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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

124D.095 On-line learning option.

Subdivision 1. Citation. This section may be cited as the "On-line Learning Option Act."

Subd. 2. Definitions. For purposes of this section, the following terms have the meanings given them.

(a) "On-line learning" is an interactive course or program that delivers instruction to a student by computer; is combined with other traditional delivery methods that include frequent student assessment and may include actual teacher contact time; and meets or exceeds state academic standards.

(b) "On-line learning provider" is a school district, an organization of two or more school districts operating under a joint powers agreement, or a charter school located in Minnesota that provides on-line learning to students.

(c) "Student" is a Minnesota resident enrolled in a school under section 120A.22, subdivision 4, in kindergarten through grade 12.

(d) "On-line learning student" is a student enrolled in an on-line learning course or program delivered by an on-line provider under paragraph (b).

(e) "Enrolling district" means the school district or charter school in which a student is enrolled under section 120A.22, subdivision 4, for purposes of compulsory attendance.

Subd. 3. Authorization; notice; limitations on enrollment. (a) A student may apply to an on-line learning provider to enroll in on-line learning. A student age 17 or younger must have the written consent of a parent or guardian to apply. No school district or charter school may prohibit a student from applying to enroll in on-line learning. An on-line learning provider that accepts a student under this section must, within ten days, notify the student and the enrolling district if the enrolling district is not the on-line learning provider. The notice must report the student's course or program and hours of instruction.

(b) An on-line learning student must notify the enrolling district at least 30 days before taking an on-line learning course or program if the enrolling district is not providing the on-line learning. An on-line learning provider must notify the commissioner that it is delivering on-line learning and report the number of on-line learning students it is accepting and the on-line learning courses and programs it is delivering.

(c) An on-line learning provider may limit enrollment if the provider's school board or board of directors adopts by resolution specific standards for accepting and rejecting students' applications.

(d) An enrolling district may reduce an on-line learning student's regular classroom instructional membership in proportion to the student's membership in on-line learning courses.

Subd. 4. On-line learning parameters. (a) An on-line learning student must receive academic credit for completing the requirements of an on-line learning course or program. Secondary credits granted to an on-line learning student must be counted toward the graduation and credit requirements of the enrolling district. The enrolling district must apply the same graduation requirements to all students, including on-line learning students, and must continue to provide nonacademic services to on-line learning students. If a student completes an on-line learning course or program that meets or exceeds a graduation standard or grade progression requirement at the enrolling district, that standard or requirement is met. The enrolling district must use the same criteria for accepting on-line learning credits or courses as it does for accepting credits or courses for transfer students under section 124D.03, subdivision 9. The enrolling district may reduce the teacher contact time of an on-line learning student in proportion to the number of on-line learning courses the student takes from an on-line learning provider that is not the enrolling district.

(b) An on-line learning student may:

(1) enroll during a single school year in a maximum of 12 semester-long courses or their equivalent delivered by an on-line learning provider or the enrolling district;

(2) complete course work at a grade level that is different from the student's current grade level; and

(3) enroll in additional courses with the on-line learning provider under a separate agreement that includes terms for payment of any tuition or course fees.

(c) A student with a disability may enroll in an on-line learning course or program if the student's IEP team determines that on-line learning is appropriate education for the student.

(d) An on-line learning student has the same access to the computer hardware and education software available in a school as all other students in the enrolling district. An on-line learning provider must assist an on-line learning student whose family qualifies for the education tax credit under section 290.0674 to acquire computer hardware and educational software for on-line learning purposes.

(e) An enrolling district may offer on-line learning to its enrolled students. Such on-line learning does not generate on-line learning funds under this section. An enrolling district that offers on-line learning only to its enrolled students is not subject to the reporting requirements or review criteria under subdivision 7. A teacher with a Minnesota license must assemble and deliver instruction to enrolled students receiving on-line learning from an enrolling district. The instruction may include curriculum developed by persons other than a teacher with a Minnesota license.

(f) An on-line learning provider that is not the enrolling district is subject to the reporting requirements and review criteria under subdivision 7. A teacher with a Minnesota license must assemble and deliver instruction to on-line learning students. The instruction may include curriculum developed by persons other than a teacher with a Minnesota license. Unless the commissioner grants a waiver, a teacher providing on-line learning instruction must not instruct more than 40 students in any one on-line learning course or program.

Subd. 5. Participation in extracurricular activities. An on-line learning student may participate in the extracurricular activities of the enrolling district on the same basis as other enrolled students.

Subd. 6. Information. School districts and charter schools must make available information about on-line learning to all interested people.

Subd. 7. Department of Education. (a) The department must review and certify on-line learning providers. The on-line learning courses and programs must be rigorous, aligned with state academic standards, and contribute to grade progression in a single subject. On-line learning providers must affirm to the commissioner that on-line learning courses have equivalent standards or instruction, curriculum, and assessment requirements as other courses offered to enrolled students. The on-line learning provider must also demonstrate expectations for actual teacher contact time or other student-to-teacher communication. Once an on-line learning provider is approved under this paragraph, all of its on-line learning course offerings are eligible for payment under this section unless a course is successfully challenged by an enrolling district or the department under paragraph (b).

(b) An enrolling district may challenge the validity of a course offered by an on-line learning provider. The department must review such challenges based on the certification procedures under paragraph (a). The department may initiate its own review of the validity of an on-line learning course offered by an on-line learning provider.

(c) The department may collect a fee not to exceed $250 for certifying on-line learning providers or $50 per course for reviewing a challenge by an enrolling district.

(d) The department must develop, publish, and maintain a list of approved on-line learning providers and on-line learning courses and programs that it has reviewed and certified.

Subd. 8. Financial arrangements. (a) For a student enrolled in an on-line learning course, the department must calculate average daily membership and make payments according to this subdivision.

(b) The initial on-line learning average daily membership equals 1/12 for each semester course or a proportionate amount for courses of different lengths. The adjusted on-line learning average daily membership equals the initial on-line learning average daily membership times .88.

(c) No on-line learning average daily membership shall be generated if: (1) the student does not complete the on-line learning course, or (2) the student is enrolled in on-line learning provided by the enrolling district and the student was enrolled in a Minnesota public school for the school year before the school year in which the student first enrolled in on-line learning.

(d) On-line learning average daily membership under this subdivision for a student currently enrolled in a Minnesota public school and who was enrolled in a Minnesota public school for the school year before the school year in which the student first enrolled in on-line learning shall be used only for computing average daily membership according to section 126C.05, subdivision 19, paragraph (a), clause (ii), and for computing on-line learning aid according to section 126C.24.

(e) On-line learning average daily membership under this subdivision for students not included in paragraph (c) or (d) shall be used only for computing average daily membership according to section 126C.05, subdivision 19, paragraph (a), clause (ii), and for computing payments under paragraphs (f) and (g).

(f) Subject to the limitations in this subdivision, the department must pay an on-line learning provider an amount equal to the product of the adjusted on-line learning average daily membership for students under paragraph (e) times the student grade level weighting under section 126C.05, subdivision 1, times the formula allowance.

(g) The department must pay each on-line learning provider 100 percent of the amount in paragraph (f) within 45 days of receiving final enrollment and course completion information each quarter or semester.

Subd. 9. Payment priority. (a) To the extent funds are available, the commissioner must pay an on-line learning provider according to subdivision 8, in the order in which an on-line learning provider notifies the commissioner under subdivision 3, paragraph (b), that it is delivering on-line learning. The on-line learning provider must submit to the commissioner any student information necessary to process payments under this section.

(b) Before paying other on-line learning providers under paragraph (a), the commissioner must pay providers that delivered on-line learning in fiscal year 2003. (1) First, the commissioner must pay for students who were enrolled in a Minnesota on-line learning program during fiscal year 2003 and continue to be enrolled in that on-line learning program during the current fiscal year. (2) Second, the commissioner must pay for other students enrolled in that on-line learning program during the current fiscal year. A provider's qualifying number of pupils under clauses (1) and (2) shall not exceed 100 percent of the fiscal year 2003 pupils. An on-line learning provider that qualifies under this paragraph may also submit an application for funding for additional pupils under paragraph (a).

(c) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), the commissioner may establish criteria to limit the increase in the number of qualifying pupils for an on-line learning provider to enable start-up or growth of other providers.

HIST: 1Sp2003 c 9 art 2 s 20