Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 1. Community Choice Schools Act

Authorizer Responsibilities

20-11-108. Authorizer responsibilities. (1) In accordance with this part, an authorizer is responsible for executing the following essential powers and duties:

(a) soliciting and evaluating choice school proposals;

(b) approving choice school proposals that meet identified educational needs and promote a diversity of educational choices, including but not limited to:

(i) creating more schools with high standards for pupil performance;

(ii) closing achievement gaps between high-performing and low-performing groups of public school students;

(iii) increasing educational opportunities within the public education system;

(iv) providing alternative learning environments for students who are not thriving in traditional school settings;

(v) addressing the dropout rate;

(vi) creating new professional opportunities for teachers, leaders, and other school personnel;

(vii) encouraging the use of innovative models of teaching, delivering content, and providing other aspects of K-12 education; and

(viii) providing students, parents, community members, and other local and philanthropic entities with expanded opportunities for involvement in the public education system;

(c) declining to approve inadequate choice school proposals;

(d) negotiating and executing sound charter contracts with each approved choice school;

(e) monitoring, in accordance with charter contract terms, the performance and legal compliance of choice schools; and

(f) determining whether each charter contract merits renewal, nonrenewal, or revocation.

(2) An authorizer may delegate its duties to its officers, employees, and contractors.

(3) Regulation of choice schools by authorizers is limited to the powers and duties described in this part, consistent with the intent of this part.

(4) An authorizer shall develop, carry out, and maintain authorizing policies and practices consistent with nationally recognized principles and standards for authorizing in all major areas of authorizing responsibility, including:

(a) organizational capacity and infrastructure;

(b) soliciting and evaluating choice school proposals;

(c) performance contracting;

(d) ongoing community choice school oversight and evaluation; and

(e) charter contract renewal decisionmaking.

(5) Evidence of material or persistent failure to carry out the duties enumerated in this section constitutes grounds for rescission of authorizing powers by the commission.

(6) Each authorizer shall submit to the commission an annual report summarizing:

(a) the authorizer's strategic vision for authorizing and progress toward achieving that vision;

(b) the academic and financial performance of all operating choice schools overseen by the authorizer, according to the performance expectations for choice schools set forth in this part;

(c) the status of the authorizer's choice school portfolio, identifying all choice schools approved but not yet open, operating, renewed, transferred, revoked, not renewed, voluntarily closed, or never opened;

(d) the authorizing functions provided by the authorizer to the choice schools under its direction, including the authorizer's operating costs and expenses detailed in annual audited financial statements that conform with generally accepted accounting principles; and

(e) the services purchased from the authorizer by a choice school under the authorizer's direction, including an itemized accounting of the actual costs of these services, as required in 20-11-109.

(7) An employee, trustee, agent, or representative of an authorizer may not simultaneously serve as an employee, trustee, agent, representative, vendor, or contractor of a community choice school authorized by that entity.

(8) A government unit or other entity, other than those expressly granted authority under 20-11-107, may not assume any authorizing function or duty in any form unless expressly allowed by law.

History: En. Sec. 6, Ch. 513, L. 2023.