As used in this chapter:

(1) A "charter school" means a public, nonreligious, nonhome-based, nonprofit corporation forming a school that operates by sponsorship of a public school district, the South Carolina Public Charter School District, or a public or independent institution of higher learning, but is accountable to the board of trustees, or in the case of technical colleges, the area commission, of the sponsor which grants its charter. Nothing in this chapter prohibits charter schools from offering virtual services pursuant to state law and subsequent regulations defining virtual schools.

Terms Used In South Carolina Code 59-40-40

  • Applicant: means the person who or nonprofit corporate entity that desires to form a charter school and files the necessary application with the South Carolina Public Charter School District Board of Trustees, the local school board of trustees in which the charter school is to be located, or the board of trustees or area commission of a public or independent institution of higher learning. See South Carolina Code 59-40-40
  • Charter committee: means the governing body of a charter school formed by the applicant to govern through the application process and until the election of a board of directors is held. See South Carolina Code 59-40-40
  • charter school: means a public, nonreligious, nonhome-based, nonprofit corporation forming a school that operates by sponsorship of a public school district, the South Carolina Public Charter School District, or a public or independent institution of higher learning, but is accountable to the board of trustees, or in the case of technical colleges, the area commission, of the sponsor which grants its charter. See South Carolina Code 59-40-40
  • Contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
  • Corporation: A legal entity owned by the holders of shares of stock that have been issued, and that can own, receive, and transfer property, and carry on business in its own name.
  • Guardian: A person legally empowered and charged with the duty of taking care of and managing the property of another person who because of age, intellect, or health, is incapable of managing his (her) own affairs.
  • Local school district: means any school district in the State except the South Carolina Public Charter School District and does not include special school districts. See South Carolina Code 59-40-40
  • Sponsor: means the South Carolina Public Charter School District Board of Trustees, the local school board of trustees in which the charter school is to be located, as provided by law, a public institution of higher learning as defined in Section 59-103-5, or an independent institution of higher learning as defined in Section 59-113-50, from which the charter school applicant requested its charter and which granted approval for the charter school's existence. See South Carolina Code 59-40-40

(2) A charter school:

(a) is, for purposes of state law and the state constitution, considered a public school and part of the South Carolina Public Charter School District, the local school district in which it is located, or is sponsored by a public or independent institution of higher learning;

(b) is subject to all federal and state laws and constitutional provisions prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, gender, national origin, religion, ancestry, or need for special education services; however, an applicant may seek to form a single gender charter school without regard to the gender makeup of that proposed charter school;

(c) must be administered and governed by a governing body in a manner agreed to by the charter school applicant and the sponsor, the governing body to be selected as provided in Section 59-40-50(B)(9);

(d) may not charge tuition or other charges pursuant to Section 59-19-90(8) except as may be allowed by the sponsor and is comparable to the charges of the local school district in which the charter school is located;

(e) is subject to the same fixed asset inventory requirements as are traditional public schools.

(3) "Applicant" means the person who or nonprofit corporate entity that desires to form a charter school and files the necessary application with the South Carolina Public Charter School District Board of Trustees, the local school board of trustees in which the charter school is to be located, or the board of trustees or area commission of a public or independent institution of higher learning. The applicant also must be the person who or the nonprofit corporate entity that applies to the Secretary of State to organize the charter school as a nonprofit corporation.

(4) "Sponsor" means the South Carolina Public Charter School District Board of Trustees, the local school board of trustees in which the charter school is to be located, as provided by law, a public institution of higher learning as defined in Section 59-103-5, or an independent institution of higher learning as defined in Section 59-113-50, from which the charter school applicant requested its charter and which granted approval for the charter school’s existence. Only those public or independent institutions of higher learning, as defined in this subsection, who register with the South Carolina Department of Education may serve as charter school sponsors, and the department shall maintain a directory of those institutions. The sponsor of a charter school is the charter school’s Local Education Agency (LEA) and a charter school is a school within that LEA. The sponsor retains responsibility for special education and shall ensure that students enrolled in its charter schools are served in a manner consistent with LEA obligations under applicable federal, state, and local law.

(5) "Certified teacher" means a person currently certified by the State of South Carolina to teach in a public elementary or secondary school or who currently meets the qualifications outlined in Sections 59-27-10 and 59-25-115.

(6) "Noncertified teacher" means an individual considered appropriately qualified for the subject matter taught and who has completed at least one year of study at an accredited college or university and meets the qualifications outlined in Section 59-25-115.

(7) "Charter committee" means the governing body of a charter school formed by the applicant to govern through the application process and until the election of a board of directors is held. After the election, the board of directors of the corporation must be organized as the governing body and the charter committee is dissolved.

(8) "Local school district" means any school district in the State except the South Carolina Public Charter School District and does not include special school districts.

(9) "Charter school contract" means a fixed term, renewable contract between a charter school and a sponsor that outlines the roles, powers, responsibilities, and performance expectations for each party to the contract.

(10) "Resident public school" means the school, other than a charter school, within whose attendance boundaries the charter school student’s custodial parent or legal guardian resides.