Charter Schools: Is there an appeals process for charter applicants?

Charter Schools: Is there an appeals process for charter applicants?

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.
 

Is there an appeals process for charter applicants?
Alabama Yes. Applications for start-up charters denied by local school boards may be appealed to the charter school commission. Local school board decisions on conversion charters are not appealable.

Citations: Ala. Code § 16-6F-6, Ala. Code § 16-6F-7
Alaska Yes. If a local school board denies an application for a charter school, the applicant may appeal the denial to the commissioner. A decision of the commissioner upholding the denial by the local school board may be appealed within 30 days to the state board of education and early development.

Citations: Alaska Stat. Ann. § 14.03.250, Alaska Stat. Ann. § 14.03.253
Arizona No. However, if the state board or the state board for charter schools rejects the preliminary application, the state board of education or the state board for charter schools is to notify the applicant in writing of the reasons for the rejection and of suggestions for improving the application. An applicant may submit a revised application for reconsideration by the state board or the state board for charter schools. The applicant may request, and the state board of education or the state board for charter schools may provide, technical assistance to improve the application.

Citations: Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-183
Arkansas No. However, a charter applicant, public charter school or affected school district may submit in writing a request for the state board to review a state department's decision. The state board has discretion in deciding whether to hear an appeal. A decision made by the state board is final and is not subject to appeal. The department of education may provide technical assistance in creation and modification of an application. A charter may appeal notice of revocation.

Citations: Ark. Code Ann. § 6-23-105; Ark. Code Ann. § 6-23-702; Ark. Code Ann. § 6-23-703
California Yes. An application denied by a local school district may be appealed to the county board of education and then the state board of education. If either the county board of education or the state board fails to act on a petition within 180 days of receipt, the decision of the governing board of the school district to deny a petition is subject to judicial review.

Citations: Cal. Educ. Code § 47605
Colorado Yes. A charter application denied by a local school board may be appealed to the state board of education, which may remand the decision back to local school board for reconsideration. The state board may decide on its own to review a charter school application (even if not requested). A second denial may also be appealed to the state board, which may then instruct the local school board to approve the charter. A charter application denied by the state charter school institute may be appealed to the state board of education, which must remand the matter to the institute with instructions to approve or deny the application. In both cases, the decision of the state board of education is final and not subject to appeal.

Citations: Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 22-30.5-107; Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 22-30.5-108
Connecticut No
Delaware No. Applications denied by an authorizer are final and not subject to judicial review.

Citations: Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 511
District of Columbia Yes. An authorizer's decision to deny a charter school application petition is subject to judicial review by an appropriate court of the District of Columbia or by the office of the superintendent of education.

Citations: D.C. Code § 38-1802.03
Florida Yes. If an authorizer rejects a charter application, the charter school applicant may appeal to state board, which sends the appeal to the commissioner, who convenes a meeting of the charter school appeal commission. The commission's recommendation is then forwarded to the state board of education to make the final decision. The commissioner appoints members of the charter school commission (50% represent operating charter schools and 50% represent sponsors).

Citations: Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.33
Georgia No. However, applicants may submit a revised application after denial. In addition, the charter advisory committee may mediate between a local board and charter applicant if directed by the state board. The state board may not approve a petition for a conversion school if a local board denies the application.

Citations: Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-2064; Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-2064.1
Hawaii Yes. Denials may be appealed to the state board of education, and the board is the final arbiter.

Citations: Haw. Rev. Stat. § 302D-15
Idaho Yes. The decision of an authorized chartering entity (i.e., local school board or state public charter school commission) may be appealed to the state superintendent of public instruction, who then selects a hearing officer to review the decision. The hearing officer must hold a public hearing on the charter petition and then submit a written recommendation to the authorized chartering entity and to the persons requesting the review. The chartering entity is then required to hold a public meeting to review the hearing officer's recommendation and either affirm or reverse its initial decision.

A local board's decision to deny an application for a conversion school is final.

A local board may agree to reconsider its decision to approve a public charter school. If it reverses the decision, no further appeal is necessary. If the local board affirms its decision to deny, the petitioners may appeal to the state board. The board may approve the application if it believes that the other authorizing body failed to appropriately consider it or was arbitrary. A decision by the state board is subject to judicial review.

Charter petitioners may submit an appeal for a new charter school to the state board of education. The state board may redirect the appeal to the public school charter commission or the board will approve or deny the charter after holding a public hearing. The state board of education’s decision is subject to judicial review.

Citations: Idaho Code Ann. § 33-5207
Illinois No. However, the state board of education may reverse a local board's decision to revoke a charter if it finds that the charter school or charter school proposal is in compliance with state law and is in the best interests of the students it is designed to serve. Until July 1, 2020, the state charter school commission may reverse a local board's decision to not renew a charter; after July 1, 2020 this power will transfer to the state board.

Citations: 105 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 5/27A-7.5; 105 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 5/27A-8
Indiana No. However, if an authorizer rejects a charter school proposal, the organizer may amend the charter school proposal and resubmit the proposal to the same authorizer, or submit a charter school proposal to another authorizer.

Citations: Ind. Code Ann. § 20-24-3-11
Iowa Yes. An applicant may appeal to the state board of education, which may affirm, modify or reverse the local school board's decision. However, a decision by the state board to revoke a charter is final.

Citations: Iowa Code Ann. § 256F.3; Iowa Code Ann. § 256F.8
Kansas Yes. The applicant may ask for reconsideration by the local board and may submit an amended petition. The local board, if it finds the application satisfactory, schedules a hearing. Once the local board approves an application, the state board reviews and may request changes for resubmission, approve or deny the application.

Citations: Kan. Stat. Ann. § 72-4208
Kentucky Yes. The state board, upon receipt of a notice of appeal or upon its own motion, is required to review decisions of any authorizer concerning the approval or denial of an application, the nonrenewal or revocation of a contract, the denial of a request to consider a charter amendment, or the unilateral imposition of conditions prohibited by the charter schools law.

The decision of the state board is final, subject to judicial review in the Circuit Court encompassing the school district in which the public charter school is located.

If the state board grants approval upon appeal, it subsequently is required to provide joint oversight for at least the first five years of the school's contract.

Also, an authorizer is required to approve an application if the authorizer finds that:
  • The public charter school described in the application meets the requirements of the state charter school law.
  • The applicant demonstrates the ability to operate the school in an educationally and fiscally sound manner.
  • Approving the application is likely to improve student learning and achievement and further the purposes established by state law.


Citations: Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 160.1595; Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 160.1594
Louisiana No
Maine Yes. If an application is denied, the applicant may immediately reapply to that authorizer or any other authorizer in the state.

Citations: Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. 20-A § 2407
Maryland Yes. If a county board denies an application to establish a charter school, the applicant may appeal the decision to the state board of education, which may direct the county board to grant a charter and, if necessary, may act as mediator between the local school board and the applicant.

Citations: Md. Code Ann., Educ. § 9-104
Massachusetts No
Michigan Yes. If an application to a local school board is rejected, the applicant may petition (with signatures of at least 5% of the electors of the district) to have it placed on a local ballot. If the ballot measure passes, the board must approve the application.

Citations: Mich. Comp. Laws § 380.503
Minnesota No. A disapproved applicant may resubmit an application during a future application period.

Citations: Minn. Stat. Ann. § 124E.05
Mississippi No. However, the applicant may reapply to the authorizer.

Citations: Miss. Code Ann. § 37-28-19
Missouri Yes. Approved charter applications must be submitted to and approved by the state board of education. If a sponsor rejects a charter school application, the applicant may appeal to the state board of education. If the state board denies the charter application, there is no appeals process.

Citations: Mo. Ann. Stat. § 160.405
Nevada Yes. If the State Public Charter School Authority denies an application after it has been resubmitted, the applicant may appeal the final determination to the district court of the county in which the proposed charter school will be located. If a school board or the higher education institution denies an application, the applicant may correct and resubmit the application. If it is denied again, the applicant can submit a request to be authorized by the State Public Charter School Authority.

Citations: Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 288A.252; Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 388A.255
New Hampshire Yes. Applications denied by a local school board may be appealed to state board of education. If the state board of education approves the application, the charter school application must be placed on the next ballot for voter approval.

Citations: N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 194-B:3
New Jersey Yes. Applicants may appeal the commissioner of education's decision to the appellate division of the superior court.

Citations: N.J. Stat. Ann. § 18A:36A-4
New Mexico Yes. Charter applicants may appeal denied applications to the secretary of education, and applicants that have not received notice denying approval from the authorizer within a certain time frame have the right to a hearing by the secretary. The decision of the secretary of education is final, but applicants may appeal the secretary's decision to the district court.

Citations: N. M. Stat. Ann. § 22-8B-6, N. M. Stat. Ann. § 22-8B-7
New York No. Charter application denials are final and not subject to review by a court or administrative body. However, prior to the final denial decision, a charter applicant may amend and resubmit a proposed charter application upon direction from the charter entity or board of regents.

Citations: N.Y. Educ. Law § 2852
North Carolina No. However, charter applicants must be given an opportunity to correct errors in their initial application and they must have an opportunity to address the North Carolina Charter Schools Advisory Board at a meeting before the board takes action on an application.

Citations: N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 115C-218.2
Ohio No

Citations: Previously department of ed denials could be appealed, but removed in SB 2 (2015) (previously in Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3314.029(A)(2))
Oklahoma Yes. If an authorizer denies an application, the applicant may submit a revised application for reconsideration. If the potential authorizer rejects the revised application, the applicant may appeal to the state board of education or proceed to mediation and/or binding arbitration. Applicants to school districts may not proceed to arbitration but may appeal to and potentially be authorized by the state board of education.

A decision by the state virtual charter school board may be appealed to the state board. The state board may reverse the decision or remand the matter back to the state virtual charter school board for further proceeding.

Citations: Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 3-134; Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 3-145.3
Oregon Yes. Applicants may appeal a denial by the local school board to the state board of education. An applicant may seek judicial review of an order of the state board of education. Either the charter school applicant or the local school board may request mediation by the state board of education.

Citations: Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 338.055; Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 338.075
Pennsylvania Yes. Denied applications may be appealed to a state charter school appeals board. For a charter school applicant to be eligible to appeal, the applicant must obtain the signatures of at least 2% of the residents of the school district or of 1,000 residents, whichever is less, who are over 18 years of age. For a regional charter school, the applicant must obtain the signatures of at least 2% of the residents of each school district granting the charter or of 1,000 residents from each of the school districts granting the charter, whichever is less, who are over 18 years of age. The signatures must be obtained within 60 days of the denial of the application by the local board of directors. All decisions by the state charter school appeals board are subject to appellate review by the commonwealth court.

Citations: 24 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 17-1717-A; 24 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 17-1721-A
Rhode Island Yes. Applicants may appeal to the commissioner of education.

Citations: R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-39-1 R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-77-5.1
South Carolina Yes. A charter application denied by the state-level charter school advisory committee or a local school board may be appealed to the administrative law court.

Citations: S.C. Code Ann. § 59-40-70; S.C. Code Ann. § 59-40-90
Tennessee Yes. An applicant for a start-up charter school may appeal a local school board's decision to the state board of education until December 2020 and the public charter school commission thereafter. The state board or commission may overrule the school board's denial and direct the school board to approve the charter. The state board of education decisions are final and not subject to appeal. The state board may authorize a charter school on appeal if the school district in which the school is to be located contains at least one school on the state's priority school list. However, the state board may not approve a charter school if the local education agency demonstrates that the school will have a negative fiscal impact on the LEA and would be contrary to the best interests of the pupils, school district or community.

Beginning in January 2021, a sponsor may appeal a local board's decision to the public charter school commission. The commission must hold an open meeting to review the charter application. The commission must approve or deny the appeal within 75 days of the hearing. Within 30 days of approval, the commission and LEA may come to an agreement to allow the LEA to serve as the authorizer. However, the state board may not approve a charter school if the local education agency demonstrates that the school will have a negative fiscal impact on the LEA and would be contrary to the best interests of the pupils, school district or community.

Citations: Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-13-108
Texas No
Utah Yes. If a local school board refuses to authorize an applicant, the applicant may seek a charter from the state charter school board.

Citations: U.C.A. 1953 § 53G-5-305
Virginia No. However, a charter school applicant whose application was denied is entitled to petition the local school board for reconsideration and may receive technical assistance to address the reasons for denial. After reconsideration, local school boards' decisions to grant or deny an application is final and not subject to appeal. Applicants may submit a new application.

Citations: Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-212.10
Washington No. Denied applicants may reapply to that authorizer or another authorizer.

Citations: Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 28A.28A.710.140
West Virginia No.
Wisconsin Yes, but only for applications rejected by school boards. The person seeking to establish the charter school may appeal the denial to the state department of public instruction and the department's decisions are final and not subject to judicial review.

Citations: Wis. Stat. Ann. § 118.40
Wyoming Yes. In the first appeal to the state board of education, the board reviews the decision and may remand the decision back to the local school board for reconsideration. In the second appeal to the state board of education, the board reviews the decision and may instruct the local school board to approve the application. Applicants who have been denied may not file a subsequent application within a 12-month period.

Citations: Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 21-3-310; Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 21-3-303


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