Section 3314.029 | Ohio school sponsorship program.
This section establishes the Ohio school sponsorship program. The department of education shall establish an office of Ohio school sponsorship to perform the department's duties prescribed by this section.
(A)(1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this chapter, any person, group of individuals, or entity may apply to the department for direct authorization to establish a community school and, upon approval of the application, may establish the school. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this chapter, the governing authority of an existing community school, upon the expiration or termination of its contract with the school's sponsor entered into under section 3314.03 of the Revised Code, may apply to the department for direct authorization to continue operating the school and, upon approval of the application, may continue to operate the school. The department may establish a format and deadlines for an application.
Each application submitted to the department shall include the following:
(a) Evidence that the applicant will be able to comply with division (C) of this section;
(b) A statement indicating that the applicant agrees to comply with all applicable provisions of this chapter, including the requirement to be established as a nonprofit corporation or public benefit corporation in accordance with division (A)(1) of section 3314.03 of the Revised Code;
(c) A statement attesting that no unresolved finding of recovery has been issued by the auditor of state against any person, group of individuals, or entity that is a party to the application and that no person who is party to the application has been a member of the governing authority of any community school that has permanently closed and against which an unresolved finding of recovery has been issued by the auditor of state. In the case of an application submitted by the governing authority of an existing community school, a person who is party to the application shall include each individual member of that governing authority.
(d) A statement that the school will be nonsectarian in its programs, admission policies, employment practices, and all other operations, and will not be operated by a sectarian school or religious institution;
(e) A statement of whether the school is to be created by converting all or part of an existing public school or educational service center building or is to be a new start-up school. If it is a converted public school or service center building, the statement shall include a specification of any duties or responsibilities of an employer that the board of education or service center governing board that operated the school or building before conversion is delegating to the governing authority of the community school with respect to all or any specified group of employees, provided the delegation is not prohibited by a collective bargaining agreement applicable to such employees.
(f) A statement that the school's teachers will be licensed in the manner prescribed by division (A)(10) of section 3314.03 of the Revised Code;
(g) A statement that the school will comply with all of the provisions of law enumerated in divisions (A)(11)(d) and (e) of section 3314.03 of the Revised Code and of division (A)(11)(h) of that section, if applicable;
(h) A statement that the school's graduation and curriculum requirements will comply with division (A)(11)(f) of section 3314.03 of the Revised Code;
(i) A description of each of the following:
(i) The school's mission and educational program, the characteristics of the students the school is expected to attract, the ages and grade levels of students, and the focus of the curriculum;
(ii) The school's governing authority, which shall be in compliance with division (E) of section 3314.02 of the Revised Code;
(iii) The school's admission and dismissal policies, which shall be in compliance with divisions (A)(5) and (6) of section 3314.03 of the Revised Code;
(iv) The school's business plan, including a five-year financial forecast;
(v) In the case of an application to establish a community school, the applicant's resources and capacity to establish and operate the school;
(vi) The school's academic goals to be achieved and the method of measurement that will be used to determine progress toward those goals, which shall include the statewide achievement assessments;
(vii) The facilities to be used by the school and their locations;
(viii) A description of the learning opportunities that will be offered to students including both classroom-based and nonclassroom-based learning opportunities that are in compliance with criteria for student participation established by the department under division (H)(2) of section 3314.08 of the Revised Code.
(2) Subject to division (A)(3) of this section, the department may approve or deny an application, taking into consideration the standards for quality authorizing, capacity requirements, financial constraints, or any other criteria it determines necessary and appropriate. The department shall adopt the criteria not later than sixty days after the effective date of this amendment. The department shall assign each applicant school a rating established for a new start-up community school or an existing community school, as applicable.
The department of education shall annually publish on its web site the criteria it uses to approve or deny an application submitted pursuant to this section.
(3) For each of five school years, beginning with the school year that begins in the calendar year in which this section takes effect, the department may approve up to twenty applications for community schools to be established or to continue operation under division (A) of this section; however, of the twenty applications that may be approved each school year, only up to five may be for the establishment of new schools.
(4) Notwithstanding division (A)(2) of this section, the department may deny an application submitted by the governing authority of an existing community school, if a previous sponsor of that school did not renew its contract or terminated its contract with the school entered into under section 3314.03 of the Revised Code.
(5) In the case of a proposed new community school to be located in an alliance municipal school district, the department shall not approve the application of that community school unless both of the following apply:
(a) The department approves the application using the requirements of divisions (A)(1)(a) to (h) of this section and the criteria developed under division (A)(2) of this section.
(b) The department has determined that the applicant has requested and received a recommendation from the alliance in the manner prescribed by divisions (E)(1) and (2) of section 3311.86 of the Revised Code.
As used in this section, "alliance municipal school district" and "alliance" have the same meanings as in section 3311.86 of the Revised Code.
(B) The department and the governing authority of each community school authorized under this section shall enter into a contract under section 3314.03 of the Revised Code. Notwithstanding division (A)(13) of that section, the contract with an existing community school may begin at any time during the academic year. The length of the initial contract of any community school under this section may be for any term up to five years. The contract may be renewed in accordance with division (E) of that section. The contract may provide for the school's governing authority to pay a fee for oversight and monitoring of the school that does not exceed three per cent of the total amount of payments for operating expenses that the school receives from the state.
(C) The department may require a community school authorized under this section to post and file with the superintendent of public instruction a bond payable to the state or to file with the state superintendent a guarantee, which shall be used to pay the state any moneys owed by the community school in the event the school closes.
(D) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a community school authorized under this section shall comply with all applicable provisions of this chapter. The department may take any action that a sponsor may take under this chapter to enforce the school's compliance with this division and the terms of the contract entered into under division (B) of this section.
(E) Not later than December 31, 2012, and annually thereafter, the department shall issue a report on the program, including information about the number of community schools participating in the program and their compliance with the provisions of this chapter. In its fifth report, the department shall include a complete evaluation of the program and recommendations regarding the program's continuation. Each report shall be provided to the general assembly, in accordance with section 101.68 of the Revised Code, and to the governor.