SB 208 FAQ: Charter schools and interscholastic activities (Updated)
Where does this come from?
The 2017 Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 208, and Gov. Kate Brown signed it July 3, 2017. The Oregon State Board of Education adopted new Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR) on October 26, 2017 to help implement the new law.
Which activities does this apply to?
SB 208 allows charter school students to participate in interscholastic activities with the district. SB 208 defines interscholastic activities as “athletics, music, speech and other similar or related activities.” OAR 581-026-0005 limits interscholastic activities to activities:
- That are operated by the district;
- That are not part of the public charter school student’s comprehensive instructional program; and
- For which the district participates in and is sanctioned by the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA).
Consequently, if a district school offers band, but does not participate in OSAA-sanctioned activities for band, the district school would not have to allow a charter student to participate in band. Nothing prohibits districts and charter schools from agreeing to allow students to participate in other activities, just like they have been allowed to in the past.
What if the charter school offers some interscholastic activities but not the same ones that the district offers?
OAR 581-026-0700 clarifies that this applies only when the charter school “does not participate in any activities sanctioned by OSAA.” If a charter school offers OSAA-sanctioned cross country and choir, but no other OSAA-sanctioned events, this new law does not grant students from the charter school the right to participate in football with the district. The district and charter school may be able to enter into an agreement to allow participation, but you would want to look closely at OSAA rules regarding full member schools.
What about activities that OSAA does not regulate, such as robotics teams, FFA and middle school sports?
These new laws do not change non-OSAA activities. Charter schools and districts are able to agree to allow student participation, just as they have in the past.
How much do charter schools have to pay for students who participate?
A district may charge a fee to a charter school that is “not more than five percent of the amount of the school district’s General Purpose Grant per ADMw, as calculated under 327.013.” If the General Purpose Grant per ADMw for the district was $7,800, then the maximum amount that the charter would have to pay would be $390 (an additional fee may be charged for activities that require a course be taken for credit for activity participation). The district and charter school must enter into an agreement to establish the actual amount. The amount can be a flat dollar amount instead of a percentage. If the district has been allowing charter school students to participate in activities without charging the charter school, the district may consider setting this fee at zero dollars. We recommend that districts look at their financial data and see what it actually costs to provide these interscholastic activities and make the agreed upon amount reflect actual costs.
Is this per interscholastic activity?
No. The five percent maximum is per student, per year, regardless of the number of activities participated in.
If we set the amount lower than the five percent maximum, can we charge for each activity?
As long as the total amount charged per student does not exceed the five percent maximum, that would be permissible. Any such arrangement should be included in the agreement between the district and charter school.
Can we charge different amounts for different activities?
Yes, as long as none of them exceed the five percent maximum. Any difference should be clearly articulated in the agreement, and the maximum charged for any individual student cannot exceed five percent (except in cases where a course for credit is required).
The General Purpose Grant per ADMw changes throughout the year. Which number should be used to determine the amount?
OAR 581-026-0710 states that “fees shall be based on the Oregon Department to Education’s most recent published State School Fund Estimates on or before August 31 of the year in which the student participates.” The June 2017 estimates from ODE are available here.
When should the fee be paid?
OAR 581-026-0710 requires that the fees be paid to the school district “within 60 days of when the student has been added to the roster of the interscholastic activity.” This information must also be included in the agreement between the district and the charter school.
Is there an additional fee for courses that require that a class be taken for credit?
Yes. When an activity requires that a course be taken for credit in the district, the district can charge an additional fee of up to five percent per course. OAR 581-026-0710(2)(a). Suppose a charter school student participates in soccer, tennis and choir at the district school. For participation in choir, the student is required to enroll in the choir class. The maximum amount that the district would be able to charge the charter school for this student would be ten percent, including a five percent activity fee and an additional five percent for choir.
If the student chose to participate in band as well, which also requires a course be taken for credit, the district would be able to charge an additional five percent for band, for a total of fifteen percent.
Is this additional fee for required course and credit for each semester or year?
Per year. If a class is only taken for part of the year, the fee for course and credit may be reduced to reflect this. Any such arrangement should be included in the agreement.
Can I just split the student with the charter school, with both of us claiming part of the student for funding purposes? I’ll get 1/7 of the ADM, which is way more than five percent.
No. Oregon law requires that a student be listed on the active roll of the school “in which 50 percent or more of the student’s time is scheduled and the student shall not be entered in the roll of other instructional units.” OAR 581-023-0006(4)(a). Charter schools and districts can enter into agreements to provide services for students, but in the case of courses required by interscholastic activities, the maximum fee allowed is five percent. These agreements are between the district and the charter school and do not involve the state.
If the district has the student enrolled in a class, but the student is included on the charter school’s active roll, how do we put them into our computer system?
This can be tricky, particularly in situations where the two schools use different programs. Look for options such as “concurrent” or “exclude from state reporting.” These options are going to depend on the programs that you use, but programs may allow both schools to enroll students into classes and perhaps even review grades and attendance. Regardless of the systems used, both the charter and the district must keep accurate and current attendance and grade records for all students in attendance, and share that information when needed.
What if the district school’s bell schedule does not match up with the charter school’s?
This can certainly create challenges, as schools use a variety of schedules for a number of reasons. Schools should work with students to make activities available when possible. There will be times when a student is forced to choose between a course for an interscholastic activity with the district and another course at the charter school. Schools have never been expected or able to accommodate every scheduling request from every student.
Who is responsible for transportation to and from the activities?
Neither SB 208 nor the OARs mention transportation. OSBA believes that neither the charter nor the district is legally required to provide transportation between the charter school and the district activity, although either could choose to.
If students attend a charter school in a district other than the one in which they reside, what district can they participate in?
A student must reside within the school district in order to be eligible to participate in that district’s activities, even if the student attends a charter school in a different district (OAR 581-026-0700 refers to the definition for “resides” found in ORS 339.133). Additionally, for districts with multiple high schools, a student must reside within the individual high school’s attendance area in order to participate at the specific high school.
There are students attending our charter schools from several districts, do we have to enter into a separate agreement with each district?
Yes, a charter school would have to enter into an agreement with each district that it has a student attending from. Each district may have a different General Purpose Grant per ADMw, so the maximum amount for fees from each district may be slightly different.
If a district has students attending charter schools in multiple districts, does the district have to enter into an agreement with each individual charter school?
Yes. A district will have to enter into an agreement with each charter school that students from the district attend.
Can a district agree to different amounts with different charter schools?
Yes. Just like a district may contract for different payment amounts in charter agreements, it can agree to different activity fees for different charter schools. We recommend that the fees represent actual costs.
We have a strict code of conduct for our activity participants, including attendance and GPA standards. Are charter school students who participate subject to these same requirements?
Yes. SB 208 provides that “a student must meet all school eligibility requirements except the school district’s school or class attendance requirements.” OAR 581-026-0705(1)(e) adds that “student[s] must comply with any applicable participant code of conduct for the duration of the period of participation.”
We are a pay-to-play district. Students are charged $50, for example, for some activities, including sports. Can we charge charter school students the same amount?
Yes. Charter school students can be charged the same participation fees as district students as part of the eligibility requirements. The district should have procedures in place for waiver of the fee for students who cannot afford it. The same procedures would be available to charter school students.
Who should sign an agreement on behalf of the district and charter? Does it need to be board adopted?
There is no mention of who must act on behalf of the district or charter school, simply a requirement that “the school district and the public charter school shall enter into an agreement.” The superintendent of the school district and chief executive officer of the charter school may be able to enter into this agreement on behalf of their entities, but school districts and charter schools should check their policies, contracts and budget language.
What all needs to be included in the agreement?
OAR 581-026-0710(4) requires that the following be included in the agreement between the district and the charter school:
- The amount of the fees that the charter school is required to pay;
- A requirement that the fees be paid within 60 days after the student has been added to the roster of an interscholastic activity.
- The expectations for sharing of information by the charter school related to student performance and conduct.
What information should the charter school share with the district?
Information shared by the charter school should be limited to information necessary to determine eligibility. If the district requires all interscholastic activity participants to meet certain academic, attendance and behavioral requirements, related information could be shared.
Can a student eligible for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act participate in interscholastic activities?
Yes. A student should not be discriminated against because of a disability. The logistics may be more complicated, but districts and charter schools should work together to ensure that students with disabilities are able to participate.
It costs nearly $600 per student to play some of our sports, and more than that for activities that require a class. Receiving five or ten percent from the charter school will not cover those costs. Is there anything that we can do to recover more?
For this year, no. The State Board is very interested in the actual costs associated with implementing this law. They will be seeking public comment and reviewing the law at its June board meetings in 2018 and 2019 in order to determine if changes need to be made.
When does this go into effect?
July 3, 2017. It is currently in effect.
Where can I find the text of the laws?
The enrolled bill can be found on the Legislature's website: Senate Bill 208
This language was added on ORS 339.450 and .460, and should be included on the state website soon.
If you would like a copy of OAR 581-026-0005, -0700 and -0710, email Spencer Lewis. The new rules should be included on the state’s website soon.