Charter Schools: Is there additional oversight specific to virtual charter schools?

Charter Schools: Is there additional oversight specific to virtual charter schools?

January 2020

This resource contains information about the 45 states, plus the District of Columbia, with charter school laws. It does not contain any information for the five states that have not enacted charter school laws.

Is there additional oversight specific to virtual charter schools?
Alabama No
Alaska No
Arizona Yes. Each new school that provides online instruction does so on a probationary status. After the new school has clearly demonstrated the academic integrity of its instruction through the actual improvement of the academic performance of its students, the school may apply to be removed from probationary status.

Citations: Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-808
Arkansas No
California Yes. State law directed the state board of education to adopt regulations that define and establish general rules governing nonclassroom-based instruction that apply to all charter schools. Note: Between January 2020 and January 2022, inclusive, the approval of new nonclassroom-based charter schools is prohibited.

Citations: Cal. Educ. Code § 47612.5; Cal. Educ. Code § 47612.7
Colorado Yes. Additional certification is required of online schools in general, including online multi-district charter schools.

Citations: Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 22-30.7-106
Connecticut No
Delaware No
District of Columbia No
Florida Yes. Virtual charter schools are subject to requirements specifically applicable to them as specified in Florida's charter school law. They are exempt, however, from provisions related to facilities, capital outlay, transportation, and class size.

Citations: Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.33
Georgia No
Hawaii No
Idaho Yes. A charter for a public virtual school may be approved only if the petition contains the requirements related to other charter contracts and the additional statements describing the following:
  • The learning management system by which courses will be delivered.
  • The role of the online teacher, including the consistent availability of the teacher to provide guidance around course material, methods of individualized learning in the online course and the means by which student work will be assessed.
  • A plan for the provision of professional development specific to the public virtual school environment.
  • The means by which public virtual school students will receive appropriate teacher-to-student interaction, including timely and frequent feedback about student progress.
  • The means by which the public virtual school will verify student attendance and award course credit. Attendance at public virtual schools shall focus primarily on coursework and activities that are correlated to the Idaho state thoroughness standards.
  • A plan for the provision of technical support relevant to the delivery of online courses.
  • The means by which the public virtual school will provide opportunity for student-to-student interaction.
  • A plan for ensuring equal access for all students, including the provision of necessary hardware, software and internet connectivity required for participation in online coursework.

Citations: Idaho Code Ann. § 33-5205
Illinois Yes. There was a moratorium on creating new virtual charter schools from April 2013 through December 2016 and a report was required on the performance of charter schools with virtual components.

Citations: 105 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/27A-5
Indiana Yes. A virtual charter school is required to adopt a student engagement policy. A student who regularly fails to participate in courses may be withdrawn from enrollment under policies adopted by the charter school. Such policies are required to ensure that adequate notice of the withdrawal of the student is provided to the parent and student and that an opportunity if provided (prior to withdrawal) for the student or parent to demonstrate that failure to participate is due to an event that would be considered an excused absence. An authorizer is required to review and monitor whether a virtual charter complies with these requirements.

The state board is required to adopt rules regarding the operation of virtual charter schools and to submit a report to the budget committee. Each school year, at least 60% of the students who are enrolled in virtual charter schools for the first time must have been included in the state's fall count of ADM conducted in the previous school year. Each virtual charter school is required to report annually to the department concerning the following: - Classroom size. - The ratio of teachers per classroom. - The number of student-teacher meetings conducted in person or by video conference. - Any other information determined by the department.The department is required to provide this information annually to the state board and the legislative council in an electronic format.

Citations: Ind. Code Ann. § 20-24-7-13
Iowa No
Kansas Yes. School districts must provide adequate training to teachers who teach in virtual schools, and school districts must submit annual reports related to such training programs.

Citations: Kan. Stat. Ann. § 72-3711 through Kan. Stat. Ann. § 72-3715
Kentucky No
Louisiana Yes. The initial authorization of the course provider is for a period of 3 years. After the second year of the initial authorization period, the state board is required to conduct a thorough review of the course provider's activities and the academic performance of the students enrolled in courses offered by the course provider in accordance with the school and district accountability system. If the performance of the students enrolled in courses offered by the course provider pursuant to the school and district accountability system does not meet performance standards set by the state board, the state board is required to place the course provider on probation. Other processes (including some establishing the role of local governing bodies) also apply.

Each city, parish, or other local public school board may adopt a policy that defines attendance at a virtual school. Each chartering authority may adopt a policy or include in charter agreements a definition of attendance at a virtual charter school which may include provisions for addressing excessive absences. These provisions may include parental notification; student engagement; withdrawal from the school for failure to engage; and referrals to child welfare and attendance officers, and family and juvenile courts.

Citations: La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:4002.4; La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:4002.5; La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:236.3
Maine Yes. In addition to requiring contracts to ensure that courses meet or exceed state standards, that parents verify that students attend the required number of hours and that they meet all other statutory and rule requirements, contracts must require a plan by which the governing board will provide:
  • Frequent, ongoing monitoring to ensure and verify that each student is participating in the virtual public charter school, including synchronous contact between teachers and students and between teachers and parents to ensure and verify student participation and learning.
  • Regular instructional opportunities in real time that are directly related to the virtual public charter school's curricular objectives, including, but not limited to, meetings with teachers and educational field trips and outings.
  • Verification of ongoing student attendance.
  • Verification of ongoing student progress and performance in each course as documented by ongoing assessments and examples of student course work.
  • Administration to all students in a proctored setting of all applicable state assessments.

Citations: Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. 20-A § 2408
Maryland No
Massachusetts No
Michigan Yes. For instance, the issuance of the contract must be approved by the superintendent of public instruction. Cyber charters are required to issue annual reports on costs associated with online schooling. Additional documentation is required (above what is required for public school academies).

Citations: Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 380.552; Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 380.551
Minnesota Yes. Virtual charter schools must comply with an additional set of state requirements specific to any online learning program or course through a public school.

Citations: Minn. Stat. Ann. § 124E.03; Minn. Stat. Ann. § 124D.095
Mississippi No
Missouri No
Nevada Yes. If a charter provides a program of distance education, all statutes and regulations that are applicable to distance education apply. Charter schools with a program of distance education must provide written notice to the school board in of the district in which the student lives and ensure the persons who operate the program comply with all of the requirements applicable to the charter school.

In addition to charter school requirements, statewide virtual charter schools must also describe supports for students measures of academic success and attendance and the process for accepting pupils in the application submitted to the state public charter school authority.

Citations: Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 388A.366; Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 388.846; Senate Bill 441 (2019) Legislation is "undesignated" as of 12/2019
New Hampshire No
New Jersey No
New York No
North Carolina No
Ohio Yes.
  • All virtual charter schools must comply with standards for online schools and programs developed by the international association for K-12 online learning (iNacol).
  • Virtual charter schools must maintain an affiliation with at least one full-time teacher licensed in Ohio.
  • Each student in a virtual charter school must be assigned to at least one teacher of record, and no teachers may be responsible for more than 125 enrolled students.
  • Each child enrolled in a virtual charter school is entitled to a computer supplied by the school, although this may be waived. The schools must install filtering software or a filtering device on each computer provided to students for instructional use.
  • Each virtual charter school must offer a student orientation course, with guidance from the the department of education, and offer the course to enrolled students.
  • Virtual charter schools are required to periodically communicate with each student's parent regarding the student's performance and progress and provide opportunities for parent-teacher conferences.
  • Virtual charter schools must set up a central base of operation and maintain a representative within 50 miles of that base for monitoring and assistance.
  • Virtual charter schools may provide students with a location for counseling, coaching, and testing assistance within a 50-mile radius of the student's residence.
  • Beginning with the 2018-2019 school year, a virtual virtual charter school's governing board may divide the school into two or three separate schools meeting specific requirements. The division is subject to approval from the authorizer and other requirements.
  • All virtual schools must annually prepare and submit a report including class sizes, student-teacher ratios, student-teacher conferences, and any other information requested by the department.

Citations: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3314.013, Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3314.21, Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3314.22, Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3314.23, Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3314.29, Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3314.251, Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3314.271
Oklahoma Yes. Virtual schools must keep full and complete records of attendance of all students enrolled in the school, and virtual schools must have an attendance policy by July 1, 2018.

Citations: Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 3-145.8
Oregon Yes. In addition to any other requirements for a public charter school, a virtual public charter school must have:
  • A plan for academic achievement that addresses how the school will improve student learning and meet academic content standards.
  • Performance criteria the school will use to measure the progress of the school in meeting the academic performance goals set by the school for its first five years of operation.
  • A plan for implementing the proposed education program of the school by directly and significantly involving parents and guardians of students enrolled in the school and involving the professional employees of the school.
  • A budget, business plan and governance plan for the operation of the school.
  • In the charter of the school, a requirement that the school:
    • Monitor and track student progress and attendance.
    • Provide student assessments in a manner that ensures that an individual student is being assessed and that the assessment is valid.
  • A plan to ensure that:
    • All superintendents, assistant superintendents and principals of the school are licensed to administer by the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission.
    • Teachers who are licensed to teach by the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission and who are highly qualified as described NCLB teach at least 95% of the school's instructional hours.
  • A plan for maintaining student records and school records, including financial records, at a designated central office.
  • A plan to provide equitable access to the education program of the school by ensuring that each student enrolled in the school:
    • Has access to and use of computer and printer equipment as needed.
    • Is offered an Internet service cost reimbursement arrangement under which the school reimburses the parent or guardian of the student, at a rate set by the school, for the costs of obtaining Internet service at the minimum connection speed required to effectively access the education program provided by the school.
    • Has access to and use of computer and printer equipment and is offered Internet service cost reimbursement.
  • A plan to provide access to computer and printer equipment and the Internet service cost reimbursement by students enrolled in the school who are from families that qualify as low-income under Title I of ESEA.
  • A plan to conduct school-sponsored optional educational events at least six times each school year at locations selected to provide convenient access to all students enrolled in the school who want to participate.
  • A plan to conduct meetings at least twice a week between teachers and students enrolled in the school, either in person or through the use of conference calls or other technology.
  • A plan to provide opportunities for face-to-face meetings between teachers and students enrolled in the school at least six times each school year.
  • A plan to provide, at the time of a student's enrollment, written notice to the sponsor and, if different, to the school district where the student is a resident.
  • A plan to provide, at the time of a student's withdrawal for a reason other than graduation from high school, written notice to the sponsor and, if different, to the school district where the student is a resident.
  • An agreement to provide a student's education records to the student's resident school district or to the sponsor, upon request of the resident school district or sponsor.

Citations: Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 338.120
Pennsylvania Yes. Virtual charter schools, which are authorized by the state department of education, are subject to laws specific to virtual charter schools including, but not limited to, requirements for finances, enrollment, reporting, information for parents and students, student records and administrative offices. Some specific requirements include:
  • The school must maintain an administrative office in the state.
  • The school must provide instructional materials and a computer for all students and reimburse students for all technology and services necessary for instruction delivery.
  • Upon request, virtual charter schools must make a various information available to an enrolled student' school district, such as annual reports and a list of all student from the district enrolled in the school.

Citations: 24 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 17-1741-A through 24 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 17-1751-A; 24 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 17-1743-A
Rhode Island No
South Carolina Yes. Charter schools may offer virtual instruction but may not provide more than 75 percent of core academic instruction in K-12 grades via online or virtual instruction. The remaining 25 percent of core academic instruction may be met through regular instructional opportunities in real time directly related to the school's curricular objectives, such as meetings with teachers and educational outings.

Charter schools with virtual programs must adopt a plan to provide the following:

  • Frequent, ongoing monitoring to ensure each student is participating.
  • Regular instructional opportunities in real time.
  • Ongoing attendance verification.
  • Verification of ongoing student progress and performance.

In addition, schools must ensure that a parent verifies the number of hours of educational activities completed by the student each year.

Citations: S.C. Code Ann. § 59-40-65
Tennessee No

Citations: Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-13-106
Texas No
Utah Yes. The state board of education, in collaboration with online course providers, is required to develop a report on the performance of online course providers, which may be used to evaluate the statewide online education program and assess the quality of an online course provider. The report must include:
  • Scores aggregated by test on statewide assessments.
  • The percentage of the online course provider's students who complete online courses within the applicable time period.
  • The percentage of the online course provider's students who complete online courses after the applicable time period and before the student graduates from high school.
  • The pupil-teacher ratio for the combined online courses of the online course provider.

The state board must post reports on the performance of online course providers on the online education program's website.

Citations: U.C.A. 1953 § 53F-4-511
Virginia No
Washington No
West Virginia No
Wisconsin Yes.
  • Each online course must have an appropriately licensed teacher assigned. Teachers licensed to teach a subject and level in the state from which the online course is provided are considered appropriately licensed. Teachers holding a permit to teach exclusively in a charter school may not teach in a virtual charter school.
  • State law outlines the day and hour requirements for virtual charter schools.
  • Each virtual charter school must have a parent advisory council.
  • Virtual charter schools must provide each student with contact information for the school's governing body and parent advisory council.
  • State law outlines attendance requirements for students and measures to be taken when students fail to participate.

Citations: Wis. Stat. Ann. § 118.40
Wyoming No

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