for its purposes.
6. It shall be the duty of the task force to study and develop recommendations on whether virtual charter schools can assist in promoting comprehensive education reform. The task force, when developing its recommendations, shall at a minimum address:
a. the statutory and regulatory authority for the operation of virtual charter schools, including providing any specific statutory or regulatory citations;
b. academic research assessing the effectiveness of virtual charter schools in kindergarten through 12th grade education;
c. how virtual charter schools satisfy the requirements for the provision of special education;
d. issues that may arise due to the enrollment of students over a large geographic region or from non-contiguous school districts;
e. part-time and full-time virtual charter schools;
f. non-profit and for-profit virtual charter schools;
g. parental involvement requirements;
h. community involvement requirements;
i. financial management and accountability systems;
j. guidelines for Internet-based technology for classes;
k. guidelines for the performance of virtual charter schools;
l. funding as a percentage of per pupil spending; and
m. curriculum standards.
7. The task force shall issue a final report to the Governor, and to the Legislature pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), containing its findings and recommendations, including any recommendations for legislation that it deems appropriate, no later than March 1, 2013.
8. This act shall take effect immediately and the task force shall expire upon the issuance of its final report.
This bill provides that for a twelve-month period following the bill’s effective date, the Commissioner of Education will not approve any application for the establishment of a virtual charter school. The bill defines a virtual charter school as one in which all or some instruction is provided through the Internet, and the students enrolled in the school and the instructional staff employed by the school are geographically remote from each other.
This bill also establishes the Virtual Charter School Task Force. The task force is to consist of 9 members, comprised of 3 members appointed by the Governor, 3 members appointed by the President of the Senate, and 3 members appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly.
The task force is to investigate and develop recommendations for the governance structure of virtual charter school education in the State. The final recommendations must address: statutory and regulatory authority for the operation of virtual charter schools; part-time and full-time virtual charter schools; non-profit and for-profit virtual charter schools; parental involvement requirements; financial management systems; guidelines for Internet-based technology for classes; guidelines for the performance of virtual charter schools; funding as a percentage of per pupil spending; and curriculum standards.
The task force is directed to issue a report to the Governor and the Legislature no later than March 1, 2013.