An Act To Support Fair Financing in Charter Schools and School Administrative Units
Emergency preamble. Whereas, acts and resolves of the Legislature do not become effective until 90 days after adjournment unless enacted as emergencies; and
Whereas, for each public charter school student, the school administrative unit in which the student resides must forward per-pupil allocations to the public charter school; and
Whereas, a public charter school is not required to reimburse the school administrative unit in which the student resides if a public charter school student returns to the school administrative unit during the school year; and
Whereas, it is necessary that this Act take effect before the start of the 2015-2016 school year in order to properly allocate funds between school administrative units and public charter schools; and
Whereas, in the judgment of the Legislature, these facts create an emergency within the meaning of the Constitution of Maine and require the following legislation as immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety; now, therefore,
Sec. 1. 20-A MRSA §2413, sub-§2, ¶A, as amended by PL 2013, c. 272, §2, is further amended to read:
(1) The per-pupil allocation amount is the EPS per-pupil rate for the school administrative unit in which the student resides, as calculated pursuant to section 15676, based on the student’s grade level and adjusted as appropriate for economic disadvantage and limited English proficiency pursuant to section 15675, subsections 1 and 2. Debt service and capital outlays may not be included in the calculation of these per-pupil allocations. The department shall adopt rules governing how to calculate these per-pupil allocations, including those for targeted funds for assessment technology and kindergarten to grade 2 programs.
(2) For students attending public charter schools, the school administrative unit of residence shall forward the per-pupil allocations described in subparagraph (1) directly to the public charter school attended. These per-pupil allocations must be forwarded to each public charter school on a quarterly basis, as follows. For each fiscal year, allocations must be made in quarterly payments on September 1st, December 1st, March 1st and June 1st. The September and December payments must be based on the identity and number of students enrolled or anticipated to be enrolled in the public charter school at the opening of school for that school year. The number of students may not exceed the maximum enrollment approved in the charter contract for that year unless a waiver is obtained from the authorizer. The March and June payments must be based on the identity and number of students enrolled in the public charter school on February 1st.
(3) For transportation expenses, the average per-pupil expense in each school administrative unit of residence must be calculated and an amount equal to a proportion, up to but not more than 100%, of that per-pupil allocation amount must be forwarded to the public charter school attended on the same basis as the per-pupil allocations for operating funds. The percentage of that per-pupil expense must be determined by the authorizer of the public charter school and must be based on the cost of transportation services provided by the public charter school to the student.
(4) The department shall pay to the public charter school any additional allocation assigned to the public charter school for gifted and talented students pursuant to section 15681-A, subsection 5 in the year in which the allocation is assigned.
A school administrative unit is not required to send funds to a public charter school for a student enrolled in the public charter school's preschool or prekindergarten program if the school administrative unit of the student's residence does not offer that program to its own residents.
Sec. 2. 20-A MRSA §2413, sub-§2, ¶¶A-1 and A-2 are enacted to read:
Emergency clause. In view of the emergency cited in the preamble, this legislation takes effect when approved.
This bill provides that per-pupil allocations paid by a school administrative unit to a public charter school must be returned to the school administrative unit of the student's residence, on a prorated basis, if the student discontinues enrollment at the public charter school and returns to the school administrative unit during the school year.
This bill also changes the allocation of a provision of law to clarify when a school administrative unit needs to transfer funds to a charter school for certain programs.