15-792.03. Grand Canyon diploma

A. The private organization selected pursuant to section 15-792.02 shall develop the Grand Canyon diploma to be approved and adopted by the state board of education.  School districts and charter schools in this state may choose to offer a Grand Canyon diploma.  A high school student who is enrolled in a school district or charter school that offers a Grand Canyon diploma may choose to pursue a Grand Canyon diploma.

B. Students are eligible for the Grand Canyon diploma and may be awarded the Grand Canyon diploma at the end of grade ten or during or at the end of grade eleven or twelve if the students meet the criteria.  Students who elect to pursue a Grand Canyon diploma shall participate in a board examination system that consists of internationally benchmarked instructional programs of study chosen by an interstate compact on board examination systems.

C. Students who are eligible for a Grand Canyon diploma shall have multiple pathways available to them and may:

1. Enroll the following semester in a community college under the jurisdiction of a community college district in this state. Community colleges under the jurisdiction of a community college district in this state shall admit students who obtain a Grand Canyon diploma and who otherwise meet the qualifications for admission.  The school district or charter school from which the student earned the Grand Canyon diploma shall include that student in the school district's or charter school's average daily membership and shall continue to receive per pupil funding for a student who earns a Grand Canyon diploma until that student would otherwise have graduated at the end of grade twelve, as long as that student is enrolled as a full-time student in a community college under the jurisdiction of a community college district in this state. The school district or charter school shall subtract twenty percent of its average daily membership amount and reimburse the community college if the student has earned a Grand Canyon diploma and is attending a community college as a full-time student. If the student attends community college on a community college campus, the school district or charter school shall reimburse the community college district for the amount of operating and capital outlay full-time student equivalency monies. For the purposes of this paragraph, the amount of operating full-time student equivalency monies shall be equivalent to the average appropriation per full-time student equivalent for all community college districts as calculated pursuant to section 15-1466, subsection C, paragraph 2. Fifty percent of the remaining balance of the per pupil funding shall be used for teacher and pupil incentives, including scholarship programs, to offset the costs of board examinations and to provide customized programs of assistance for students who do not pass the board examinations.  The other fifty percent shall be used for maintenance and operations, including capital. Under this paragraph, a student who earns a Grand Canyon diploma is responsible for tuition. A student who earns a Grand Canyon diploma may enroll in community college courses offered on a community college campus or a high school campus, or both.  Notwithstanding any other law, community college districts shall not classify a student who remains in high school pursuant to this paragraph as a full-time equivalent student.  Students who take courses on high school campuses pursuant to this paragraph shall be eligible to participate in extracurricular activities, including interscholastic sports, through the end of grade twelve. The expenditure by community college districts of payments from the school district or charter school to the community colleges under this section shall not be included under the district expenditure limitation prescribed pursuant to article IX, section 21, Constitution of Arizona. If the instruction provided under this paragraph is offered on a community college campus, the funding and implementation mechanics between the school district or charter school and the community college shall be determined by agreement between the school district or charter school and the community college.

2. Remain in high school and enroll in additional advanced preparation board examination programs that are designed to prepare those students for admission to selective postsecondary institutions that offer baccalaureate degree programs. These board examination programs shall be selected from a list approved by an interstate compact for board examination systems. The school district or charter school from which the student became eligible for the Grand Canyon diploma shall include that student in the school district's or charter school's average daily membership and shall continue to receive per pupil funding for a student who is eligible for a Grand Canyon diploma until that student would otherwise have graduated at the end of grade twelve, as long as that student is enrolled in approved advanced preparation board examination programs at that school district or charter school.  Students who elect to remain in high school pursuant to this paragraph shall not be prevented from enrolling at a high school after the pupil becomes eligible for a Grand Canyon diploma and shall be eligible to participate in extracurricular activities, including interscholastic sports, through the end of grade twelve.

3. Enroll in a full-time career and technical education program offered on a high school campus or a career technical education district campus, or any combination of these campuses.  Students who elect to remain in high school pursuant to this paragraph shall not be prevented from enrolling at a high school after the pupil becomes eligible for a Grand Canyon diploma and shall be eligible to participate in extracurricular activities, including interscholastic sports, through the end of grade twelve. The school district or charter school from which the student became eligible for the Grand Canyon diploma shall include that student in the school district's or charter school's average daily membership and shall continue to receive per pupil funding for a student who is eligible for a Grand Canyon diploma until that student would otherwise have graduated at the end of grade twelve, as long as that student is enrolled in an approved full-time career and technical education program. Notwithstanding any other law, if the instruction provided under this paragraph is provided by a career technical education district in a full-time career and technical education program that is designed to lead to a certificate that is awarded by an industry or recognized as meeting industry standards, the sum of the average daily membership for that pupil shall not exceed 1.25, and the average daily membership shall be apportioned at 1.0 for the career technical education district and 0.25 for the school district.

4. Remain in high school without completing the next level of board examination systems and participate in programs of study available to the students through the school district or charter school. The school district or charter school will continue to include the students in the school district's or charter school's count and shall continue to receive per pupil funding for the students until those students would have otherwise graduated at the end of grade twelve, as long as those students are enrolled in approved programs of study at that school district or charter school.  Students who elect to remain in high school pursuant to this paragraph shall be eligible to participate in extracurricular activities, including interscholastic sports.

5. If accepted for admission to a university under the jurisdiction of the Arizona board of regents, enroll in the university after completion of additional high school coursework designed to prepare students for admission to selective postsecondary institutions that offer baccalaureate degrees.  The school district or charter school from which the student earned the Grand Canyon diploma shall include that student in the school district's or charter school's average daily membership and shall continue to receive per pupil funding for a student who earns a Grand Canyon diploma until that student would otherwise have graduated at the end of grade twelve for as long as that student is enrolled as a full-time student in the university.  One-third of the school district's or charter school's average daily membership amount shall be retained by the school district or the operator of the charter school.  One-third of the school district's or charter school's average daily membership amount shall be retained for use at the school site.  One-third of the school district's or charter school's average daily membership amount shall be distributed as follows:

(a) One-half shall be deposited in a scholarship account established and managed by the school district from which the student graduated specifically for a student who qualifies for the Grand Canyon diploma and who attends a university under the jurisdiction of the Arizona board of regents as a full-time student.

(b) One-half shall be retained by the university where the student is enrolled.

D. Students who pursue but do not meet the eligibility requirements for a Grand Canyon diploma at the end of grade ten or eleven shall receive a customized program of assistance during the next school year that addresses areas in which the student demonstrated deficiencies in the approved board examinations. These students may retake the board examinations at the next available examination administration. Students may choose to return to a traditional academic program without completing the board examination system curriculum.

E. The private organization selected pursuant to section 15-792.02 shall develop detailed requirements for students to become eligible for the Grand Canyon diploma, as approved and adopted by the state board of education, that include at least the following:

1. Demonstrated skills and knowledge in English and mathematical literacy to be successful in college level courses offered by the community colleges in this state that count toward a degree or certificate without taking remedial or developmental coursework as determined by an interstate compact on board examination systems.

2. Satisfactory grades on approved board examinations in subjects determined to be necessary to prepare a student to enter community college without remedial or developmental coursework and that do not include coursework required exclusively for entry into an institution that awards baccalaureate degrees.