Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 1. Community Choice Schools Act

Charter Contract Revocation And School Closure Or Charter Contract Nonrenewal

20-11-118. Charter contract revocation and school closure or charter contract nonrenewal. (1) A charter contract may be subject to nonrenewal or revocation if the authorizer determines that the community choice school:

(a) committed a material and substantial violation of any of the terms, conditions, standards, or procedures required under this part or the charter contract and from which the choice school was not exempted;

(b) failed to meet or make sufficient progress toward the performance expectations set forth in the charter contract;

(c) failed to meet public safety standards; or

(d) failed to meet generally accepted standards of fiscal management.

(2) An authorizer shall develop revocation and nonrenewal processes that:

(a) provide the charter contract holders with timely notification of the prospect of revocation or nonrenewal and of the reasons for the possible closure;

(b) allow the charter contract holders a reasonable amount of time in which to prepare a response;

(c) provide the charter contract holders an opportunity to submit documents and testimony at a hearing to challenge the rationale for the closure recommendation and in support of the continuation of the school;

(d) allow the charter contract holders to be represented by counsel and call witnesses on their behalf;

(e) permit the recording of the proceedings; and

(f) provide for a final determination conveyed in writing to the charter contract holders.

(3) If an authorizer revokes or denies renewal of a charter contract, the authorizer shall clearly state, by resolution of its governing body, the reasons for the revocation or nonrenewal.

(4) Within 10 days of taking action to renew, not renew, or revoke a charter contract, the authorizer shall report to the commission the action taken and at the same time shall provide a copy of the report to the choice school. The report must include a copy of the resolution of the authorizer's governing body setting forth the action taken and reasons for the decision and providing assurances of compliance with all the requirements set forth in this part. The authorizer's decision is appealable to the commission in writing within 30 days of the commission's receipt of the authorizer's report.

(5) (a) Prior to a choice school closure, an authorizer shall develop a choice school closure protocol to ensure timely notification to parents, orderly transition of students and student records to new schools, and proper disposition of school funds, property, and assets in accordance with the requirements of this part. The protocol must specify responsible parties, transition and closure timelines, and a delineation of the respective duties of the choice school and the authorizer.

(b) The authorizer shall oversee the closure and work with the closing choice school to ensure a smooth and orderly closure and transition for students and parents.

(c) In the event of a choice school closure for any reason, the nonrestricted distributable assets of the choice school must be distributed first to satisfy outstanding payroll obligations for employees of the choice school, then to creditors of the choice school, then to resident school districts of students previously attending the closed choice school on a prorated per-pupil basis, and then to the state general fund. If the assets of the choice school are insufficient to pay all obligations, the prioritization of the distribution of assets may be determined by a court of law.

(d) If a closing choice school was converted from an existing traditional public school, the closing choice school is not responsible for any financial obligation or debt of the previously existing traditional public school unless the choice school assumed the debt or obligation at the time of conversion.

(6) Transfer of a charter contract, and of oversight of that choice school from one authorizer to another before the expiration of the charter contract term, may occur only if the authorizer violates the provisions of 20-11-108 or by special petition to the commission by a choice school or its authorizer. The commission shall consider a petition for transfer on a case-by-case basis and may grant transfer requests in response to special circumstances and to evidence that the transfer would serve the best interests of the community choice school's students.

History: En. Sec. 13, Ch. 513, L. 2023.