Report Title:

Hawaiian Charter Schools

 

Description:

Establishes a noncontiguous Hawaiian charter school district under the department of education to be governed by the board of education. (SD2)

THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

2919

TWENTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2002

S.D. 2

STATE OF HAWAII

 


 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

relating to hawaiian education.

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

SECTION 1. The legislature finds that compared to Hawaii’s other ethnic groups, native Hawaiians have the worst educational statistics. In each socio-economic setting, Hawaii's native public school students have higher rates of absences, retention at grade level, and dropouts, than their non-Hawaiian counterparts. Furthermore, from sixth grade on, Hawaiians far exceed all other major ethnic groups in retention at each grade level. This high level of grade retention among Hawaiian students accounts for the large number of students who reach age eighteen and then drop out without completing school. Standardized achievement tests also consistently show Hawaiian students scoring lower than Hawaii’s other major ethnic groups, as well as lower than the national norms.

While Hawaiians are underrepresented in gifted and talented programs and at Hawaii’s colleges and universities, Hawaiians are drastically over-represented among Hawaii’s special education population. Approximately thirty-six per cent of all public school students of Hawaiian ancestry are currently classified as special education. Over half of these special education students are classified as learning disabled or severely emotionally disturbed. Data reflects that most of the latter are students initially labeled learning disabled, who experienced such frustration with school that they ended up as severely emotionally disturbed cases, when the core problem may originally have been the inability to integrate into a system, not just different but diametrically opposed to the student’s culture, values, traditions, and practices. This educational failure of Hawaii's native population is directly related to the fact that native Hawaiians have the highest percentage of welfare recipients and unemployed or under-employed, the highest amount of incarcerated men, women, and youth, the highest drug, alcohol, and physical abuse rates, the most homeless families, and the worst health statistics in the State.

The legislature also finds that as an indigenous people, the native people of Hawaii have a right to all levels and forms of education, including access to education in their own language, and the right to establish their educational systems and institutions according to their own customs and traditions. Furthermore, according to Article 1.7.1 of the Coolangatta Statement, ratified by thousands of indigenous educators at the 1999 World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education in Hilo, "meaningful, empowering and culturally sustainable education for indigenous people will be possible only when indigenous people have the control (a fundamental right) and the resources (an inarguable responsibility of states/governments) to develop educational theories, curriculum, and practices that are indigenous and determine the environment within which this education can best occur."

The legislature further finds that according to article X, section 4 of the state constitution, the State is required to promote the study of Hawaiian culture, history, and language and provide for a Hawaiian education program consisting of 1anguage, culture, and history in the public schools, and that the use of community expertise is to be encouraged as a suitable and essential means in furtherance of the Hawaiian education program. Data indicates minimal compliance in some instances and outright violation in others by the department of education regarding the provisions mandated in article X.

The legislature also finds that there is overwhelming evidence that the Hawaiian knowledge structure differs significantly from the western system of education and that the lower educational achievement of native Hawaiians from kindergarten to the university level is a direct reflection of their cultural and educational incompatibility with the current educational system. Data also shows that when Hawaiian language, culture, and values are incorporated into the pedagogical process at all levels, education suddenly has relevance and meaning for Hawaiian children. As a result, Hawaiian students are able to 1earn, grow, and excel, both in academic settings, and in life thereafter.

Since the passage of Act 62, Session Laws of Hawaii 1999, which allowed for start-up charter schools, a dozen Hawaiian communities stretching from Kauai to Hawaii came together to utilize Hawaii’s charter school law to create successful models of Hawaiian education, which demonstrate that Hawaiian communities are able to design and control quality models of education. This Native Hawaiian Charter School Alliance, called Na Lei Na’auao, has already procured millions of federal education dollars to collaborate on gifted and talented programs, curriculum development, a teacher certification cohort, and a comprehensive action research project. Data relating to these Hawaiian designed and controlled public schools confirms that culturally driven education significantly improves the educational achievement of Hawaiians. During the 2000-2001 school year, Kanu o ka Aina New Century Public Charter School had the highest attendance in the State, with a student population that is over eighty-five per cent Hawaiian. Other data such as increases in grade-point averages, parent and student satisfaction, success in college, and mainstreaming of special education students further support the notion that native Hawaiian students prefer a culturally driven approach to education. The vast majority of Na Lei Na’auao schools are located in rural communities with high concentrations of native Hawaiians, all of which also have high percentages of welfare recipients, adult prisoners, and incarcerated juveniles. Although resources are especially limited in these areas, Hawaiian educators and parents have taken on the tremendous challenge of starting these culturally driven charter schools because of the direct and profound needs of Hawaiian public school students in these areas.

Finally, the legislature acknowledges that Hawaii’s public school system is too large and that decentralization has been recommended by various studies for over a decade. In an effort to initiate more community-based models of education, Act 62, Session Laws of Hawaii 1999, allowed for the establishment of twenty-five charter schools. The purpose of these schools is to provide alternative frameworks with regard to curriculum, facilities management, instructional approach, length of the school day, week, or year, and personnel management, in order to meet the needs of our diverse student population. While the existing law resulted in the chartering of a total of twenty-five charter schools, revisions to the law are necessary in order to further its intended success. Specifically, the current charter school law needs clarification pertaining to funding allocations and procurement, and defining the relationship between charters, the State, the board of education, and the department of education.

The legislature also finds that the federal government strongly supports charter schools. However, due to the restriction in the existing charter school law which caps the number charter schools at twenty-five, a capacity which has already been reached, and the existence of only one chartering agency, the State of Hawaii is consequently ineligible for millions of dollars of federal charter school funding.

The purpose of this Act is to create a noncontiguous Hawaiian charter school district that focuses on the establishment of twenty-five culturally-driven, family-oriented, and community-based public schools in all areas with high concentrations of native Hawaiians. This Act will potentially double Hawaii’s existing charter school allocations, therewith assuring additional federal funding. At the same time, it will provide communities that have already submitted letters of intent to the board of education, the opportunity to begin the process of becoming charter schools.

SECTION 2. Chapter 302A, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new subpart to part IV to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"   . Hawaiian Charter Schools

§302A-A Hawaiian charter school district; established. (a) There is established a noncontiguous Hawaiian charter school district that may consist of existing Hawaiian charter schools established pursuant to subpart D, as well as other Hawaiian conversion or start-up charter schools, or both, within all counties of the State.

(b) The Hawaiian charter school district’s powers and duties shall include:

(1) Facilitating the operations of Hawaiian charter schools by providing management, fiscal, planning, logistical, and other related support services as requested and contracted for by the schools;

(2) Providing direct support services to the schools in areas such as: school improvement efforts; coordination of services between schools, state offices, and other educational partners; administration and supervision; community relations; and a range of operational support services; and

(3) Creating budgets for the salaries of the district administrative and support staff, and operating funds for office supplies, mileage allowances, and other current expenses.

(c) The superintendent, with the approval of the board, shall employ a district superintendent who shall hire and supervise administrative staff as necessary to manage personnel, budget, fiscal, and curricular accountability matters, comply with special education mandates, non-discriminatory employment practices as defined by section 378-2, health and safety requirements, and execute contractual services for Hawaiian charter schools.

§302A-B Hawaiian charter schools; establishment. (a) Up to a total of twenty-five schools may be established as Hawaiian charter schools. Hawaiian charter schools may be established by:

(1) The creation of a new school pursuant to subsection (d);

(2) An existing public school pursuant to subsection (c); or

(3) The creation of a new school, comprising programs or sections of existing public school populations and using existing public school facilities pursuant to subsection (d).

(b) As a prerequisite to the establishment of or conversion to a Hawaiian charter school under subsection (a), applicants for Hawaiian charter school status shall assert in writing, in addition to any other requirements of this section, that:

(1) The majority of the student population are residents of Hawaii;

(2) The majority of the local school board of the school are residents of Hawaii; and

(3) The curriculum is based on Hawaiian or other culturally-driven approaches to education.

(c) Any public school or schools may submit a letter of intent to the board to form a Hawaiian charter school, establish a local school board as its governing body, and develop a detailed implementation plan pursuant to subsection (e); provided that:

(1) The local school board as its governing body shall be composed of, at a minimum, one representative from each of the following participant groups:

(A) Principals;

(B) Instructional staff members selected by the school instructional staff;

(C) Support staff selected by the support staff of the school;

(D) Parents of students attending the school selected by the parents of the school;

(E) Student body representatives selected by the students of the school; and

(F) The community at-large; and

(2) The detailed implementation plan shall be approved by sixty per cent of the school's existing administrative, support, and teaching personnel, and parents; provided that the school personnel may request their bargaining unit representative to certify and conduct the elections for their respective bargaining units.

(d) As an alternative to subsection (c), any community, group of teachers, group of teachers and administrators, entity recognized as a nonprofit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or any program within an existing school may submit a letter of intent to the board to form a Hawaiian charter school, establish a local school board as its governing body, and develop a detailed implementation plan pursuant to subsection (e).

(e) The local school board, with the support and guidance of the superintendent, shall formulate and develop a detailed implementa1tion plan that meets the requirements of this subsection and of section 302A-D. The plan shall include the following:

(1) A description of employee rights and management issues and a framework for addressing those issues that protect the rights of employees;

(2) A plan for identifying, recruiting, and selecting students that is not exclusive, elitist, or segregationist;

(3) The curriculum and instructional framework to be used to achieve student outcomes, including an assessment plan;

(4) A comprehensive plan for the assessment of student, administrative support, and teaching personnel performance, that:

(A) Recognizes the interests of the general public;

(B) Incorporates or exceeds state educational content and performance standards;

(C) Includes a system of faculty and staff accountability that holds faculty and staff both individually and collectively accountable for their performance, and that is at least equivalent to the average system of accountability in public schools throughout the State; and

(D) Provides for program audits and annual financial audits.

(5) The governance structure of the school;

(6) A plan for any necessary design, construction, renovation, and management of facilities that is consistent with the state facilities plan; provided that if the facilities management plan includes use of existing school facilities, the Hawaiian charter school shall receive authorization from the administrator responsible for the facilities; provided further that the final determination of use shall fall within the board's discretion.

(f) The detailed implementation plan shall be submitted to the Hawaiian charter school review panel, which shall be composed of nine members as follows:

(1) Four of the members shall be board members or their designees appointed by the chairperson of the board;

(2) Four of the members shall be members of the Hawaiian charter school community approved by the chairperson of the board of education from a list submitted by existing Hawaiian charter schools; and

(3) One member shall be the superintendent of education or the superintendent's designee.

Panel review procedures shall be as provided in this section. The board may adopt rules pursuant to chapter 91 to further guide the panel's review process.

(g) The Hawaiian charter school review panel shall have sixty working days to review the completed implementation plan for a proposed Hawaiian charter school to ensure that it meets the requirements of subsection (e) and section 302A-D. Within forty-five working days, the panel shall issue a report of its preliminary findings to the board of education and the local school board. If the panel subsequently determines that the implementation plan:

(1) Meets the requirements of subsection (e) and section 302A-D, the panel shall by the sixtieth working day submit a recommendation to the board to issue a charter to the proposed Hawaiian charter school. Upon receipt of the panel's recommendation, the board shall issue a charter, and the implementation plan shall be converted to a written performance contract between the school and the board; or

(2) Fails to meet the requirements of subsection (e) or section 302A-D, the panel:

(A) Shall notify the local school board of the finding in writing to enable the local school board to appropriately amend the plan to resolve the conflict; and

(B) May submit a recommendation to the board to issue a provisional approval for a charter if the panel determines that the applicant may reasonably be expected to expeditiously resolve any remaining conflict or conflicts impeding the issuance of a charter. The provisional approval shall be effective for one year. The board may extend the provisional approval beyond a period of one year. If a charter is subsequently issued, the amended implementation plan shall be converted to a written performance contract between the school and the board.

(h) An amended implementation plan shall be submitted within thirty working days of notification pursuant to subsection (g)(2)(A). The board shall deny the issuance of a charter if the local school board does not submit an amended implementation plan within the thirty working day period. The panel shall have thirty working days to review the amended implementation plan. If the amended implementation plan:

(1) Meets the requirements of subsection (e) and section 302A-D, the panel shall by the thirtieth working day submit a recommendation to the board to issue a charter to the proposed Hawaiian charter school. If a charter is issued, the amended implementation plan shall be converted to a written performance contract between the school and the board; or

(2) Fails to resolve any conflicts to the panel's satisfaction or involves new and different issues of conflict with subsection (e) or section 302A-D, the panel shall deny issuance of a charter.

(i) A local school board may file an appeal of the denial of an application for a charter with the panel. Upon filing an appeal, the panel shall forward the implementation plan and appropriate documentation of the appeal to the board. Within thirty working days, the board shall issue a report of its findings and final determination to the local school board. If the implementation plan is approved, the board shall issue a charter and the implementation plan shall be converted to a written performance contract between the school and the board.

(j) Hawaiian charter schools shall not charge tuition. The State shall afford the local school board of any Hawaiian charter school the same protections as the State affords to the board of education.

§302A-C Funding for the Hawaiian charter school district schools. (a) Funding for Hawaiian charter schools shall be determined pursuant to section 302A-1185(a) and (b).

(b) If, at any time, the Hawaiian charter school dissolves or is denied continuation, the State of Hawaii shall have first right, at no cost to the State, to all the assets and facilities of the Hawaiian charter school.

§302A-D Hawaiian district charter schools; exemptions. Schools designated as Hawaiian charter schools shall be exempt from all applicable state laws, except those regarding:

(1) Collective bargaining under chapter 89; provided that:

(A) The exclusive representatives defined in chapter 89 may enter into agreements that contain cost and noncost items to facilitate decentralized decisionmaking;

(B) The exclusive representatives and the local school board of the Hawaiian charter school may enter into agreements that contain cost and noncost items;

(C) The agreements shall be funded from the current allocation or other sources of revenue received by the Hawaiian charter school; and

(D) These agreements may differ from the master contracts;

(2) Discriminatory practices under section 378-2; and

(3) Health and safety requirements.

§302A-E Hawaiian charter schools; accountability. (a) Each Hawaiian charter school shall conduct self-evaluations annually. The self-evaluation process shall include:

(1) The identification and adoption of benchmarks to measure and evaluate administrative and instructional programs as provided in this section;

(2) The identification of any administrative and legal barriers to meeting the benchmarks, as adopted, and recommendations for improvements and modifications to address the barriers;

(3) The impact of any changes made upon the students of the Hawaiian charter school; and

(4) A profile of the charter school's enrollment and community it serves.

Each Hawaiian charter school shall submit a report of its self-evaluation to the board within sixty working days after the completion of the school year; provided that the department shall have thirty working days to respond to any recommendation regarding improvements and modifications that would directly impact the department.

(b) The board shall initiate an independent evaluation of each Hawaiian charter school annually for the first two years after its establishment and every four years thereafter to assure compliance with statewide student content and performance standards and fiscal accountability; provided that each Hawaiian charter school established prior to July 1, 2002, shall be evaluated four years after July 1, 2002, and every four years thereafter. Upon a determination by the board that student achievement within a Hawaiian charter school does not meet the student performance standards, or that the Hawaiian charter school is not fiscally responsible, a Hawaiian charter school shall be placed on probationary status and shall have one year to bring student performance into compliance with statewide standards and improve the school's fiscal accountability. If a Hawaiian charter school fails to meet its probationary requirements, or fails to comply with any of the requirements of this section, the board, upon a two-thirds majority vote, may then deny the continuation of the Hawaiian charter school.

(c) The board may adopt guidelines to supplement accountability measures incorporated in the written performance contracts required under section 302A-B. The board may adopt guidelines under which Hawaiian charter schools shall be reviewed on an annual basis by the board for the first two years upon their formation under section 302A-B. The review guidelines may include:

(1) Minimum school size;

(2) Assurance that each school will be able to account for the funds allocated;

(3) Assurance that each school will be held accountable for student performance;

(4) Assurance that each school will meet legal standards for the expenditure of state and federal funds; and

(5) Assurance that each school will be in compliance with applicable state and federal laws.

§302A-F Hawaiian charter schools; administrative supervision. Whenever any Hawaiian charter school is established under section 302A-B, the following provisions shall apply except as otherwise specifically provided by this chapter:

(1) Following consultation with the Hawaiian charter school, the board shall represent the Hawaiian charter school in communications with the governor and with the legislature;

(2) The financial requirements for state funds of the Hawaiian charter school shall be submitted through the board and included in a budget request separate from the department;

(3) The approval of all policies and rules adopted by the Hawaiian charter school shall be preceded by an open public meeting and shall not be subject to chapter 91;

(4) The employment, appointment, promotion, transfer, demotion, discharge, and job descriptions of all officers and employees of or under the jurisdiction of the Hawaiian charter school shall be determined by the Hawaiian charter school and applicable personnel laws and collective bargaining agreements;

(5) Except as set forth in this section, the board or the superintendent of education shall not have the power to supervise or control the Hawaiian charter school in the exercise of its functions, duties, and powers; and

(6) Local school boards may enter into an annual business contract for centralized services to be provided by the department prior to the beginning of each school year.

§302A-G Hawaiian charter schools; mandate to support. The department, together with key representatives of the major divisions in the department, representatives from the unions, as well as individuals from the Hawaiian charter schools shall collaborate together on a system of technical assistance that will provide a baseline for success of each Hawaiian charter school. In addition, the department, through the board and its superintendent, shall provide any other information and technical assistance upon request necessary to support the establishment and expansion of Hawaiian charter schools.

302A-H Applicability of other laws to Hawaiian charter schools. Sections 26-35.5, 302A-1302, and 302A-1505, shall apply to Hawaiian charter schools and the local school boards of Hawaiian charter schools to the same extent that they apply to new century charter schools and the local school boards of new century charter schools."

SECTION 3. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $ , or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2002-2003, for the purpose of funding the establishment of a noncontiguous Hawaiian school district and the hiring of necessary staff.

SECTION 4. The sum appropriated shall be expended by the department of education for the purposes of this Act.

SECTION 5. In codifying the new sections added by section 2 of this Act, the revisor of statutes shall substitute appropriate section numbers for the letters used in designating the new sections in this Act.

SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect upon its approval; provided that sections 3 and 4 shall take effect on July 1, 2020.