(a) Enrollment. Students enrolled in and attending public charter schools shall be included in all enrollment and attendance counts of students of the local school system in which the students reside. The public charter school shall report all such data to the local school systems of residence in a timely manner. Each local school system shall report such enrollment, attendance, and other counts of students to the department in the manner required by the department.
(b) Operational funding.
(1) The following provisions govern operational funding:
a. In their initial year, and in subsequent years to accommodate growth as articulated in their application, funding for public charter schools shall be provided from the Education Trust Fund in the Foundation Program appropriation for current units. Subsequent year funding for public charter schools shall be based on the Foundation Program allocation and other public school Education Trust Fund appropriations.
b. For each of its students, a public charter school shall receive the same amount of state funds, including funds earmarked for the Foundation Program transportation, school nurses, technology coordinators, and other line items that may be included in the appropriation for the Foundation Program Fund, that, for the then-current fiscal year, would have otherwise been allocated on behalf of each public charter school student to the local school system where the student resides. This amount shall reflect the status of each student according to grade level, economic disadvantage, limited English proficiency, and special education needs.
c. For each of its students, a public charter school shall receive the same amount of local tax revenue, that, for the then-current fiscal year, would have otherwise been allocated on behalf of each public charter school student to the local non-charter public school of each student's residence, excluding those funds already earmarked through a vote of the local school board for debt service, capital expenditures, or transportation. As necessary, the department shall promulgate processes and procedures to determine the specific local revenue allocations according to the Foundation Program for each public charter school.
d. The state funds described in paragraph b. shall be forwarded on a quarterly basis to the public charter school by the department. The local funds described in paragraph c. shall be forwarded on a quarterly basis to the public charter school by the local educational agency of the student's residence, notwithstanding the oversight fee reductions pursuant to Section 16-6F-6. Additionally, any local revenues restricted, earmarked, or committed by statutory provision, constitutional provision, or board covenant pledged or imposed by formal action of the local board of education or other authorizing body of government, shall be excluded by the local educational agency of the student's residence when determining the amount of funds to be forwarded by the agency to the public charter school.
e. The maximum annual local tax allocation forwarded to a start-up public charter school from a local school system shall, for each student, not exceed the per student portion of the state required 10 mill ad valorem match.
f. The maximum annual local tax allocation forwarded to a conversion public charter school from a local school system shall, for each student, equal the amount that would have been received by the local education agency of the student's residence for each student who now attends a conversion public charter school, minus any amounts otherwise excluded pursuant to this section.
g. If necessary, the department shall adopt rules governing how to calculate and distribute these per-student allocations, as well as any rules governing cost-sharing for students participating in specialized gifted, talented, vocational, technical, or career education programs.
(2) Categorical funding. The department shall direct the proportionate share of moneys generated under federal and state categorical aid programs to public charter schools serving students eligible for such aid. The state shall ensure that public charter schools with rapidly expanding enrollments are treated equitably in the calculation and disbursement of all federal and state categorical aid program dollars. Each public charter school that serves students who may be eligible to receive services provided through such programs shall comply with all reporting requirements to receive the aid.
(3) Special education funding.
a. The state shall pay directly to a public charter school any federal or state aid attributable to a student with a disability attending the school.
b. At either party's request, a public charter school and its authorizer may negotiate and include in the charter contract alternate arrangements for the provision of and payment for special education services.
(4) Generally accepted accounting principles; independent audit.
a. A public charter school shall adhere to generally accepted accounting principles.
b. A public charter school shall annually engage an independent certified public accountant to do an independent audit of the school's finances. A public charter school shall file a copy of each audit report and accompanying management letter to its authorizer by June 1. This audit shall include the same requirements as those required of local school system pursuant to Section 16-13A-7.
(5) Transportation funding.
a. The department shall disburse state transportation funding to a public charter school on the same basis and in the same manner as it is paid to public school systems.
b. A public charter school may enter into a contract with a school system or private provider to provide transportation to the school's students.
c. Public charter schools that do not provide transportation services shall not be allocated any federal, state, or local funds otherwise earmarked for transportation-related expenses.