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SECTION 2854
General requirements
Education (EDN) CHAPTER 16, TITLE 2, ARTICLE 56
§ 2854. General requirements. 1. Applicability of other laws. (a)
Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, to the extent that
any provision of this article is inconsistent with any other state or
local law, rule or regulation, the provisions of this article shall
govern and be controlling.

(b) A charter school shall meet the same health and safety, civil
rights, and student assessment requirements applicable to other public
schools, except as otherwise specifically provided in this article. A
charter school shall be exempt from all other state and local laws,
rules, regulations or policies governing public or private schools,
boards of education, school districts and political subdivisions,
including those relating to school personnel and students, except as
specifically provided in the school's charter or in this article.
Nothing in this subdivision shall affect the requirements of compulsory
education of minors established by part one of article sixty-five of
this chapter.

(c) A charter school shall be subject to the financial audits, the
audit procedures, and the audit requirements set forth in the charter,
and shall be subject to audits of the comptroller of the city school
district of the city of New York for charter schools located in New York
city, and to the audits of the comptroller of the state of New York for
charter schools located in the rest of the state, at his or her
discretion, with respect to the school's financial operations. Such
procedures and standards shall be consistent with generally accepted
accounting and audit standards. Independent fiscal audits shall be
required at least once annually.

(d) A charter school shall design its educational programs to meet or
exceed the student performance standards adopted by the board of regents
and the student performance standards contained in the charter. Students
attending charter school shall be required to take regents examinations
to the same extent such examinations are required of other public school
students. A charter school offering instruction in the high school
grades may grant regents diplomas and local diplomas to the same extent
as other public schools, and such other certificates and honors as are
specifically authorized by their charter, and in testimony thereof give
suitable certificates, honors and diplomas under its seal; and every
certificate and diploma so granted shall entitle the conferee to all
privileges and immunities which by usage or statute are allowed for
similar diplomas of corresponding grade granted by any other public
school.

(e) A charter school shall be subject to the provisions of articles
six and seven of the public officers law.

(f) A charter school shall be subject to the provisions of sections
eight hundred, eight hundred one, eight hundred two, eight hundred
three, eight hundred four, eight hundred four-a, eight hundred five,
eight hundred five-a, eight hundred five-b and eight hundred six of the
general municipal law to the same extent such sections apply to school
districts.

2. Admissions; enrollment; students. (a) A charter school shall be
nonsectarian in its programs, admission policies, employment practices,
and all other operations and shall not charge tuition or fees; provided
that a charter school may require the payment of fees on the same basis
and to the same extent as other public schools. A charter school shall
not discriminate against any student, employee or any other person on
the basis of ethnicity, national origin, gender, or disability or any
other ground that would be unlawful if done by a school. Admission of
students shall not be limited on the basis of intellectual ability,
measures of achievement or aptitude, athletic ability, disability, race,
creed, gender, national origin, religion, or ancestry; provided,
however, that nothing in this article shall be construed to prevent the
establishment of a single-sex charter school or a charter school
designed to provide expanded learning opportunities for students at-risk
of academic failure or students with disabilities and English language
learners; and provided, further, that the charter school shall
demonstrate good faith efforts to attract and retain a comparable or
greater enrollment of students with disabilities, English language
learners, and students who are eligible applicants for the free and
reduced price lunch program when compared to the enrollment figures for
such students in the school district in which the charter school is
located. A charter shall not be issued to any school that would be
wholly or in part under the control or direction of any religious
denomination, or in which any denominational tenet or doctrine would be
taught.

(b) Any child who is qualified under the laws of this state for
admission to a public school is qualified for admission to a charter
school. Applications for admission to a charter school shall be
submitted on a uniform application form created by the department and
shall be made available by a charter school in languages predominately
spoken in the community in which such charter school is located. The
school shall enroll each eligible student who submits a timely
application by the first day of April each year, unless the number of
applications exceeds the capacity of the grade level or building. In
such cases, students shall be accepted from among applicants by a random
selection process, provided, however, that an enrollment preference
shall be provided to pupils returning to the charter school in the
second or any subsequent year of operation and pupils residing in the
school district in which the charter school is located, and siblings of
pupils already enrolled in the charter school. Preference may also be
provided to children of employees of the charter school or charter
management organization, provided that such children of employees may
constitute no more than fifteen percent of the charter school's total
enrollment. The commissioner shall establish regulations to require that
the random selection process conducted pursuant to this paragraph be
performed in a transparent and equitable manner and to require that the
time and place of the random selection process be publicized in a manner
consistent with the requirements of section one hundred four of the
public officers law and be open to the public. For the purposes of this
paragraph and paragraph (a) of this subdivision, the school district in
which the charter school is located shall mean, for the city school
district of the city of New York, the community district in which the
charter school is located.

(c) A charter school shall serve one or more of the grades one through
twelve, and shall limit admission to pupils within the grade levels
served. Nothing herein shall prohibit a charter school from establishing
a kindergarten program.

(d) A student may withdraw from a charter school at any time and
enroll in a public school. A charter school may refuse admission to any
student who has been expelled or suspended from a public school until
the period of suspension or expulsion from the public school has
expired, consistent with the requirements of due process.

3. School personnel. (a) An employee of a charter school shall be an
employee of the education corporation formed to operate the charter
school and not an employee of the local school district in which the
charter school is located. An employee of a charter school shall be
deemed to be a public employee solely for purposes of article fourteen
of the civil service law, except for section two hundred twelve of such
law, and for no other purposes unless otherwise specified in this
article, the board of trustees of the charter school shall constitute a
board of education solely for purposes of article fourteen of the civil
service law, except for section two hundred twelve of such law, and for
no other purposes unless otherwise specified in this article, a charter
school shall be deemed to be a public employer solely for purposes of
article fourteen of the civil service law, except for section two
hundred twelve of such law, and for no other purposes unless otherwise
specified in this article, and the chief executive officer of the
charter school shall be the person designated as such by the board of
trustees of the charter school.

(a-1) The board of trustees of a charter school shall employ and
contract with necessary teachers, administrators and other school
personnel. Such teachers shall be certified in accordance with the
requirements applicable to other public schools; provided, however, that
a charter school may employ as teachers (i) uncertified teachers with at
least three years of elementary, middle or secondary classroom teaching
experience; (ii) tenured or tenure track college faculty; (iii)
individuals with two years of satisfactory experience through the Teach
for America program; and (iv) individuals who possess exceptional
business, professional, artistic, athletic, or military experience,
provided, however, that such teachers described in clauses (i), (ii),
(iii), and (iv) of this paragraph shall not in total comprise more than
the sum of: (A) thirty per centum of the teaching staff of a charter
school, or five teachers, whichever is less; plus (B) five teachers of
mathematics, science, computer science, technology, or career and
technical education; plus (C) five additional teachers. A teacher
certified or otherwise approved by the commissioner shall not be
included in the numerical limits established by the preceding sentence.

* (a-2) (i) The board of trustees of a charter school shall require,
for purposes of a criminal history record check, the fingerprinting of
all prospective employees pursuant to section three thousand thirty-five
of this chapter, who do not hold valid clearance pursuant to such
section or pursuant to section three thousand four-b of this chapter or
section five hundred nine-cc or twelve hundred twenty-nine-d of the
vehicle and traffic law. Prior to initiating the fingerprinting process,
the prospective employer shall furnish the applicant with the form
described in paragraph (c) of subdivision thirty of section three
hundred five of this chapter and shall obtain the applicant's consent to
the criminal history records search. Every set of fingerprints taken
pursuant to this paragraph shall be promptly submitted to the
commissioner for purposes of clearance for employment.

(ii) Upon the recommendation of the chief executive officer of the
charter school, the board of trustees of a charter school may
conditionally appoint a prospective employee. A request for conditional
clearance shall be forwarded to the commissioner along with the
prospective employee's fingerprints, as required by subparagraph (i) of
this paragraph. Such appointment shall not commence until notification
by the commissioner that the prospective employee has been conditionally
cleared for employment and shall terminate forty-five days after such
notification of conditional clearance or when the prospective employer
is notified of a determination by the commissioner to grant or deny
clearance, whichever occurs earlier, and may not be extended or renewed
unless the commissioner issues a new conditional clearance after finding
that there was good cause for failing to obtain clearance within such
period, provided that if clearance is granted, the appointment shall
continue and the conditional status shall be removed. Prior to
commencement of such conditional appointment, the prospective employer
shall obtain a signed statement for conditional appointment from the
prospective employee, indicating whether, to the best of his or her
knowledge, he or she has a pending criminal charge or criminal
conviction in any jurisdiction outside the state.

(iii) Upon the recommendation of the chief executive officer of the
charter school, the board of trustees of a charter school may make an
emergency conditional appointment when an unforeseen emergency vacancy
has occurred. When such appointment is made, the process for conditional
appointment pursuant to subparagraph (ii) of this paragraph must also be
initiated. Emergency conditional appointment may commence prior to
notification from the commissioner on conditional clearance but shall
terminate twenty business days from the date such appointment commences
or when the prospective employer is notified by the commissioner
regarding conditional clearance, whichever occurs earlier, provided that
if conditional clearance is granted, the appointment shall continue as a
conditional appointment. Prior to the commencement of such appointment,
the prospective employer must obtain a signed statement for emergency
conditional appointment from the prospective employee, indicating
whether, to the best of his or her knowledge, he or she has a pending
criminal charge or criminal conviction in any jurisdiction. An
unforeseen emergency vacancy shall be defined as: (1) a vacancy that
occurred less than ten business days before the start of any school
session, including summer school, or during any school session,
including summer school, without sufficient notice to allow for
clearance or conditional clearance; (2) when no other qualified person
is available to fill the vacancy temporarily; and (3) when emergency
conditional appointment is necessary to maintain services which the
charter school is legally required to provide or services necessary to
protect the health, education or safety of students or staff. The
provisions of clause one of this subparagraph shall not apply if the
board finds that the charter school has been unable to fill the vacancy
despite good faith efforts to fill such vacancy in a manner which would
have allowed sufficient time for clearance or conditional clearance.

(iv) Shall develop a policy for the safety of the children who have
contact with an employee holding conditional appointment or emergency
conditional appointment.

* NB Effective until July 1, 2022

* (a-2) The board of trustees of a charter school shall require, for
purposes of a criminal history record check, the fingerprinting of all
prospective employees pursuant to section three thousand thirty-five of
this chapter, who do not hold valid clearance pursuant to such section
or pursuant to section three thousand four-b of this chapter or section
five hundred nine-cc or twelve hundred twenty-nine-d of the vehicle and
traffic law. Prior to initiating the fingerprinting process, the
prospective employer shall furnish the applicant with the form described
in paragraph (c) of subdivision thirty of section three hundred five of
this chapter and shall obtain the applicant's consent to the criminal
history records search. Every set of fingerprints taken pursuant to this
paragraph shall be promptly submitted to the commissioner for purposes
of clearance for employment.

* NB Effective July 1, 2022

(a-3) The board of trustees of a charter school shall upon
commencement and termination of employment of an employee by the charter
school district, provide the commissioner with the name of and position
held by such employee.

(b) The school employees of a charter school that has been converted
from an existing public school who are eligible for representation under
article fourteen of the civil service law shall be deemed to be included
within the negotiating unit containing like titles or positions, if any,
for the school district in which such charter school is located and
shall be subject to the collective bargaining agreement covering that
school district negotiating unit; provided, however, that a majority of
the members of a negotiating unit within a charter school may modify, in
writing, a collective bargaining agreement for the purposes of
employment in the charter school with the approval of the board of
trustees of the charter school.

(b-1) The employees of a charter school that is not a conversion from
an existing public school shall not be deemed members of any existing
collective bargaining unit representing employees of the school district
in which the charter school is located, and the charter school and its
employees shall not be subject to any existing collective bargaining
agreement between the school district and its employees. Provided,
however, that (i) if the student enrollment of the charter school on the
first day on which the charter school commences student instruction
exceeds two hundred fifty or if the average daily student enrollment of
such school exceeds two hundred fifty students at any point during the
first two years after the charter school commences student instruction,
all employees of the school who are eligible for representation under
article fourteen of the civil service law shall be deemed to be
represented in a separate negotiating unit at the charter school by the
same employee organization, if any, that represents like employees in
the school district in which such charter school is located; (ii) the
provisions of subparagraph (i) of this paragraph may be waived in up to
ten charters issued on the recommendation of the charter entity set
forth in paragraph (b) of subdivision three of section twenty-eight
hundred fifty-one of this article; (iii) the provisions of subparagraph
(i) of this paragraph shall not be applicable to the renewal or
extension of a charter; and (iv) nothing in this sentence shall be
construed to subject a charter school subject to the provisions of this
paragraph or its employees to any collective bargaining agreement
between any public school district and its employees or to make the
employees of such charter school part of any negotiating unit at such
school district. The charter school may, in its sole discretion, choose
whether or not to offer the terms of any existing collective bargaining
to school employees.

(c) The employees of the charter school may be deemed employees of the
local school district for the purpose of providing retirement benefits,
including membership in the teachers' retirement system and other
retirement systems open to employees of public schools. The financial
contributions for such benefits shall be the responsibility of the
charter school and the school's employees. The commissioner, in
consultation with the comptroller, shall develop regulations to
implement the provisions of this paragraph in a manner that allows
charter schools to provide retirement benefits to its employees in the
same manner as other public school employees.

(c-1) Reasonable access. (i) If employees of the charter school are
not represented, any charter school chartered pursuant to this article
must afford reasonable access to any employee organization during the
reasonable proximate period before any representation question is
raised; or

(ii) If the employee organization is a challenging organization,
reasonable access must be provided to any organization seeking to
represent employees beginning with a date reasonably proximate to a
challenge period. Reasonableness is defined, at a minimum, as access
equal to that provided to the incumbent organization.

(c-2) Employer neutrality. It shall be an improper practice for a
charter school board of directors, chief administrative officer and
their agents to commit any of the acts set forth in subdivision one of
section two hundred nine-a of the civil service law and could in
accordance with section twenty-eight hundred fifty-five of this article,
result in the revocation of the charter.

(d) A teacher employed by a school district may make a written request
to the board of education for an extended leave of absence to teach at a
charter school. Approval for such a leave of absence for a period of
three years or less shall not be unreasonably withheld. If such approval
is granted to a teacher by the school district, the teacher may return
to teach in the school district during such period of leave without the
loss of any right of certification, retirement, seniority, salary status
or any other benefit provided by law or by collective bargaining
agreement. If an appropriate position is unavailable, the teacher's name
shall be placed on a preferred eligible list of candidates for
appointment to a vacancy that may thereafter occur in an office or
position similar to the one such teacher filled in such school district
immediately prior to the leave of service.

(d-1) In a school district of a city having a population of one
million or more, a principal employed by such school district may make a
written request to the board of education for an extended leave of
absence to serve as a principal of a charter school. Approval for such a
leave of absence for a period of three years or less shall not be
unreasonably withheld. If such approval is granted to a principal by the
school district, the principal may return to serve as a principal in the
school district during such period of leave without the loss of any
right of certification, retirement, seniority, salary status or any
other benefit provided by law or by collective bargaining agreement. If
an appropriate position is unavailable, the principal's name shall be
placed on a preferred eligible list of candidates for appointment to a
vacancy that may thereafter occur in an office or position similar to
the one such principal filled in such school district immediately prior
to the leave of service.