(a) The chartering entity that receives a request for preliminary approval of a charter school shall act on each request received prior to November 1 of a calendar year by February 1 of the next calendar year.
(b) The chartering entity shall give preliminary approval to the application if the chartering entity determines that (i) information contained in the application meets the requirements set out in this Part or adopted by the State Board of Education, (ii) the applicant has the ability to operate the school and would be likely to operate the school in an educationally and economically sound manner, and (iii) granting the application would improve student learning and would achieve one of the other purposes set out in G.S. 115C‑238.29A. In reviewing applications for the establishment of charter schools within a local school administrative unit, the chartering entity is encouraged to give preference to applications that demonstrate the capability to provide comprehensive learning experiences to students identified by the applicants as at risk of academic failure. If the chartering entity approves more than one application for charter schools located in a local school administrative unit, the chartering entity may state its order of preference among the applications that it approves.
(c) If a chartering entity other than the State Board disapproves an application, the applicant may appeal to the State Board of Education prior to February 15. The State Board shall consider the appeal at the same time it is considering final approval in accordance with G.S. 115C‑238.29D. The State Board shall give preliminary approval of the application if it finds that the chartering entity acted in an arbitrary or capricious manner in disapproving the application, failed to consider appropriately the application, or failed to act within the time set out in G.S. 115C‑238.29C.
If the chartering entity, the State Board of Education, or both, disapprove an application, the applicant may modify the application and reapply subject to the application deadline contained in subsection (a) of this section. (1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 731, s. 2.)