Article 13.

Community Schools Act.

115C-203. Title of Article.

This Article shall be known and may be cited as the "Community Schools Act." (1977, c. 682; 1981, c. 423, s. 1.)

 

115C-204. Purpose of Article.

The purpose of this Article is to encourage greater community involvement in the public schools and greater community use of public school facilities. To this end it is declared to be the policy of this State:

(1) To provide for increased involvement by citizens in their local schools through community schools advisory councils.

(2) To assure maximum use of public school facilities by the citizens of each community in this State.

It is further declared to be the policy of this State that, to the extent sufficient funds are made available, each local board of education shall comply with the provisions of this Article. (1977, c. 682; 1981, c. 423, s. 1.)

 

115C-205. Definitions.

As used in this Article:

(1) The term "community schools advisory council" means a committee of citizens organized to advise community school coordinators, administrators, and local boards of education in the involvement of citizens in the educational process and in the use of public school facilities.

(2) The term "community schools coordinator" means an employee of a local board of education whose responsibility it is to promote and direct maximum use of the public schools and public school facilities as centers for community development.

(3) The term "interagency council" means a committee of agency and organizational representatives appointed by the Governor to work with the Superintendent of Public Instruction concerning the involvement of statewide agencies and organizations with the public schools.

(4) The term "public school facility" means any education facility under the jurisdiction of a local board of education, whether termed an elementary school, middle school, junior high school, high school or union school. (1977, c. 682; 1981, c. 423, s. 1.)

 

115C-206. State Board of Education; duties; responsibilities.

The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall prepare and present to the State Board of Education recommendations for general guidelines for encouraging increased community involvement in the public schools and use of public school facilities. These recommendations shall include, but shall not be limited to provisions for:

(1) The use of public school facilities by governmental, charitable or civic organizations for activities within the community.

(2) The utilization of the talents and abilities of volunteers within the community for the enhancement of public school programs including tutoring, counseling and cultural programs and projects.

(3) Increased communications between the staff and faculty of the public schools, other community institutions and agencies, and citizens in the community.

(4) Local boards of education are to be directed to give priority in the use of school facilities to any youth group listed in Title 36 of the United States Code as a patriotic society, such as the Boy Scouts of America, and its affiliated North Carolina groups and councils, and the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, and its affiliated North Carolina groups and councils, in order to encourage schools to facilitate access for students to participate in activities provided by these groups at times other than instructional time during the school day for the purposes of encouraging civic education.

Based on the recommendations of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the State Board of Education shall adopt appropriate policies and guidelines for encouraging increased community involvement in the public schools and use of the public school facilities. (1977, c. 682; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1995, c. 450, s. 8; 2015-249, s. 1.)

 

115C-207. Authority and responsibility of local boards of education.

Every local board of education that uses State funds to implement programs under this Article shall:

(1) Develop programs and plans for increased community involvement in the public schools based upon policies and guidelines adopted by the State Board of Education.

(1a) Develop policies and programs designed to encourage the use of community-based academic booster organizations, which may be known as Community Achievement Network - Developing Our Educational Resources (CAN DOER) organizations, to provide tutoring and other appropriate services to encourage and support student academic achievement.

(1b) Develop policies and/or procedures for approving the use of volunteer organizations and for approving the use of individual volunteers.

(1c) Develop policies and/or procedures designed to make information available to parents and students about what tutoring and other academic support services are available to students in the community or through school volunteers or other community organizations.

(2) Develop programs and plans for increased community use of public school facilities based upon policies and guidelines adopted by the State Board of Education

(3) Establish rules governing the implementation of such programs and plans in its public schools and submit these rules along with adopted programs and plans to the State Board of Education for approval by the State Board of Education.

(4) Give priority in the use of school facilities to any youth group listed in Title 36 of the United States Code as a patriotic society, such as the Boy Scouts of America, and its affiliated North Carolina groups and councils, and the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, and its affiliated North Carolina groups and councils, in order to encourage schools to facilitate access for students to participate in activities provided by these groups at times other than instructional time during the school day for the purposes of encouraging civic education. If the local board of education denies priority access to a patriotic society listed in Title 36 of the United States Code, the local board shall provide reasons for the denial in writing to the requesting entity.

Programs and plans developed by a local board of education may provide for the establishment of one or more community schools advisory councils for the public schools under the board's jurisdiction and for the employment of one or more community schools coordinators. The local board of education shall establish the terms and conditions of employment for the community schools coordinators.

Every local board of education using State funds to implement a community schools program under this Article may enter into agreements with other local boards of education, agencies and institutions for the joint development of plans and programs and the joint expenditure of these State funds. (1977, c. 682; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1995, c. 450, s. 9; 2009-453, s. 1; 2015-249, s. 2.)

 

115C-208. Community schools advisory councils; duties; responsibilities; membership.

Every local board of education that establishes a community schools program under this Article may establish one or more community schools advisory councils which may become involved in matters affecting the educational process in accordance with rules established by the local board of education and approved by the State Board of Education and further may consider ways of increasing community involvement in the public schools and utilization of public school facilities. Community schools advisory councils may assist local boards of education in the development and preparation of the plans and programs to achieve such goals, may assist in the implementation of such plans and programs and may provide such other assistance as may be requested by the local boards of education.

Community schools advisory councils may work with local school officials and personnel, parent-teacher organizations, and community groups and agencies in providing maximum opportunities for public schools to serve the communities, and may encourage the maximum use of volunteers in the public schools.

At least one half of the members of each community schools advisory council should be the parents of students in the particular public school system: Provided, that less than twenty-five percent (25%) of the pupils attending a particular school reside outside the immediate community of the school, at least one half of the members should be parents of students in the particular school for which the advisory council is established. Wherever possible the local board of education is encouraged to include at least one high school student. The size of the councils and the terms of membership on the councils shall be determined by the local board of education in accordance with the State guidelines. (1977, c. 682; 1979, c. 828; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1995, c. 450, s. 10.)

 

115C-209. Community schools coordinators.

Every local board of education may employ one or more community schools coordinators and shall establish the terms and conditions of their employment. Community schools coordinators shall be responsible for:

(1) Providing support to the community schools advisory councils and public school officials.

(2) Fostering cooperation between the local board of education and appropriate community agencies.

(3) Encouraging maximum use of community volunteers in the public schools.

(4) Performing any other duties as may be assigned by the local superintendent and the local board of education, consistent with the purposes of this Article. (1977, c. 682; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1995, c. 450, s. 11.)

 

115C-209.1. Nondisclosure of certain volunteer records.

(a) The records comprising a volunteer file of a local school administrative unit are not public records as provided in Chapter 132 of the General Statutes. These records shall be open for inspection only to the following individuals:

(1) The volunteer, former volunteer, individual who applied to be a volunteer, or that individual's properly authorized agent who may examine the individual's file in its entirety at any reasonable time.

(2) The superintendent and other supervisory personnel.

(3) The parent or guardian of any student with whom the volunteer has or had contact.

(4) Members of the local board of education and the board's attorney.

(5) A party to a lawsuit, by authority of a subpoena or proper court order, only to the extent authorized by and in accordance with that subpoena or court order.

(b) A local board of education shall also release or permit the inspection of a volunteer file, except as prohibited by State or federal law, if prior to the release of the information or inspection of the file:

(1) The local board of education determines that the release of the information or inspection of the file is essential (i) to maintaining the integrity of the local board of education or (ii) to maintaining the level or quality of services provided by the local board of education; or

(2) The local board of education makes a written finding that there is a substantial showing of the criteria set forth in subdivision (1) of this subsection. The local board of education's written finding shall be a public record.

(c) A volunteer shall be notified at the time the individual applies to volunteer that the local board of education may maintain a volunteer file on the individual, and that information in that file may be open to inspection in accordance with this section.

(d) This section shall not be construed to require a local school administrative unit to maintain records on volunteers, former volunteers, or individuals applying to be volunteers.

(e) As used in this section, the following terms mean:

(1) Volunteer. - An individual who provides services to a local board of education without expectation of compensation and with the understanding that the local board of education is under no obligation to continue accepting those services or to compensate the volunteer for them.

(2) Volunteer file. - Any information collected by the local board of education regarding volunteers, former volunteers, and individuals applying to be volunteers that relates to the individual's application, selection or nonselection, performance, disciplinary action, or termination, wherever that information is located or in whatever form it is maintained. (2003-353, s. 1.)