130th Ohio General Assembly
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(125th General Assembly)
(Amended Senate Bill Number 12)



AN ACT
To amend section 3314.02 of the Revised Code to remove the prohibition on establishing a conversion community school as an Internet- or computer-based community school; to permit school districts and nonpublic schools to count any hours or partial hours after March 1, 2003, that schools are in session beyond the number of hours required by minimum standards, in order to make up "calamity days" missed due to hazardous weather conditions in excess of the sum of the number of days permitted by law and the number of days specified in their contingency plans; and to declare an emergency.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio:

SECTION 1 . That section 3314.02 of the Revised Code be amended to read as follows:

Sec. 3314.02.  (A) As used in this chapter:

(1) "Sponsor" means an entity listed in division (C)(1) of this section, which has been approved by the department of education to sponsor community schools and with which the governing authority of the proposed community school enters into a contract pursuant to this section.

(2) "Pilot project area" means the school districts included in the territory of the former community school pilot project established by former Section 50.52 of Am. Sub. H.B. No. 215 of the 122nd general assembly.

(3) "Challenged school district" means any of the following:

(a) A school district that is part of the pilot project area;

(b) A school district that is either in a state of academic emergency or in a state of academic watch under section 3302.03 of the Revised Code;

(c) A big eight school district;

(d) An urban school district.

(4) "Big eight school district" means a school district that for fiscal year 1997 had both of the following:

(a) A percentage of children residing in the district and participating in the predecessor of Ohio works first greater than thirty per cent, as reported pursuant to section 3317.10 of the Revised Code;

(b) An average daily membership greater than twelve thousand, as reported pursuant to former division (A) of section 3317.03 of the Revised Code.

(5) "New start-up school" means a community school other than one created by converting all or part of an existing public school, as designated in the school's contract pursuant to division (A)(17) of section 3314.03 of the Revised Code.

(6) "Urban school district" means one of the state's twenty-one urban school districts as defined in division (O) of section 3317.02 of the Revised Code as that section existed prior to July 1, 1998.

(7) "Internet- or computer-based community school" means a community school established under this chapter in which the enrolled students work primarily from their residences on assignments provided via an internet- or other computer-based instructional method that does not rely on regular classroom instruction.

(B) Any person or group of individuals may initially propose under this division the conversion of all or a portion of a public school to a community school. No conversion community school shall be an internet- or computer-based community school. The proposal shall be made to the board of education of the city, local, or exempted village school district in which the public school is proposed to be converted. Upon receipt of a proposal, a board may enter into a preliminary agreement with the person or group proposing the conversion of the public school, indicating the intention of the board of education to support the conversion to a community school. A proposing person or group that has a preliminary agreement under this division may proceed to finalize plans for the school, establish a governing authority for the school, and negotiate a contract with the board of education. Provided the proposing person or group adheres to the preliminary agreement and all provisions of this chapter, the board of education shall negotiate in good faith to enter into a contract in accordance with section 3314.03 of the Revised Code and division (C) of this section.

(C)(1) Any person or group of individuals may propose under this division the establishment of a new start-up school to be located in a challenged school district. The proposal may be made to any of the following entities:

(a) The board of education of the district in which the school is proposed to be located;

(b) The board of education of any joint vocational school district with territory in the county in which is located the majority of the territory of the district in which the school is proposed to be located;

(c) The board of education of any other city, local, or exempted village school district having territory in the same county where the district in which the school is proposed to be located has the major portion of its territory;

(d) The governing board of any educational service center as long as the proposed school will be located in a county within the territory of the service center or in a county contiguous to such county;

(e) A sponsoring authority designated by the board of trustees of any of the thirteen state universities listed in section 3345.011 of the Revised Code or the board of trustees itself as long as a mission of the proposed school to be specified in the contract under division (A)(2) of section 3314.03 of the Revised Code and as approved by the department of education under division (B)(2) of section 3314.015 of the Revised Code will be the practical demonstration of teaching methods, educational technology, or other teaching practices that are included in the curriculum of the university's teacher preparation program approved by the state board of education;

(f) Any qualified tax-exempt entity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code as long as all of the following conditions are satisfied:

(i) The entity has been in operation for at least five years prior to applying to be a community school sponsor.

(ii) The entity has assets of at least five hundred thousand dollars.

(iii) The department of education has determined that the entity is an education-oriented entity under division (B)(3) of section 3314.015 of the Revised Code.

Until July 1, 2005, any entity described in division (C)(1)(f) of this section may sponsor only schools that formerly were sponsored by the state board of education under division (C)(1)(d) of this section, as it existed prior to the effective date of this amendment April 8, 2003. After July 1, 2005, such entity may sponsor any new or existing school.

Any entity described in division (C)(1) of this section may enter into a preliminary agreement pursuant to division (C)(2) of this section with the proposing person or group.

(2) A preliminary agreement indicates the intention of an entity described in division (C)(1) of this section to sponsor the community school. A proposing person or group that has such a preliminary agreement may proceed to finalize plans for the school, establish a governing authority as described in division (E) of this section for the school, and negotiate a contract with the entity. Provided the proposing person or group adheres to the preliminary agreement and all provisions of this chapter, the entity shall negotiate in good faith to enter into a contract in accordance with section 3314.03 of the Revised Code.

(3) A new start-up school that is established in a school district while that district is either in a state of academic emergency or in a state of academic watch under section 3302.03 of the Revised Code may continue in existence once the school district is no longer in a state of academic emergency or academic watch, provided there is a valid contract between the school and a sponsor.

(4) A copy of every preliminary agreement entered into under this division shall be filed with the superintendent of public instruction.

(D) A majority vote of the board of a sponsoring entity and a majority vote of the members of the governing authority of a community school shall be required to adopt a contract and convert the public school to a community school or establish the new start-up school. Up to the statewide limit prescribed in section 3314.013 of the Revised Code, an unlimited number of community schools may be established in any school district provided that a contract is entered into for each community school pursuant to this chapter.

(E) As used in this division, "immediate relatives" are limited to spouses, children, parents, grandparents, siblings, and in-laws.

Each new start-up community school established under this chapter shall be under the direction of a governing authority which shall consist of a board of not less than five individuals who are not owners or employees, or immediate relatives of owners or employees, of any for-profit firm that operates or manages a school for the governing authority.

No person shall serve on the governing authority or operate the community school under contract with the governing authority so long as the person owes the state any money or is in a dispute over whether the person owes the state any money concerning the operation of a community school that has closed.

(F) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to permit the establishment of a community school in more than one school district under the same contract.

SECTION 2 . That existing section 3314.02 of the Revised Code is hereby repealed.

SECTION 3 .  A school district or nonpublic school shall not be considered to have failed to comply with division (B) of section 3317.01 of the Revised Code or the state minimum standards during the 2002-2003 school year because a school was closed due to hazardous weather conditions for a number of days exceeding the number permitted under sections 3313.48, 3313.481, and 3317.01 of the Revised Code, if both of the following apply:

(A) In the case of a school district, the district makes up the number of days specified in its contingency plan adopted under division (A) of section 3313.482 of the Revised Code in accordance with that plan or, in the case of a nonpublic school, the school makes up the number of days specified in any contingency plan adopted by the school's governing authority in accordance with that plan;

(B) During the period beginning on March 1, 2003, the school was open for instruction for more hours than the required number of hours on a sufficient number of days to make up all remaining days a school was closed in excess of the number permitted by sections 3313.48, 3313.481, and 3317.01 of the Revised Code due to hazardous weather conditions.

As used in this section, the "required number of hours" for any school district is five hours per day in the case of students in grades one through six and five and one-half hours per day in the case of students in grades seven through twelve, and for any nonpublic school is five hours per day for students in grades one through twelve. A public school or school district shall be deemed to have "made up" a day under division (B) of this section for each additional five hours its students in grades one through six are in attendance after March 1, 2003, and for each additional five and one-half hours its students in grades seven through twelve are in attendance after March 1, 2003. A nonpublic school shall be deemed to have "made up" a day under division (B) of this section for each additional five hours its students in grades one through twelve are in attendance after March 1, 2003.

SECTION 4 . Section 3314.02 of the Revised Code as amended by this act takes effect on the later of April 8, 2003, or the effective date of this act.

SECTION 5 . This act is hereby declared to be an emergency measure necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety. The reason for such necessity lies in the fact that immediate action is necessary to provide school districts and nonpublic schools an alternative way to make up days missed in the current school year due to hazardous weather conditions in excess of the number permitted by law. Therefore, this act shall go into immediate effect.

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