Public Charter Schools -- Changes from Proposed Rules -- Topic Brief
Archived Information

March 1999

Provisions on "Public Charter Schools" in IDEA '97.
The IDEA Amendments of 1997 contained two specific provisions on public charter schools, including requiring that --

  1. In situations in which charter schools are public schools of the LEA, the LEA must –
    1. serve children with disabilities in those schools in the same manner that it serves children with disabilities in its other schools, and
    2. provide Part B funds to those schools in the same manner as it provides Part B funds to its other schools (section 613(a)(5)); and
  2. An SEA may not require a charter school that is an LEA to jointly establish its eligibility with another LEA unless it is explicitly permitted to do so under the state's charter school statute (section 613(e)(1)(B)).

In addition, the House Committee Report on Pub. L. 105-17 stated that "The Committee expects that charter schools will be in full compliance with Part B." (H. Rpt. 105-95, p. 97 (1997))

Proposed Provisions on Charter Schools in NPRM.
The NPRM (1) incorporated the above statutory provisions on public charter schools -- in proposed §300.241 (Treatment of charter schools and their students), and proposed §300.190(b) (Charter school exception); (2) added a note following §300.241 to reflect the House Committee Report related to charter schools; and (3) added a note following the definition of "LEA" to address the responsibility of charter schools that meet the definition of "LEA" and receive funds as LEAs.

Public Comments on Charter Schools -- Requested Changes.
A number of public comments on the NPRM expressed concern about the note following the definition of "LEA," stating that it provided an inadequate explanation of charter schools under Part B (i.e., it focused only on public charter schools that are LEAs under state law and excluded those schools that are defined by state law as being part of an LEA). Many of the commenters requested that the note either be deleted or modified.

Changes in Charter School Provisions to Address Public Comments.
A number of changes have been made to the Part B regulations to specifically address the commenters' concerns related to charter schools, including -- (1) deleting the note following the definition of "LEA" (because it did not provide a full explanation of the responsibilities of public charter schools under the Part B regulations); and (2) making other changes, to provide additional guidance related to public charter schools, as follows:

    Proposed §300.2 (Applicability of this part to state, local, and private agencies) has been revised to clarify that the Part B final regulations apply to all public agencies, including public charter schools that are not included as LEAs or educational service agencies (ESAs), and are not a school of an LEA or ESA.
    1. "Local educational agency" (LEA). The proposed definition of "LEA" has been redesignated as §300.18, and amended to clarify that the term includes public charter schools that are established as an LEA under state law. (§300.18(b)(2))
    2. "Public agency." The proposed definition of "public agency" has been redesignated as §300.22, and amended to add to the list of examples of a public agency, "public charter schools that are not otherwise included as LEAs or ESAs and are not a school of an LEA or ESA..."
    A new §300.312 has been added to the final regulations, as follows:
    1. Children and parents retain all rights. New §300.312(a) has been added to make clear that -- (A) children with disabilities who attend public charter schools and their parents retain all rights under Part B; and (B) compliance with this part is required regardless of whether a public charter school receives Part B funds.
    2. Responsibilities of Charter schools, LEAs, and SEAs. New §300.312(b)-(d) addresses the responsibilities of each entity (public charter schools, LEAs, and SEAs), subject to state law, as follows:
        Charter schools that are LEAs and receive Part B funds must ensure that the Part B requirements are met, unless state law assigns that responsibility to some other entity. (For example, the charter school that is an LEA must ensure that all children with disabilities attending the school receive services in accordance with a properly developed IEP, that all procedural safeguards provisions are met in terms of provisions such as parental consent and written prior notice, and that all other applicable requirements of IDEA are met.)
      2. LEAs.
        If a public charter school is a school of an LEA that receives Part B funds and includes other public schools, the LEA must -- (1) ensure that the requirements of this part are met, and (2) meet the requirements of §300.241 (i.e., serve children with disabilities attending charter schools, and provide Part B funds to those schools in the same manner that it does for other schools). (Proposed §300.241 has been retained in the final regulations.)
      3. SEAs.
        If a charter school is neither an LEA receiving funding, or part of an LEA that receives funds, the SEA is responsible for ensuring that the requirements are met by that school.
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* On October 22, 1997, a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) was published in the Federal Register to amend the regulations under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The purposes of the NPRM were to implement changes made by the IDEA Amendments of 1997, and make other changes that facilitate the implementation of Part B. The changes made since the NPRM are based mainly on public comments received.

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Last Modified: 07/19/2007