STAND. COM. REP. NO. 298

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

, 2019

 

RE: H.B. No. 622

H.D. 1

 

 

 

 

Honorable Scott K. Saiki

Speaker, House of Representatives

Thirtieth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2019

State of Hawaii

 

Sir:

 

Your Committee on Lower & Higher Education, to which was referred H.B. No. 622 entitled:

 

"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOLS,"

 

begs leave to report as follows:

 

The purpose of this measure is to strengthen financial accountability at charter schools by requiring:

 

(1) Any employee of a charter school who receives written notification from a federal agency, regarding the existence of a criminal investigation of or criminal charges against any employee of the charter school for actions taken in the course of employment at the charter school, to inform the charter school's authorizer within five days of notification or be subject to criminal liability;

 

(2) A charter school authorizer to cease payment of any purchase orders submitted by the charter school upon notification of any criminal investigation or criminal charges identified in paragraph (1);

 

(3) The charter school authorizer, upon notification that the criminal investigation has closed with no charges filed or a finding of not guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction, to disburse funds for any validly submitted purchase order;

 

(4) All funds appropriated to charter schools by the Legislature to remain in the state treasury until requested for disbursement or, if a charter school closes, to be expended after approval of the charter school's authorizer or order of the court;

 

(5) Each charter school authorizer to develop and maintain a purchase order system that its charter schools must use to pay for expenses; and

 

(6) Each charter school's authorizer to be responsible for selection of independent auditors to annually complete an independent financial audit that complies with the requirements of its authorizer and the Department of Education.

 

Voyager Public Charter School supported this measure. Hookākoo Corporation; Kamaile Academy Public Charter School; Kualapuu Public Conversion Charter School; Halau Ku Mana Public Charter School; Ka Huli O Haloa; Connections Public Charter School; South Maui Learning Ohana, Inc.; Ke Kula o Samuel M. Kamakau Laboratory Public Charter School; Hawaii Academy of Arts & Science Public Charter School; Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School; Kua O Ka Lā New Century Public Charter School; Kapolei Charter School; Ke Ana Laahana Public Charter School; Volcano School of Arts & Sciences; Kula Aupuni Niihau A Kahelelani Aloha Public Charter School; and several concerned individuals opposed the measure. The State Public Charter School Commission submitted comments.

 

Your Committee has amended this measure by:

 

(1) Removing the provision requiring the charter school authorizer to cease payment of any purchase orders submitted by the charter school upon notification of a federal criminal investigation or criminal charges against an employee of the charter school for actions taken in the course of employment at the school;

 

(2) Changing its effective date to July 1, 2050, to encourage further discussion; and

 

(3) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for clarity, consistency, and style.

 

This measure provides the State Public Charter School Commission and Legislature more oversight authority over charter schools. Furthermore, it enables the Commission and Legislature to review a charter school's financial documents, especially in cases in which a school is under financial investigation and at risk of closing.

 

As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Lower & Higher Education that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 622, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 622, H.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Finance.

 

 

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Lower & Higher Education,

 

 

 

 

____________________________

JUSTIN H. WOODSON, Chair