Code of the District of Columbia

§ 38–1802.04. Duties, powers, and other requirements, of public charter schools.

(a) Duties. — A public charter school shall comply with all of the terms and provisions of its charter.

(b) Powers. — A public charter school shall have the following powers:

(1) To adopt a name and corporate seal, but only if the name selected includes the words “public charter school”;

(2) To acquire real property for use as the public charter school’s facilities, from public or private sources;

(3) To receive and disburse funds for public charter school purposes;

(4) Subject to subsection (c)(1) of this section, to secure appropriate insurance and to make contracts and leases, including agreements to procure or purchase services, equipment, and supplies;

(5) To incur debt in reasonable anticipation of the receipt of funds from the general fund of the District of Columbia or the receipt of Federal or private funds;

(6) To solicit and accept any grants or gifts for public charter school purposes, if the public charter school:

(A) Does not accept any grants or gifts subject to any condition contrary to law or contrary to its charter; and

(B) Maintains for financial reporting purposes separate accounts for grants or gifts;

(7) To be responsible for the public charter school’s operation, including preparation of a budget and personnel matters; and

(8) To sue and be sued in the public charter school’s own name.

(b-1) Limitation on powers. — Each power conferred upon a public charter school under subsection (b) of this section can only be used for the sole purpose of operating the public charter school.

(c) Prohibitions and other requirements. —

(1) Contracting authority. —

(A) Notice requirement for procurement contracts. —

(i) In general. — Except in the case of an emergency (as determined by the eligible chartering authority of a public charter school), with respect to any procurement contract proposed to be awarded by the public charter school and having a value equal to or exceeding $25,000, the school shall publish a notice of a request for proposals in the District of Columbia Register and newspapers of general circulation not less than 7 days prior to the award of the contract.

(ii) Exception for certain contracts. — The notice requirement of sub-subparagraph (i) of this subparagraph shall not apply with respect to any contract for the lease or purchase of real property by a public charter school, any employment contract for a staff member of a public charter school, or any management contract entered into by a public charter school and the management company designated in its charter or its petition for a revised charter.

(B) Submission to the eligible chartering authority. —

(i) Deadline for submission. — With respect to any contract described in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph that is awarded by a public charter school, the school shall submit to the eligible chartering authority, not later than 3 days after the date on which the award is made, all bids for the contract received by the school, the name of the contractor who is awarded the contract, and the rationale for the award of the contract.

(ii) Effective date of contract. — A contract described in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph shall become effective on the date that is 10 days after the date the school makes the submission under sub-subparagraph (i) of this subparagraph with respect to the contract, or the effective date specified in the contract, whichever is later.

(1A) Conflicting interest transactions for public charter schools.—

(A) In general.— As of October 8, 2016, and notwithstanding any other provision of law, a contract or transaction between a public charter school and any of the following shall constitute a conflict of interest:

(i) An individual who is a founder of the public charter school, or who is a current or former trustee, director, member, member of a designated body, officer, or key leader of the public charter school;

(ii) A family member of any of the individuals identified in sub-subparagraph (i) of this subparagraph;

(iii) An entity identified as submitting a petition to establish the public charter school pursuant to § 38-1802.02(13);

(iv) An entity in which an individual identified in sub-subparagraph (i) of this subparagraph serves as a member of the board of directors or has a financial interest; or

(v) An entity in which a family member of an individual identified in sub-subparagraph (i) of this subparagraph serves as a member of the board of directors or has a financial interest.

(B) Voidability.— A contract or transaction described in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph shall be void or voidable unless the following conditions are satisfied:

(i) The material facts as to the conflicting relationship or interest and as to the contract or transaction are known or disclosed to the Board of Trustees before the meeting at which the contract or transaction is authorized;

(ii) The Board of Trustees authorizes the contract or transaction in good faith by an affirmative vote of a majority of disinterested trustees; and

(iii) The contract or transaction is fair to the public charter school as of the time it is authorized.

(C) Quorum at meetings to authorize conflicting interest transactions.— Common or interested trustees may be counted in determining the presence of a quorum at a meeting of the trustees at which a contract or transaction described in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph is authorized.

(D) Record of vote on conflicting interest transactions.— The minutes of the meeting at which a conflicting interest contract or transaction is authorized shall reflect:

(i) The material facts as to the conflicting relationship or interest and as to the contract or transaction; and

(ii) The identity and vote of each disinterested trustee who voted.

(E) Reporting of conflicting interest transactions.— The Board of Trustees shall report any conflicting interest contract or transaction it authorizes to the Public Charter School Board within 3 days of authorization.

(F) Fiscal mismanagement. — An eligible chartering authority may consider a public charter school's failure to comply with this paragraph to be fiscal mismanagement.

(G) Definitions.— For the purposes of this paragraph, the term:

(i) "Family member" means an individual who is legally or biologically related to another individual, or an individual who is legally or biologically related to the spouse or domestic partner of another individual.

(ii) "Founder" means an individual identified in a petition to establish a public charter school pursuant to § 38-1802.02(13).

(iii) "Key leader" means an individual holding any administrative, financial, operations, legal, or executive position at a public charter school as identified in the public charter school's charter agreement.

(iv) "Designated body", "Director", "Member", and "Officer" shall have the same meanings as provided in § 29-401.02(8), (9), (24), and (29), respectively.

(2) Tuition, fees, and payments. —

(A) Prohibition. — A public charter school may not, with respect to any student other than a nonresident student, charge tuition, impose fees, or otherwise require payment for participation in any program, educational offering, or activity that:

(i) Enrolls students in any grade from kindergarten through grade 12; or

(ii) Is funded in whole or part through an annual local appropriation.

(B) Exception. — A public charter school may impose fees or otherwise require payment, at rates established by the Board of Trustees of the school, for any program, educational offering, or activity not described in subsubparagraph (i) or (ii) of subparagraph (A), including adult education programs, or for field trips or similar activities.

(3) Control. — A public charter school:

(A) Shall exercise exclusive control over its expenditures, administration, personnel, and instructional methods, within the limitations imposed in this subchapter; and

(B) Shall be exempt from District of Columbia statutes, policies, rules, and regulations established for the District of Columbia public schools by the Superintendent, Board of Education, Mayor, District of Columbia Council, or Authority, except as otherwise provided in the school’s charter or this subchapter.

(4) Health and safety. —

(A) A public charter school shall maintain the health and safety of all students attending such school.

(B) A public charter school shall submit, before September 16 of each year, a report to the chartering authority and, in a control year to the Authority a report that documents that the charter school’s facilities comply with the applicable health and safety laws and regulations of the federal government and the District of Columbia, including the District of Columbia Fire Prevention Code and § 38-825.01a. The report shall be open to public inspection and available upon request. A public charter school shall, within 10 business days of submitting the report, publish the report on the public charter school's website or on the website of the public charter school's local education agency, and transmit the report to DGS for publication on DGS's website.

(5) Civil rights and idea. — The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (42 U.S.C. 6101 et seq.), title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.), title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.), § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794), part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1411 et seq.), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.), shall apply to a public charter school.

(6) Governance. — A public charter school shall be governed by a Board of Trustees in a manner consistent with the charter granted to the school and the provisions of this subchapter.

(7) Other staff. — No employee of the District of Columbia public schools may be required to accept employment with, or be assigned to, a public charter school.

(8) Other students. — No student enrolled in a District of Columbia public school, may be required to attend a public charter school; provided, that this paragraph shall not apply to students with special needs.

(9) Taxes or bonds. — A public charter school shall not levy taxes or issue bonds.

(10) Charter revision. — A public charter school seeking to revise its charter shall prepare a petition for approval of the revision and file the petition with the eligible chartering authority that granted the charter. The provisions of § 38-1802.03 shall apply to such a petition in the same manner as such provisions apply to a petition to establish a public charter school.

(11) Annual report. —

(A) In general. — A public charter school shall submit an annual report to the eligible chartering authority that approved its charter. The school shall permit a member of the public to review any such report upon request.

(B) Contents. — A report submitted under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph shall include the following data:

(i) A report on the extent to which the school is meeting its mission and goals as stated in the petition for the charter school;

(ii) Student performance on any districtwide assessments;

(iii) Grade advancement for students enrolled in the public charter school;

(iv) Graduation rates, college admission test scores, and college admission rates, if applicable;

(v) Types and amounts of parental involvement;

(vi) Official student enrollment;

(vii) Average daily attendance;

(viii) Average daily membership;

(ix) For the fiscal year 2005 annual financial audit and subsequent fiscal year annual financial audits, a financial statement audited by an independent certified public accountant or accounting firm, who, notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, shall be selected from an approved list developed by a committee of 2 representatives each from the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board, the District of Columbia Board of Education Charter School Board, and the District of Columbia Chief Financial Officer, in accordance with Government auditing standards for financial audits issued by the Comptroller General of the United States, pursuant to the April 8, 2005 memorandum of understanding between the District of Columbia Chartering Authorities and the District of Columbia Chief Financial Officer, as amended;

(x) A report on school staff indicating the qualifications and responsibilities of such staff; and

(xi) A list of all donors and grantors that have contributed monetary or in-kind donations having a value equal to or exceeding $500 during the year that is the subject of the report.

(C) Nonidentifying data. — Data described in sub-subparagraphs (i) through (ix) of subparagraph (B) of this paragraph that are included in an annual report shall not identify the individuals to whom the data pertain.

(12) Census. — A public charter school shall provide to the Board of Education student enrollment data necessary for the Board of Education to comply with § 38-204.

(13) Complaint resolution process. — A public charter school shall establish an informal complaint resolution process.

(14) Program of education. — A public charter school shall provide a program of education which shall include one or more of the following:

(A) Preschool;

(B) Prekindergarten;

(C) Any grade or grades from kindergarten through grade 12;

(D) Residential education; or

(E) Adult, community, continuing, and vocational education programs.

(15) Nonsectarian nature of schools. — A public charter school shall be nonsectarian and shall not be affiliated with a sectarian school or religious institution.

(16) Nonprofit status of school. — A public charter school shall be organized under Chapter 4 of Title 29 and its sole purpose shall be the operation of the public charter school.

(17) Immunity from civil liability. —

(A) In general. — A public charter school, and its incorporators, Board of Trustees, officers, employees, and volunteers, shall be immune from civil liability, both personally and professionally, for any act or omission within the scope of their official duties unless the act or omission:

(i) Constitutes gross negligence;

(ii) Constitutes an intentional tort; or

(iii) Is criminal in nature.

(B) Common law immunity preserved. — Subparagraph (A) of this paragraph shall not be construed to abrogate any immunity under common law of a person described in such subparagraph.

(18) Licensing as child development center. — A public charter school which offers a preschool or prekindergarten program shall be subject to the same child care licensing requirements (if any) which apply to a District of Columbia public school which offers such a program.

(19) Participation in education data warehouse. — A public charter school shall participate in the longitudinal education data warehouse system established by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education and shall provide data to the OSSE upon request.

(20) Cooperation with the Office of Ombudsman for Public Education. — A public charter school shall cooperate with the Office of Ombudsman for Public Education and shall comply with the disclosure protections of Chapter 3A of this title [§ 38-351 et seq.].

(21) Distribution of funds. — Funds that have not been provided for in an approved financial plan shall not be distributed to any public charter school.

(22) School management contracts.— A public charter school may procure the services of a school management organization; provided, that it complies with subparagraphs (A) and (B) of this paragraph.

(A) A public charter school shall submit a proposed agreement containing the provision described in subparagraph (B) of this paragraph in a petition to establish a public charter school, a petition to revise its charter, or an application to renew its charter to the eligible chartering authority for review, and it shall submit the executed agreement to the eligible chartering authority within 30 days of receiving approval of its petition or application.

(B)(i) Any executed agreement for services between a public charter school and a school management organization shall include a provision whereby the school management organization agrees, under the following circumstances, to provide to the public charter school for production to the eligible chartering authority books, records, papers, and documents related to services the school management organization provided or has agreed to provide to the public charter school:

(I) The public charter school requests such records from the school management organization; and either

(II) The annual fee the public charter school agrees to pay to the school management organization or any of its related entities, as defined by section 201(h)(4)(B)-(C) of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, approved August 13, 1981 (95 Stat. 218; 26 U.S.C. § 168(h)(4)(B)-(C)), is equal to or exceeds 20% of the school's annual revenue; or

(III) The annual revenue the school management organization expects to derive from District public charter schools will exceed 25% of the school management organization's projected total annual revenue.

(ii) The school management organization shall have the burden of producing records to demonstrate that it does not expect the revenue it derives from District public charter schools to exceed 25% of its projected total annual revenue.

(C) Fiscal mismanagement. — An eligible chartering authority may consider a public charter school's failure to comply with subparagraphs (A) or (B) of this paragraph as fiscal mismanagement; provided, that an eligible chartering authority shall not consider a public charter school to be out of compliance with this paragraph if the public charter school has submitted a petition or application that complies with subparagraph (A) of this paragraph within 180 days of October 8, 2016.


(Apr. 26, 1996, 110 Stat. 1321 [238], Pub. L. 104-134, § 2204; Sept. 9, 1996, 110 Stat. 2376, Pub. L. 104-194, § 145; Oct. 19, 2000, D.C. Law 13-172, §§ 2803 and 2812, 47 DCR 6308; Nov. 22, 2000, 114 Stat. 2440, Pub. L. 106-522, § 120(a), (c)(1); Oct. 20, 2005, D.C. Law 16-33, § 4013, 52 DCR 7503; Mar. 14, 2007, D.C. Law 16-268, § 4(c), 54 DCR 833; June 12, 2007, D.C. Law 17-9, § 802(c), 54 DCR 4102; Sept. 18, 2007, D.C. Law 17-20, § 4032(b), 54 DCR 7052; Aug. 16, 2008, D.C. Law 17-219, § 4023, 55 DCR 7598; July 2, 2011, D.C. Law 18-378, § 3(dd)(2), 58 DCR 1720; Oct. 8, 2016, D.C. Law 21-153, § 2(b), 63 DCR 10134; Sept. 23, 2017, D.C. Law 22-21, § 3, 64 DCR 7631.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 31-2853.14.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 38-1802.11.

Effect of Amendments

Section 120 (a) of Public Law 106-522 substituted for “authority” the words “eligible chartering authority” in the heading to subsec. (c)(1)(B) and cl. (i) thereunder; and rewrote subsec. (c)(1)(A) and (c)(1)(B)(ii).

Applicability

Section 7019 of D.C. Law 22-168 amendeded section 11 of D.C. Law 22-21 removing the applicability restriction impacting this section. Therefore the amendments made to this section by D.C. Law 22-21 have been implemented.

Applicability of D.C. Law 22-21: § 11 of D.C. Law 22-21 provided that the change made to this section by § 3 of D.C. Law 22-21 is subject to the inclusion of the law’s fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan. Therefore that amendment has not been implemented.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) amendment of section, see §§ 2803 and 2812 of the Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-376, July 24, 2000, 47 DCR 6574).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see §§ 2803 and 2812 of the Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-438, October 20, 2000, 47 DCR 8740).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 4013 of Fiscal Year 2006 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2005 (D.C. Act 16-168, July 26, 2005, 52 DCR 7667).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 4032(c) of Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-74, July 25, 2007, 54 DCR 7549).

For temporary (90 day) repeal of section 804 of D.C. Law 17-9, see § 4043(b) of Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-74, July 25, 2007, 54 DCR 7549).

For temporary (90 day) amendment, see § 4023 of Fiscal Year 2009 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-468, July 28, 2008, 55 DCR 8746).

Short Title

Short title: Section 4022 of D.C. Law 17-219 provided that subtitle K of title IV of the act may be cited as the “Public Charter School Board Fiscal Responsibility Amendment Act of 2008”.

Editor's Notes

Section 133 of Pub. L. 109-115, Nov. 30, 2005, 119 Stat. 2522, provided: “Section 4013 of the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula for Public Schools and Public Charter Schools Amendment Act of 2005, passed on first reading on May 10, 2005 (engrossed version of Bill 16-200) D.C. Law 16-33, § 4013, is hereby enacted into law.”

Applicability: Section 804 of D.C. Law 17-9 provided that section 802 shall apply upon enactment by Congress. Section 804 of D.C. Law 17-9 was repealed by section 4043(b) of D.C. Law 17-20.