If a district is contracting with a third-party organization to provide instruction, these responsibilities apply to both districts running online school programs and to districts who offer individual online courses. Note that the contractual relationship can include either a direct contract with a course or program provider or use of DLD online courses.
Districts must follow the regulations regarding:
OSPI has developed a model agreement for school districts to use when contracting with online school program providers. School districts may, at their discretion, use the contract template when engaging a third-party provider to offer the provider's programs to students in the district.
Board's Powers and Duties when Contracting
Districts must comply with RCW 28A.320.035 regarding contracting. This statute gives district boards of directors the ability to contract to implement the board’s powers and duties, including instructional services.
There are two provisions of note:
- “When a school district board of directors contracts for educational, instructional, or specialized services, the purpose of the contract must be to improve student learning or achievement.”
- “A contract…may not be made with a religious or sectarian organization or school where the contract would violate the state or federal Constitution.”
Action: Districts must comply with RCW 28A.320.035.
Citation: RCW 28A.320.035
Instruction Provided Under Contract
WAC 392-121-188 covers instruction provided under contract from a third-party course or program provider. There are nineteen requirements that must be met in order for the instruction to be counted as a “course of study” and claimed for state funding. All provisions must be followed, but a few specific items should be noted:
- The school district board of directors must adopt a resolution that “concludes it is in the best interest of the students to expand the options available by providing an appropriate basic education program pursuant to the contract, and, sets forth the rationale in support of the conclusion." A board adopted resolution is not required when purchasing online courses from OSPI-approved providers.
- The provider must provide “instruction free of sectarian or religious influence or control.”
- The provider “charges the student no tuition for enrollment.”
- The curriculum must be approved by the district. District approval for online course curriculum is not required for online courses purchased from OSPI-approved providers.
- The district must report certificated instructional staff (CIS) from the provider on the S-275, if the CIS, at any time during the school year, spends more than 25 percent of a full-time equivalent time with students for a given school district.
- Districts that purchase online courses through the DLD are exempt from the requirement to execute a written contract and establish a compliance monitoring process. (The contract and compliance monitoring are already in place at the DLD.)
- School districts must require the provider to clearly state in all of the provider's advertising, publicity, or public statements regarding the contracted service that the service is being offered by the school district under contract.
Action: Districts must comply with all provisions of WAC 392-121-188.
Citation: WAC 392-121-188