Charter Schools: What organizations may authorize charter schools, and is there a statewide authorizing body?

Charter Schools: What organizations may authorize charter schools, and is there a statewide authorizing body?

January 2020


This resource contains information about the 45 states, plus the District of Columbia, with charter school laws. It does not contain any information for the five states that have not enacted charter school laws.
 

What organizations may authorize charter schools, and is there a statewide authorizing body?
Alabama Local school boards and the Alabama Charter School Commission may authorize charter schools - provided the school board has applied to be a certified authorizer. The Alabama Charter School Commission may authorize schools in areas where a local school system has not registered as an authorizing authority.

The Alabama Charter School Commission may act as a statewide authorizing body when an application has been denied by a local school board or when a local school board has chosen not to register as an authorizer.

Citations: Ala. Code § 16-6F-6
Alaska Local school boards authorize, with review and approval of the state board of education.

There is no statewide authorizing body.

Citations: Alaska Stat. Ann. § 14.03.250
Arizona The following organizations may authorize charter schools:
  • The state board of education.
  • The state board for charter schools.
  • A university under the jurisdiction of the Arizona board of regents.
  • A community college district or a group of community college districts.

Neither the state board for charter schools nor the state board of education may grant a charter to a school district governing board for a new charter school or for the conversion of an existing district public school to a charter school.

The operator of a charter school must conduct a public meeting at least thirty days before a charter school site is opened, unless the charter school operator is already subject to a public meeting or hearing by the municipality in which the charter school is located.

The state board for charter schools serves as the statewide authorizing body.

Citations: Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-183
Arkansas The following organizations may authorize charter schools:

A local district supporting a public school conversion within its boundaries needs to approve such a conversion, but final approval is required from the authorizer. Applications to an authorizer for a charter school - whether it is for an adult education charter school, open-enrollment public charter school or conversion public charter school - must include a description of the results of a public hearing held for the purpose of assessing support of the charter school.

The state department of education is a statewide authorizing body, with jurisdiction and authority over all public charters. It is authorized to approve, reject, renew, not renew, modify, revoke, place on probation, or deny on a proposed or existing charter.<
The commissioner is authorized to appoint a charter schools authorizing panel that may consist of people from outside the department as well as professional staff.
  • the department of education, and
  • the state board of education.


Citations: Ark. Code Ann. § 6-23-103; Ark. Code Ann. § 6-23-302; Ark. Code Ann. § 6-23-201; Ark. Code Ann. § 6-23-1001; Ark. Code Ann. § 6-23-701
California The following organizations may authorize charter schools:
  • A local school board,
  • a county board of education, and
  • the state board of education.

Local school boards have all the monitoring and supervisory authority of a chartering agency except for revocation (only the state board has that authority).

The state board of education may approve a charter school operating in multiple sites throughout the state if the charter will provide instructional services of statewide benefit. County offices of education and the state board of education hear appeals.

Within 60 days of receiving a petition to establish a charter school, the governing board of the school district must hold a public hearing on the provisions of the charter in order to consider the level of support for the petition by teachers employed in the school district, other employees of the school district, and parents.

The state board of education serves as a statewide authorizing body.

Citations: Cal. Educ. Code § 47605
Colorado A charter school applicant may submit an application to a school district or, if the school district in which the charter school is to be located has not retained exclusive authority to authorize charter schools from the state board of education, to the state charter school institute.

Local boards of education must hold community meetings in the affected areas or the entire school district to obtain information to inform its decision on charter school application approval.

The state charter school institute serves as a statewide authorizing body and may authorize charter schools in districts that do not have exclusive chartering authority.

Prior to ruling on the application for an institute charter school, at least one representative from the state charter school institute must hold a public meeting in the school district in which the institute charter school would be located, and must take public testimony regarding whether to approve or disapprove the application.

Citations: Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 22-30.5-107; Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 22-30.5-510; Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 22-30.5-504
Connecticut A local charter school, which is a public school or part of a public school that is converted into a charter school, must be approved by the local or regional board of education and then by the state board of education. A state charter school, which is a new public school, must be approved by the state board of education. The state board reviews and grants initial certificates of approval for any local or state charter school located in a town that has one or more schools that have been designated as a commissioner's network school, or a town that has been designated as a low achieving school district.

As a part of the application approval process, the local or regional school board must hold a public hearing in the school district and survey parents and teachers in the school district to determine if there is sufficient interest in the establishment and operation of a local charter school. After granting an initial certificate of approval for a charter, the state board of education must submit a copy of the initial certificate of approval for the charter, and a summary of the public hearing comments, to the relevant committees of the General Assembly. The General Assembly may then appropriate funds for the purpose of providing grants to local and state charter schools, upon which the initial certificate of charter would be effective and deemed a charter upon funding.

The state board of education is the statewide authorizing body for all new charter schools in the state.

Citations: Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 10-66bb
Delaware Local school boards may approve either conversion or start-up charter schools within district boundaries.

The state department of education may approve start-up charter schools, but must receive approval from the secretary of education and the state board. In addition, for a charter school applicant seeking to locate in the City of Wilmington, the mayor and the city council may review and provide comment regarding the likely impact of the proposed charter school on students in the city.

Authorizers must hold public hearings on a charter school application.

The state department of education could be considered a statewide authorizer, although it does not consider appeals.

Citations: Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 511; Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 512
District of Columbia The board of education or the Public Charter School Board may authorize charter schools. The law also allows the D.C. Council to designate other entities as authorizers by legislation. A public hearing must be held no later than 45 days after a petition to establish a public charter school is filed with an eligible chartering authority. The purpose of the public hearing is to gather information necessary for the eligible chartering authority to make the decision to approve or deny the petition.

The public charter school board appears to serve as a statewide (district-wide) authorizing body.

Citations: D.C. Code § 38-1800.02; D.C. Code § 38-1802.11; D.C. Code § 38-1802.03; D.C. Code § 38-1802.14
Florida A district school board may sponsor a charter school in the county over which the district school board has jurisdiction. A state university may grant a charter to a lab school. The charter is to be signed by the governing board of the charter school and the sponsor following a public hearing meant to generate community input.

There does not appear to be a statewide authorizing body.

Citations: Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.33
Georgia The following organizations may authorize charter schools:
  • Local boards (a county or independent board of education), with approval from the local board and the state board.
  • The state board. This includes applications from local boards to start a charter school. The state board must approve an application if the application has been approved by the local board in which the proposed charter school would be located and the application complies with applicable rules. The state board must receive recommendations and input from the charter advisory committee prior to approving or denying a charter application.
  • The state charter schools commission.

The state charter schools commission serves as a state-level authorizing entity working in collaboration with the department of education under the authority of the state board.

The state charter schools commission may charter a state charter school that meets one of the following:

  • Has a state-wide attendance zone.
  • Has a defined attendance zone and demonstrates that it has special characteristics, such as a special population, a special curriculum, or some other feature or features that enhance educational opportunities, which may include the demonstration of a need to enroll students across multiple communities or an alternative delivery system.

The state charter schools commission may approve or deny petitions for state charter schools and renew, nonrenew, or terminate state charter school petitions. The state board reviews and may overrule the commission, however.

The State Board of Education and the State Charter Schools Commission are required to jointly establish a code of principles and standards of charter school authorizing to guide local boards of education, the state board, and the State Charter Schools Commission in meeting high-quality authorizing practices. The principles and standards established by the state board and the State Charter Schools Commission are to include:

  • Maintaining high standards for approving charter petitions.
  • Establishing high academic, financial, and operational performance standards for charter schools.
  • Annually monitoring, evaluating, and reporting charter school progress in meeting academic, financial, and operational performance standards.
  • Upholding charter school autonomy in school governance, instructional program implementation, personnel, and budgeting.
  • Protecting students and holding charter schools accountable for their obligations to all students.
  • Protecting the public interest and holding charter schools accountable for their obligations of governance, management, and oversight of public funds.
The state board is required to provide for the annual review of local boards of education by an independent party for adherence to the principles and standards of charter school authorizing practices adopted by the state board.

Citations: Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-2062; Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-2064; Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-2064.1; Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-2082; Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-2083; Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-2084; Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-2063.3
Hawaii The state public charter school commission is the statewide authorizer. The following organizations may apply to the board for chartering authority:
  • Governing boards of accredited public and private postsecondary institutions, including community colleges, technical colleges, and four-year universities. These institutions may be granted statewide, regional, or local chartering authority, in accordance with each institution's regular operating jurisdiction
  • A county or state agency.
  • Governing boards of non-profit organizations may be granted statewide chartering authority.

All authorizers are required to follow nationally recognized principles and standards for quality charter authorizing in all major areas of authorizing responsibility, including:

  • Organizational capacity and infrastructure.
  • Soliciting and evaluating charter applications.
  • Performance contracting.
  • Ongoing public charter school oversight and evaluation.
  • Charter and charter contract renewal decision-making.
Evidence of material or persistent failure to do so constitute grounds for losing charter authorizing powers.

Citations: Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 302D-3; Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 302D-4; Haw. Rev. Stat. § 302D-5; Haw. Rev. Stat. § 302D-6
Idaho The following may authorize charter schools:
  • A local board of trustees of a school district.
  • The public charter school commission.
  • An Idaho public college, university or community college.
  • A private, nonprofit Idaho-based, nonsectarian college or university that is accredited by the same organization that accredits Idaho public colleges and universities.

Only local school boards may approve conversion charter schools located in their district.

The public charter school commission is a statewide authorizing body and monitors charter school operations.

If the authorized chartering entity is the public charter school commission, commission staff must arrange for a hearing where petitioners may testify to support or refute the authorization recommendation. All other authorized chartering entities may develop their own hearing process.

Citations: Idaho Code Ann. § 33-5202A; Idaho Code Ann. § 33-5205
Illinois Applications may be authorized by local school boards or the state board of education. Previously the State Charter School Commission played a role in authorization, but on July 1, 2020 that commission will be abolished and its powers, protocols and responsibilities will be transferred to the state board of education. On July 1, 2020 all charter schools that had been authorized by the commission will have their authorization transferred to the state board of education, which will then become the school's authorizer.

In the case of a referendum-based charter petition, before circulating a petition to submit the question to voters, the proposal must be submitted to the state board to verify that it complies with state charter school law.

The state board of education has statewide chartering jurisdiction and authority. The board is the chartering entity for charter schools that are initiated from a ballot measure approved by local residents, and for schools approved by the board on appeal. Any charter school may seek a transfer of authorization from the local school board to the state board with approval from the local school board.

Citations: 105 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 5/27A-6.5; 105 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 5/27A-7.5; 105 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 5/27A-7
Indiana Potential authorizers include:
  • Local school boards (may apply for local authority).
  • Public educational institutions that offer a 4-year baccalaureate degree.
  • The executive of a consolidated city (mayor of Indianapolis through the Indianapolis charter school board).
  • The Indiana charter school board.
  • A governing board of a nonprofit postsecondary institution that offers 4-year baccalaureate degrees or advanced degrees.

To be approved as an authorizer, potential authorizers register with the state board. A local school board may register for charter authority within its attendance area. A governing board of a nonprofit college or university may apply for statewide, regional or local chartering authority.

To register as an authorizer, each interested governing body must submit the following information in a format prescribed by the state board:

  • A written notification of intent to serve as a charter authorizer
  • An explanation of the governing body's strategic vision for chartering.
  • An explanation of the governing body's budget and personnel capacity and commitment to execute the duties of quality charter authorizing.
  • An explanation of how the governing body will solicit charter school applicants.
  • A description or outline of the performance framework the governing body will use to guide the establishment of a charter contract and for the oversight and evaluation of charter schools.
  • A draft of the governing body's renewal, revocation, and nonrenewal processes.
  • A statement of assurance that the governing body commits to serving as a charter authorizer in fulfillment of the expectations, spirit, and intent of state law, and that the governing body will fully adopt standards of quality charter school authorizing.

Within 30 days of the state board's decision to grant authorizing authority, it must execute a renewable authorizing contract for an initial term of 6 years. The authorizing contract must specify the approved applicant's agreement to serve as a charter authorizer in accordance with state law and must specify additional performance terms based on the applicant's proposal and plan for chartering.

Before issuing a charter, the authorizer (unless it is the executive of a consolidated city) must conduct a public hearing concerning the establishment of the proposed charter school. At the hearing, the governing body of the school corporation in which the proposed charter school would be located must be given an opportunity to comment on the effect of the proposed charter school on the school corporation, including any foreseen negative impacts.

The Indiana charter school board is a statewide authorizing body.

Citations: Ind. Code Ann. § 20-24-1-2.5; Ind. Code Ann. § 20-24-2.2-1.2; Ind. Code Ann. § 20-24-2.1-1; Ind. Code Ann. § 20-24-3-5.5
Iowa Both a local school board and the state board of education must approve a charter application. (Once a local board has approved, it submits the application to the state board.) Innovation zone applications are submitted for approval to the state board.

There is no statewide authorizing body.

Citations: Iowa Code Ann. § 256F.3
Kansas A local school board and the state board of education is each required to approve a charter application.

There is no statewide authorizing body named as such, except that the state board does approve any virtual schools established under the Virtual Schools Act, gives final approval to public innovative districts and to charters initially approved by local boards.

After receiving a petition for establishment, a board of education must hold a public hearing on the petition, and must make their ruling on the petition within 30 days of the hearing.

Citations: Kan. Stat. Ann. § 72-4208; Kan. Stat. Ann. § 72-3711
Kentucky Authorizers may include:
  • A local board of education in which a charter school is located.
  • A collaborative among local boards.
  • A mayor of a consolidated local government (may only authorize charter schools to be physically located within the county in which the city is located and is required to submit a written notice to the state board that he or she intends to serve as an authorizer).
  • The chief executive officer of an urban-county government (with the same conditions applying as with a mayor).

Applications are required to be submitted simultaneously to an authorizer and to the state board.

There is no statewide authorizing body. However, after an authorizer approves an application, it is required to submit it to the department for approval by the commissioner of education.

Citations: Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 160.1590; Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 160.1593; Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 160.1594
Louisiana “Chartering authority” is defined as either a local school board or the state board.

The state board is authorized to function as a statewide authorizing body.

Prior to approving a Type 1 or Type 3 charter, the local school board considering the proposal must hold a public hearing to receive public input on the proposal. Prior to approving a Type 2 charter school proposals, the local school board for the location of the proposed charter school, as well as other interested groups, must be allowed to present information at a public meeting of the state board.

Citations: La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:3973; La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:3981; La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:3983
Maine The following organizations may authorize charter schools:
  • Local school boards (if creating a charter school within the school district's boundaries),
  • the state charter school commission, and
  • a collaborative formed among school boards to set up a regional charter school, but only if the authorizer has issued a request for proposals.

The charter school commission serves as a statewide authorizing body and the sole authorizer for virtual charter schools.

The application review process must include a public hearing.

Citations: Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. 20-A § 2405
Maryland County school boards are the primary authorizers. The state board of education is the chartering authority for some restructured schools or schools approved on appeal.

The state board of education serves as a statewide authorizing body in that it acts as an authorizer for some restructured charter schools and, in some cases, for charter schools approved on an appeal.

Citations: Md. Code Ann., Educ. § 9-103
Massachusetts The state board of education authorizes commonwealth charter schools and Horace Mann charter schools. However, Horace Mann charters must also be approved by the district board of education and the local collective bargaining unit in the district where the school is located. A conversion Horace Mann charter school does not require approval of the collective bargaining unit, but is required to have a memorandum of understanding regarding any waivers to the collective bargaining agreement in the district.

The state board is a statewide authorizing body. It authorizes all charter schools, although applications must also be filed with local school districts and in some instances, receive approval from local school boards and local collective bargaining units.

Before final approval to establish a commonwealth charter school, the board must hold a public hearing, located in the school district in which the proposed school is to be located, in order to solicit and review comments on the application from the local school committee of each school district from which the charter school is expected to enroll students, as well as from any contiguous districts.

Citations: Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 71 § 89
Michigan The following organizations may authorize charter schools:
  • Local school boards,
  • Intermediate school boards,
  • Community colleges or state public universities, or
  • Two or more local education agencies operating under an interlocal agreement
A statewide authorizing body is defined as the governing board of a state public university or the board of a federal tribally controlled community college that is recognized under the tribally controlled colleges and universities assistance act and meets the requirements for accreditation by a recognized regional accrediting body. The University authorizers have the ability to issue charters anywhere in the state.

Citations: Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 380.501; Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 380.502; Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 380.552
Minnesota The following organizations may authorize charter schools:
  • local school boards;
  • intermediate school boards;
  • educational district cooperatives;
  • non-sectarian nonprofit organizations (including those formed solely to authorize charter schools);
  • public postsecondary institutions; and
  • private colleges.

Charter schools that are authorized by a school board may be located in any school district unless the school board of the school district in which the proposed school would be located submits a written resolution disapproving of the location. Authorizers must apply to and be approved by the Commissioner of Education.

There is no statewide authorizing body, but charter operators must file an affidavit with the Commissioner of Education during the application process and the affidavit must be approved by the Commissioner prior to final approval.

Citations: Minn. Stat. Ann. § 124E.05, § 124E.06
Mississippi The Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board is the state's sole authorizer and a statewide authorizing body. The Board may only authorize charter schools in school districts with a C rating or higher if a majority of the local school board votes at a public meeting to endorse the application or if the school board initiates the application.

Citations: Miss. Code Ann. § 37-28-5, § 37-28-7
Missouri The following entities may sponsor charter schools:
  • A school board in any district that was sponsoring a charter school as of August 27, 2012 and located in certain school districts or a special administrative board granted authority to operate a school district.
  • An accredited public 4-year college or university with an approved teacher education program.
  • A community college whose service area encompasses some portion of the district.
  • Any private 4-year college or university with its primary campus in Missouri and an approved teacher preparation program.
  • Any accredited, non-profit two-year private vocational or technical school.
  • The Missouri Charter Public School Commission.
The Missouri Charter Public School Commission has authority to sponsor charter schools statewide. In addition, all approved charter school applications must be submitted to the state board of education, which may approve or deny charter applications.

Any applicant seeking to establish a charter school with an authorizer that is not a school district must submit a copy of the application to the school board of the school district in which the school is to be located and to the state board of the education. The local school board may file objections with the proposed authorizer and, if the charter is granted, the state board of education. Approved charter applications are submitted to the state board of education, along with statements by the authorizer that the charter complies with various provisions. The state board must approve or deny the charter application.

Citations: Mo. Ann. Stat. § 160.400; Mo. Ann. Stat. § 160.405; Mo. Ann. Stat. § 160.425; Mo. Ann. Stat. § 167.349
Nevada The State Public Charter School Authority can sponsor schools statewide. The following organizations may authorize charter schools after apply to and receiving approval from the department of education:
  • Local school boards.
  • A college or university within the Nevada System of Higher Education.

Before any authorizer begins soliciting charter school applications, the authorizer and the department of education, to the extent practicable, must must conduct an evaluation of the academic needs of the students in the geographic area served by the sponsor. Authorizers must assemble a team of reviewers to evaluate the application.

Charter authorizers must consider an application at a public meeting within 60 days of receipt.

Citations: Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 388A.220; Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 388A.249; Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. 388A.255
New Hampshire There are two application options for charter schools. In both cases, the state board of education serves as a statewide authorizing body.
  • New charter school applications are first submitted to the local school board, which approves or denies the application. The application is then forwarded to the state board of education, which approves or denies the application. The approved application is ratified and granted final approval through a vote by voters in the local school district. A charter school may be renewed in the same way a new charter school is formed, but the state board must develop procedures and guidelines for renewal.
  • Applications are submitted directly to the state board of education for approval.
When an application is submitted to the local school board, the school district must host at least one public hearing on the application.

Citations: N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 194-B:3, N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 194-B:3-a, N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 194-B:16, N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 194-B:17
New Jersey The commissioner of education authorizes charter schools and is the statewide authorizer. Charter school applications may be submitted to the state commissioner of education and local school board of the district in which the school will be located. For school districts under state intervention, applications are submitted to the state district superintendent. The local board school boards or state district superintendent review applications, but commissioner of education alone has final authority to approve or reject a charter school application.

Charter applicants must describe how community groups will be involved in the charter school planning process.

Citations: N.J. Stat. Ann. § 18A:36A-3, N.J. Stat. Ann. § 18A:36A-4; N.J. Stat. Ann. 18A:36A-5
New Mexico Authorizers include:
  • Local school boards
  • Public education commission

The public education commission serves as a statewide authorizer. If the authorizer does not rule on an application within a certain time frame, the application will automatically be reviewed by the secretary of education.

A local school board has the authority to approve the establishment of a locally chartered charter school within that local school board's district. In addition, the authorizer must hold at least one public hearing in the school districts in which the charter school is proposed to be located to obtain community input in the decision.

Charter School Districts: The department of education oversees school districts that have been turned into charter school districts. Before submitting an application for conversion, the local school board must hold at least two public hearings on the matter. The principal at each school must distribute notice to families in the school. The local board must obtain signatures from 65% of school staff on a petition supporting the application. The department must disprove initial or renewal applications if it determines, after a hearing, that the application is not in the best interest of the students, school district, or community.

Citations: N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-8B-6, N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-8B-16, N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-8E-3
New York While a "charter entity" may approve charter school applications and provide oversight and supervision for charter schools, the state board of regents is the the only entity that may issue charters. After approving an application, charter entities (other than the board of regents) and applicants enter into a proposed agreement, which is then submitted to the board of regents for final approval. Charter schools may apply to another charter entity for oversight and supervision at any time.

Charter entities include:
  • Local school boards (only for charter schools within the school district)
  • State University of New York board of trustees
  • State board of regents
  • District chancellor for an urban school district in a city with a population over 1 million.
At each significant stage of the chartering process, the charter entity and board of regents must provide notification to the school district in which the charter school would be located and to public and private schools in the same geographic area as the proposed charter school. Prior to issuing, revising, or renewing a charter school, the school district must hold a public hearing within the community potentially impacted by the proposed charter school and seek input from the community.

Citations: N.Y. Educ. Law § 2851, N.Y. Educ. Law § 2852, N.Y. Educ. Law § 2853
North Carolina The state board of education is the state's only authorizer and authorizes charter schools statewide. The North Carolina charter school advisory board makes recommendations on the adoption of rules regarding all aspects of charter school operation; reviews applications and makes recommendations to the state board; makes recommendations to the state board on actions regarding a charter school, including renewals, nonrenewals and revocations; and takes on any other duties and responsibilities as assigned by the state board.

Citations: N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 115C-218, N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 115C-218.5
Ohio New charter school applicants can apply to the department of education, which serves as the statewide authorizing body, or any sponsor approved by the department of education. Authorizers must apply to and receive approval from the department of education prior to authorizing any charter schools. The department of education is responsible for approval of entities seeking to sponsor schools and oversight of any and all sponsors. Conversion charter school applicants may only apply to local school boards or boards of education service centers.

Approved authorizers may include:
  • Local board of the school district in which the school is to be located
  • Board of a vocational district (with some geographic restrictions)
  • Other local school district governing boards if they have territory in the same county of the school district in which the proposed school would be located
  • Educational service centers
  • The board of trustees of state universities or their designated sponsoring authorities
  • Qualified tax-exempt entity that meets other requirements
  • The mayor of a city in which the district is located.

Any sponsor requesting to form a new charter school in the Cleveland Transformation Alliance must be reviewed by and receive a recommendation from the alliance.

New (or "start-up") charter schools are only allowed in "challenged school districts," or districts meeting certain criteria, including low performance.

Sponsors with an overall rating of "exemplary" for at least two consecutive years and who maintain that rating are not subject to the 100-school sponsorship limit, while other sponsors are subject the limit.

Citations: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3311.86, Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3314.015, Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3314.02, Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3314.029
Oklahoma The following organizations may authorize charter schools:
  • Local school districts.
  • A technology center school district.
  • Higher education institutions.
  • Community colleges.
  • Federally-recognized Indian tribes (in specific locations and circumstances).
  • The state board of education upon appeal follow denial from a local school district. The state board may also sponsor charter schools for the office of juvenile affairs for charter schools in low-performing group homes serving youth in the custody or supervision of the state.
  • A regional institution with a teacher education program that is a member of Oklahoma's higher education system may sponsor charter schools in a district or school site identified as in need of improvement.
  • The Statewide Virtual Charter School Board authorizes all virtual charter schools.

Both the state board of education and the statewide virtual charter school board serve as statewide authorizing bodies, but only in specific circumstances.

Citations: Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 3-132; Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 3-134; Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 145.1
Oregon Local school boards authorize charter schools. Charter applicants must submit a copy of charter school applications to the state board of education. The state board of education may authorize charter schools statewide on appeal. Upon receiving a charter school application, the local school board must hold a public hearing with 60 days to review the provisions of the proposal. When evaluating the application, the local board must consider whether the charter application has demonstrated and sustained support from teachers, parents, students and the school community as evidenced by the public hearing and any other evidence of such support.

Citations: Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 338.005; Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 338.035; Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 338.045; Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 338.065; Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 338.075; Or. Rev. Stat. Ann.. § 338.055
Pennsylvania Local school boards can authorize charter schools. In addition, two or more local school boards may grant regional charters. Virtual charter applicants apply to the department of education, which authorizes virtual charter schools statewide.

Within 45 days of receiving an application, local school boards but hold a public hearing to discuss the provisions of the charter application. When considering charter school applications, local school boards are required to consider the degree to which a charter application has demonstrated and sustainable support for the plan by teachers, parents, and community members.

Citations: 24 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 17-1717-A; 24 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 17-1718-A; 24 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 17-1745-A
Rhode Island Authorizers include:
  • State board of education
  • School district commissioner and school district committee
  • State commissioner of education

The state board of education is the state's sole, statewide authorizer. Applications must first be approved by the local school board or commissioner of education where the school will be located or the state commissioner of education, depending on the type of charter school, who then make recommendations to the state board on whether the application should be approved. Prior to submitting the applications to the state board, the local school boards or commissioners and the state commissioner must hold public hearings in the school districts in which the proposed charter schools would be located. Starting in 2016, new network charter schools - defined has having more than one school - must provide local written support. Following the required public hearings, the commissioner shall submit the charter application to the state board for consideration.

District charter schools: Charter applicants submit applications to the school district commissioner and school committee of the school district where the charter school will be located. The charter must receive the affirmative support of a number of certified school district teachers equal to at least two-thirds of the number of teachers that will be employed by the charter school. A copy of the proposed charter must also be provided to the teachers' collective bargaining unit in the school district where the school is to be located.

Independent charter schools: Charter applicants submit applications to the state commissioner of education. Nonprofits applicants must also submit financial records and a financial plan to the auditor general. When considering applications for an independent charter school, the state board must place substantial weight on the potential fiscal impact on the city or town, the programmatic impact on the sending school district, and the educational impact on the students in the district.

Mayoral academies: Charter applicants submit applications to the state commissioner of education and must provide written support from the town or city councils.

Citations: R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-77.2-2; R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-77.2-3; R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-77.3-2; R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-77-3.3; R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-77.4-2; R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-77.4-3
South Carolina Authorizers include:
  • Local school boards or district boards of trustees
  • Registered independent institutions of higher education
  • The South Carolina Public Charter School District Board of Trustees

The South Carolina Public Charter School District Board of Trustees may authorize charter schools statewide. Before submitting the formal application, applicants must first submit a letter of intent to the local board of trustees or area commission and send a copy to the state department of education. Charter school sponsors must rule on the application to establish a charter school at a public hearing.

Citations: S.C. Code Ann. § 59-40-40; S.C. Code Ann. § 59-40-55; S.C. Code Ann. § 59-40-70; S.C. Code Ann. § 59-40-230
Tennessee Authorizers include:
  • Local school boards
  • Tennessee Public Charter School Commission
  • Achievement School District
  • -The State Board of Education

The state board of education is eligible to authorize charter schools statewide until July 2021.

The public charter school commission serves as authorizers for local education agencies sponsoring a charter school.

When the local board of education denies a charter school application, the sponsor may appeal to the state board of education. The state board shall hear appeals until December 2020. Beginning in January 2021, the Tennessee public charter school commission will take over the responsibilities of the state board.

Citations: Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-13-104; Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-13-106; Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-13-108; Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-13-141
Texas
  • Open-enrollment charter schools: State commissioner of education. Charter applicants must meet certain criteria. Open enrollments applicants who have demonstrated success over multiple years through high student achievement do not need commissioner approval. As part of the approval process, the commissioner may require a petition supporting the school signed by a certain number of parents residing in the area in which the school would be located or may hold a public hearing to determine parental support for the school.
  • Campus charter schools: Local school boards.
  • University or junior college charter schools: State commissioner of education.
  • Home-rule district charter schools: A home-rule district charter school is adopted if approved by a majority of voters in the school district. Once approved, the school board must appoint a charter commission to create the charter school.

The state commissioner of education has authority to authorize open-enrollment and university charter schools statewide.

Citations: Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.052; Tex. Educ. Code Ann. §12.0521; Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.101; Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.1011; Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.152; Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.021; Tex. Educ. Code Ann. §12.014; Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 110
Utah Authorizers include:
  • The state charter school board
  • Local school board
  • The board of trustees of a higher education institution

The state charter school board is the statewide authorizer.

State charter school board: An applicant seeking authorization from the state charter school board must provide a copy of the application to the local school board of the school district in which the proposed charter school would be located when it files its application with the state charter school board. The local board may review the application and may offer suggestions or recommendations to the applicant or to the state charter school board prior to its acting on the application. The state charter school board is required to give due consideration to suggestions or recommendations made by the local school board.

Higher education institutions: Applicants must provide a copy of the application to the state charter school board and the local school board of the district in which the school would be located. Both the state charter school board and the local school board may review the application and provide recommendations to the applicant or board of trustees of the higher education institution. The board of trustees must give due consideration to suggestions or recommendations from the local school board or state charter school board.

For applicants seeking to convert a public school to a charter school at least two-thirds of teachers employed at the school and at least two-thirds of parents must sign a petition authorizing the conversion of the school. If only a portion of the school is applying for conversion, then a simple majority must agree.

Charter school applicants are required to describe available opportunities for parental involvement in their charter school application.

Citations: U.C.A. 1953 § 53G-5-205 U.C.A. 1953 § 53G-5-302 U.C.A. 1953 § 53G-5-304 U.C.A. 1953 § 53G-5-305 U.C.A. 1953 § 53G-5-306
Virginia Local school boards approve charter schools but applications must also be submitted to the state board of education for review and recommendation. The board must make a determination on where the application meets approval criteria developed by the board. Local school boards must receive public comment on charter school applications and must provide 14 days notice prior to receiving public comment.

Citations: Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-212.9; Va. Code Ann. § 221-212.10
Washington The Washington state charter school commission - which can authorize charter schools statewide - and local school boards, but only after approval of the state board of education and only for schools located within district boundaries. Authorizers must conduct a public forum to obtain input on the application from community members, parents and local school district staff.

Citations: Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 28A.710.070; Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 28A.710.080; Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 28A.710.090
West Virginia The following entities may authorize charter schools:
  • County school boards.
  • Two or more county school boards in partnership.
  • The West Virginia Board of Education if the district in which the charter plans to operate has had board authority limited by the the State Board of Education, or if the local board asks the State Board of Education to serve in an authorizer role.

Within 90 days of receiving an application an authorizer must approve or deny the application and state the reason for approval or denial in a public meeting.

Citations: W. Va. Code, § 18-5G-2
Wisconsin All of the following entities may authorize charter schools:
  • Local school boards.
  • The city of Milwaukee.
  • The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
  • The University of Wisconsin-Parkside.
  • Any institution in the University of Wisconsin System.
  • The Milwaukee area technical college district board.
  • Any technical college district board.
  • Waukesha County (only for schools located in the county).
  • The college of Menominee Nation.
  • Lac Courte Orielles Ojibwa community college.

Applications to local school boards must include a petition signed by at least 10% of the teachers employed by the school district or at least 50% of the teachers employed at one school in the district, and the school board must hold a public hearing on the petition. Local school boards may initiate a contract with an outside party to operate a charter school. Local school boards may only authorize schools located inside of the school district, except in a few circumstances.

Citations: Wis. Stat. Ann. § 118.40
Wyoming Local school boards authorize charter schools. There is no statewide authorizer.

Local school boards are required to host a public hearing within 30 days of receiving a charter school application to gauge the level of parent, teacher, and community support.

Citations: Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 21-3-305; Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 21-3-306; Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 21-3-308


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