Charter Schools: Does state policy include provisions for charter school closures?

Charter Schools: Does state policy include provisions for charter school closures?

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.
 

Does state policy include provisions for charter school closures?
Alabama Yes. Prior to a closure decision, authorizers must have developed a closure protocol to ensure timely notification of parents, orderly transition of students and student records to new schools, and proper disposition of school funds, property, and assets. The protocol must specify tasks, timelines, and respective parties, and must delineate the respective duties of the school and the authorizer.

If a public charter school closes, the authorizer must oversee and work with the school to ensure a smooth and orderly closure, following the closure protocol. The assets of the school must be distributed first to satisfy outstanding payroll obligations for school employees, then to creditors of the school, and then to the state treasury to the credit of the Education Trust Fund. If assets are insufficient to pay all parties, the priority of the distribution of assets may be determined by decree of a court of law.

Citations: Ala. Code § 16-6F-8
Alaska No.
Arizona No.
Arkansas Yes. Immediately upon the revocation, transfer, or assignment of an open-enrollment charter by the authorizer, the public charter school must:
  • transfer to the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education all state funds held by the public charter school, which will be held by the Division in receivership; and
  • provide a detailed accounting to the Division of all accounts payable due from state funds, along with any additional information or records concerning the disbursement of state funds as requested by the Division


Funds received by the Division will be held in a separate fund, only to be expended with approval from the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. If, after one calendar year no legitimate, documented claim is made on the funds, they are to be transferred to the Public School Fund.

Citations: Ark. Code Ann. § 6-23-105
California Yes. The governing board of a school district may deny a petition for the establishment of a charter school if it finds, among other enumerated factors, that the petition does not contain reasonably comprehensive descriptions of the procedures to be used if the school closes, which must ensure a final audit of the charter school to determine the disposition of all assets and liabilities , including plans for disposing of any net assets and for the maintenance and transfer of pupil records.

Citations: Cal. Educ. Code § 47605
Colorado Yes. Each school district must adopt procedures for closing a charter school following revocation or nonrenewal of the school's charter. This procedure must ensure that, at minimum:
  • the charter school will continue to operate through the end of the school year, when this is practicable and in the best interest of the students. If the school district determines it must close the school prior to the end of the year, the school district must work with the charter school to determine an early closure date
  • the school district must work with the parents of the students who are enrolled in the charter school in order to ensure that the students are then enrolled in schools that meet their educational needs, and
  • the charter school must meet its financial, legal, and reporting obligations during the period that the charter school is concluding operations.


Citations: Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 22-30.5-110; Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 22-30.5-511
Connecticut No.
Delaware Yes. Prior to any charter school closure decision, an approving authority must have developed a charter school closure protocol to ensure timely notification to parents and employees, an orderly transition of students and student records to new schools, and the proper disposition of school funds, property and assets. In the event of a charter school closure, this protocol must be followed. All cash or cash equivalents held by or available to the charter school must first be distributed to satisfy outstanding payroll obligations for employees of the school, then to the remaining creditors of the school. Remaining state general fund appropriations for that school year must be returned to each district in an amount proportionate to the number of students received by the district, then returned to the general revenue fund through the state treasury. Remaining funds received from local school districts must be returned to each district in an amount proportionate to the number of students received by the district, then the remaining funds and assets will be managed by the charter.

Citations: Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 515
District of Columbia Yes. As soon as feasible upon notice that a nonprofit corporation operating a charter school is dissolving - due to either revocation, nonrenewal, or voluntary relinquishment - the board of trustees must complete and submit a closeout audit to the authorizing entity.

Then, the chartering authority and board of trustees must develop and execute a plan to:

  • liquidate unencumbered assets in a timely fashion and in a manner that will achieve maximum value
  • discharge debts, and
  • distribute remaining assets.
The plan shall provide that either:
  • all tangible personal property purchased with District funds, and any assets remaining after satisfaction of debts, shall be transferred to the District of Columbia, to be controlled by and subject to the instructions of the Office of the State Superintendent of Education and used solely for educational or similar purposes, or
  • assets shall be transferred to another charter school in a transaction overseen by the chartering authority if the acquiring school agrees to enroll the closing school's students at the start of the following school year.


The chartering authority, in consultation with the board of trustees, must also arrange for the transfer and storage of necessary student records in the possession of the closing charter school.

Citations: D.C. Code Ann. § 38-1802.13a
Florida Yes. When a charter is not renewed or is terminated, any unencumbered public funds from the charter school shall revert to the sponsor, except for capital outlay funds and federal charter school program grant funds, which shall revert to the department and be redistributed among eligible charter schools. The charter school is responsible for all the debts of the charter school. A student who attended the school may apply to, and shall be enrolled in, another public school. Normal application deadlines under such circumstances will be waived.

If a charter school is dissolved or otherwise terminated, all district school board property, improvements, furnishings and equipment purchased with public funds will revert to full ownership by the district school board. Any unencumbered public funds from the charter school, district school board property, improvements, furnishings and equipment purchased with public funds, or financial or other records pertaining to the charter school, shall be held in trust upon the district school board's request until any appeal status is resolved.

Citations: Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.33
Georgia No.
Hawaii Yes. Prior to any charter school closure decision, an authorizer must have developed a charter school closure protocol to ensure timely notification to parents, an orderly transition of students and student records to new schools, and the proper disposition of school funds, property and assets. Tasks, timelines, and responsible parties must be delineated. If the charter school closes, the authorizer must oversee and work with the school to ensure a smooth and orderly closure, following the closure protocol.

In the event of a charter school closure for any reason, the assets of the school - excluding facilities - must be distributed to satisfy outstanding payroll obligations for employees of the school, then to the creditors of the school, and then to the state treasury to credit the general fund. If the closing charter school received an appropriation for capital improvements to its facilities, the school or its authorizer must negotiate with the expending agency for repayment of the amounts appropriated. When a public charter school closes, other public charter schools will have the right of first refusal for the closed school's facilities, if those facilities are owned by the state. If no charter school exercises this right, the facilities will revert back to the department of education and the state.

Citations: Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 302D-19
Idaho Yes. Prior to any charter school closure decision, an authorizer must have developed a charter school closure protocol to ensure timely notification to parents, an orderly transition of students and student records to new schools, and the proper disposition of school funds, property and assets. Tasks, timelines, and responsible parties must be delineated. If the charter school closes, the authorizer must oversee and work with the school to ensure a smooth and orderly closure, following the closure protocol.

In the event of a charter school closure for any reason, the assets of the school must be distributed first to satisfy outstanding payroll obligations for employees of the school, then to the creditors of the school, and then to the authorized chartering entity in the case of a public charter school authorized by the board of a local school district. For charter schools authorized by other entities, any remaining assets must be distributed to the public school income fund. Assets purchased using federal funds must be returned to the authorized chartering entity for redistribution among other public charter schools.

Citations: Idaho Code Ann. § 33-5212
Illinois Yes. Upon closure of a charter school authorized by one or more local school board, the governing body of the charter school or its designee must refund all unspent public funds to the chartering entity or entities. If the school was authorized by the Commission, all unspent public funds must be refunded to the state board of education. In all instances, the school's other property and assets must be disposed of under the provisions of the charter application and contract; if these are silent or ambiguous, then any property or assets purchased with public funds must be returned to the district or districts from which the charter school drew enrollment. Unspent public funds, property or assets received by the charter school directly from any state or federal agency must be refunded or revert back to the state or federal agency, respectively.

In instances involving charter school closures in Chicago, the school must give at least 60 days notice to all affected students and their parents or legal guardians.

Citations: 105 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 5/27A-10.10
Indiana Yes. Prior to any charter school closure decision, an authorizer must have developed a charter school closure protocol to ensure timely notification to parents, an orderly transition of students and student records to new schools, and the proper disposition of school funds, property and assets.

In the event of a charter school closure for any reason, the authorizer must oversee and work with the charter school to ensure a smooth and orderly closure and transition for students and parents, as guided by the closure protocol.

A charter school closure protocol must include the following:

  • written notice sent to a student's parents regarding the closure of the charter school, and the charter school's procedure for transferring student education records
  • the written notice sent to the student's parents must include a statement requiring that parents must inform the charter school which new school the parent plans to enroll the student in. There must also be a statement that if the parent does not declare a new school for the student within the deadline, the parent consents to the charter school transfering the student's educational records to the student's school of legal assignment. If the parent does respond within the deadline, the charter school must transfer education records to the new school chosen by the parent.


Citations: Ind. Code Ann. § 20-24-9-4.5
Iowa Yes. If a charter school or innovation zone school contract is revoked, nonresident students and siblings of those students are considered to have "good cause" for open enrollment purposes, and may submit an application to another school district at any time. These applications must be processed and provided in a prompt manner.

Citations: Iowa Code Ann. § 256F.9
Kansas No.
Kentucky Yes. The authorizer must develop a public charter school closure protocol in order to ensure timely notification to parents, an orderly transition of students and their records to new schools, and the proper disposition of school funds, property and assets. The protocol must specify tasks, timelines and responsible parties, and must delineate the respective duties of the school and the authorizer. If a charter school closes for any reason, the authorizer must follow the closure protocol. If a charter school is subject to closure, the authorizer may remove at will any or all members of the board of directors in connection with ensuring a smooth and orderly closure. If the board of directors can no longer function due to removal, the authorizer may take any further actions connected with closure.

Citations: Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 160.1598
Louisiana Yes. If a charter school closes for any reason, it must refund all equipment and cash on hand which can be attributed to state or local funding to the state or local school district as appropriate.

Although it does not seem to apply to closed schools in general, statute specifies the procedure to be used regarding one specific closed school - Northwood Preparatory High School in Amite, Louisiana - for the settlement of claims for unpaid wages and benefits to former employees.

Citations: La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:3995; La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:3997
Maine Yes. If a public charter school closes for any reason, the authorizer must oversee and work with the closing school to ensure timely notification to parents, orderly transition of students and their records, and proper disposition of school funds, property and assets. Assets must be distributed first to satisfy outstanding payroll obligations, and then to creditors. Remaining funds must be paid to the state treasurer to the credit of the general fund. If assets are insufficient, a court of law may determine asset prioritization. Education records for a person who will not be attending a public school in the state following the closure must have their records transmitted to the last school administrative unit of residence on record, and must be maintained by that school administrative unit in the same manner as education records for other resident students.

Charter school proposals must include a closure protocol, outlining orderly plans and timelines for transitioning students and their records, and for appropriately disposing of school funds, property and assets in the event of a school closure.

Citations: Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. 20-A § 2411; Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. 20-A § 2406
Maryland No.
Massachusetts Yes. In the event of a charter school closing or eliminating grade levels as required by the state board, the school district must retain state aid as specified in the chapter 70 program for the students who attended those grade levels in the previous year.

Citations: Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 71 § 89
Michigan Yes. If the authorizing body revokes a contract, it must work with a school district or another public school, or a combination of these entities, to ensure a smooth transition for students. If the revocation happens during the school year, the authorizing body must return any school aid funds it holds, that are attributable to the affected students, to the state treasurer for deposit into the state school aid fund. The state treasurer must distribute funds to the public school that the affected students enroll in following revocation according to a method to be established by the department of education and the Center for Educational Performance and Information.

Citations: Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 380.507
Minnesota Yes. Charter plans must contain a plan for the orderly closing of the school which establishes the responsibilities of the school board of directors and the authorizer, whether the closure is a termination for cause, a voluntary termination, or a nonrenewal of the contract. The plan must establish who is responsible for the following:
  • notifying the commissioner, school district in which the charter school is located, and parents of enrolled students about the closure,
  • providing the parents of enrolled students information and assistance to enable the student to re-enroll in another school,
  • transferring student records to the student's resident school district, and
  • closing financial operations.


Statute also establishes separate protocols for state aid distribution by the commissioner of education, depending on whether the charter school is ceasing operations on or before June 30, or before or at the end of a school year.

Citations: Minn. Stat. Ann, § 124E.10; Minn. Stat. Ann, § 124E.25
Mississippi Yes. Before implementing a charter school closure decision, the authorizer must develop a charter school closure protocol to ensure timely notification to parents, an orderly transition of students and their records to new schools, and a proper disposition of school funds, property and assets. The protocol must specify tasks, timelines and responsible parties, and must delineate the respective duties of the school and the authorizer. If the charter school is closed for any reason, the authorizer must oversee the closure and work with the closing school, as guided by the closure protocol.

In the event of a charter school closure, all unspent government funds, unspent earnings from those funds, and assets purchased with government funds must revert to the local school district in which the charter school is located. Unless otherwise provided for in the charter or a debt instrument, unspent funds from nongovernmental sources, unspent earnings from those funds, assets purchased with those funds, and any debts of the school must revert to the nonprofit entity created to operate the school, and may be disposed of according to applicable laws for nonprofit corporations.

Citations: Miss. Code Ann. § 37-28-35
Missouri Yes. A proposed charter must include procedure to be implemented if the charter school should close, including provisions for an orderly transition of student records to new schools, archiving of student records, archiving of business operation and the transfer or repository of personnel records, the submission of final financial reports, the resolution of any remaining financial obligations, the disposition of the charter school's assets upon closure, and a notification plan to inform the parents or guardians of students, the local school district, the retirement system in which the charter school's employees participate, and the state board of education within thirty days of the decision to close. Closure procedures must include requirements that unobligated assets of the charter school will be returned to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for their disposition, which will then be returned to the local school district in which the school was located, the state, or any other entity to which they would belong.

If a sponsor notifies a charter school of closure, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must exercise its financial withholding authority to ensure all obligations of the charter school are met. The state, charter sponsor, and resident district will not be liable for any outstanding liability or obligations of the charter school.

A closing charter school must satisfy all financial obligations within 12 months of notification about the closure. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education may withhold funding during a school's last year of operation until the department determines that school records, liabilities, and reporting requirements, including a full audit, are satisfied.

Citations: Mo. Ann. Stat. § 160.400; Mo. Ann. Stat. § 160.405; Mo. Ann. Stat. § 160.415.
Nevada Yes. Upon a decision to close a charter school, the governing body of the school shall provide notice to the sponsor, the Department of Business and Industry, the board of trustees of the school district, the state education agency, creditors, and parents/ legal guardians. The school must then:
  • Appoint an administrator of the school to serve as a trustee for a year following closure to maintain student and school records, discharge all liabilities and obligations, terminate lease and service agreements, and transfer records and assets as necessary.
  • Develop and submit a written plan for closure to the sponsor.
  • Maintain an office at the school.
  • Maintain insurance coverage for the time required by the sponsor.
  • Conduct a final audit and inventory of all assets.
  • Prepare a list of creditors.


Citations: Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann.388A.306
New Hampshire Yes. Charter schools must include provisions for closure including the disposition of assets. If the contract is silent on the disposition of assets, they they must revert to the school district in which the charter school is located.

Citations: N.H. Rev. Stat. § 194-B:3; N.H. Rev. Stat. § 194-B:16
New Jersey No. However, if a school is in danger of losing its charter, the board of trustees must submit a complete list of names and addresses of students and staff, so the commissioner may send appropriate notice.

Citations: N.J. Stat. Ann. 18A:36A-17.1
New Mexico Yes. Prior to a decision to close a charter school, the chartering authority must develop a charter school closure protocol that includes provisions for timely notification of families, for the transfer of students and student records and for the disposition of public funds, property and assets. The protocol must assign task and duties and establish a timeline. The chartering authority must oversee the closure.

Citations: N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-8B-12.1
New York Yes. Upon termination, charter schools must proceed with dissolution procedures outlined in the charter under the direction of the charter entity and board of regents. Procedures for dissolution must include provisions for the transfer of students and student records and the transfer of public funds to students' district of residence,

Citations: N.Y. Educ. Law § 2855; N.Y. Educ. Law § 2851
North Carolina Yes. Charter schools must maintain a reserve of $50,000 minimum for the purposes of a voluntary or involuntary closure. In the event of a closure, the funds shall be used to pay outstanding wages, funds owed to the North Carolina Retirement System and funds owed to the state health plan.

Upon closure, all assets of the charter school purchased with public funds must be transferred to the local education agency in which the charter school operated.

Citations: N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 115C-218.100
Ohio Yes. Statute directs the department of education to develop procedures for the closure of a charter school that includes provisions addressing data reporting, handling of student records, the distribution of assets, and any other matters associated with school closure.

Citations: Ohio Rev. Code Ann.§ 3314.015
Oklahoma Yes. Within two weeks of a decision to terminate a charter, the authorizer must establish a transition team. The transition team is charged with communicating with families, maintaining school operations until closure and notifying the correct agencies and contractors. The governing board of the charter school must continue to meet regularly in order to oversee actions needed to close the school, manage finances, and facilitate the transfer of resources.

Citations: Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 3-137
Oregon If a charter is terminated, the assets of the charter school purchased with public funds or assets must be given to the state board of education. The state board may distribute funds to school districts or other public charter schools. All student records must be transferred to the administrative office of the school district in which the charter school was located.

Citations: Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 338.105
Pennsylvania Yes. When a charter school is closed and following the dispositions of any obligations, any remaining assets shall be distributed proportionally to schools that enroll students previously enrolled in the charter school. All student records maintained by the charter school must be forwarded to the student's district of residence.

Citations: 24 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 17-1729-A
Rhode Island No.
South Carolina Yes. Prior to the closure of a charter school, the sponsor must develop a protocol to ensure the timely notification of parents, transition of students and student records, the disposition of school funds, property and assets. The protocol must outline timelines, assign tasks. The sponsor is required to oversee closure. Upon closure, no charter school assets may be retained by a private individual and must be turned over to the sponsor.

Citations: S.C. Code Ann. § 59-40-110 S.C. Code Ann. § 59-40-120
Tennessee Yes. Each authorizer must have a procedure in place ahead of revoking or not renewing a school's charter. The procedure must include:
  • Parental notification with a week of the decision.
  • Establish a transition team within two weeks of closure.
  • Notify parents and students of other public school options within 30 days of closure.
  • Maintain continuous communication with parents and other relevant stakeholders.
  • The governing body must continue to meet as necessary to oversee the closure.

The transition team is charged with managing the following:

  • The transfer of students.
  • The release and transfer of student records to the authorizer or state education agency.
  • The release and transfer of personnel records to the authorizer or state education agency.
  • The submission of financial statements.
  • The disposition of school funds.
  • The disposition of school assets.
  • The completion of a school audit.


Citations: Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-13-130
Texas Yes. The state board, board of trustees, or commissioner of education, depending on the type of charter, are required to develop a procedure for revoking a charter that includes an opportunity for a public hearing with parents and students.

Open-enrollment charter school procedures for revocation must also include a review of the decision of the commissioner by the Administrative Law Judge. Once a charter is revoked, the commissioner may manage the school until alternative arrangements are made for students, or assign management to a different charter holder.

Upon closure, open-enrollment charter schools must return all state funds, or profit made from the sale of property purchased with state funds, sold in accordance with statutory requirements, to the state education agency and deposited in the charter school liquidation fund. Funds transferred to the liquidation fund may be used to pay expenses associated with closure, the maintenance of student records, personnel costs, and the maintenance of property. The state education agency may approve the transfer of funds to another charter school currently operating in the state. The commissioner is charged with adopting rules outlining a timeline for the transfer of funds and qualifications for the transfer of funds to another charter school. If charter schools do not sell property, then it must be transferred to the state education agency or local district.

Citations: Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.028 Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.064 Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.106 Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.1061 Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.116 Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.1167 Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.1168 Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.128 Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.1281 Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.1282 Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.1283 Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.1284 Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.141
Utah Yes. Within ten days of the decision to close a charter school, the charter school must:
  • provide notice to relevant stakeholders and partners and post notice on the Utah Public Notice website. The notice must include the proposed closure date and the school student transition plan.
  • designate a student records custodian.
  • designate a base of operation.
  • assure insurance coverage will last through the transition to closure.
  • assure that the charter school completes all financial audits and reporting requirements.
  • inventory all charter school assets.
  • list all creditors of the school.

Closing charter schools are required to return any assets to the charter school authorizer after liabilities and obligations are paid or discharged. Closing charter schools must comply with all state and federal reporting requirements prior to closure.

The state board is directed to establish additional closure procedures and processes as they see fit.

Citations: U.C.A. 1953 § 53G-5-504
Virginia Yes. Charter school applicants are required to include a plan for the placement of public charter school pupils, teachers, and employees upon termination or revocation of the charter in the charter school application.

Citations: VA Code Ann. § 22.1-212.8
Washington Yes. Prior to making a decision to not renew or revoke a charter, authorizers must develop a charter school termination protocol that includes measures to notify parents of the closure, transition student records, and proper disposition of public funds, property, and assets. The protocol must clearly lay out the duties of all parties involved and outline a timeline for their completion.

Upon closure, public funds must be returned to the state or local account from which they originated.

Citations: Wash. Rev. Code Ann. 28A.710.210
West Virginia Yes. Upon closure, the authorizer must hold a public meeting explaining the reasons for nonrenewal or revocation. If a charter school that began as a conversion public charter school, then the district or school board may return the school to noncharter public school status. Otherwise, the authorizer shall oversee the closure following protocol established by the state board, including:
  • Timely notification of parents, the transition of student records, and the proper disposition of school funds, property and assets.
  • Any funds available upon closure must first be used to satisfy outstanding payroll obligations, then be used for creditors of the school. Any remaining funds must be paid to the county school board.
  • The authorizer has the authority to remove charter school governing board members in order to ensure an orderly transition and closure.


Citations: W. Va. Code, § 18-5G-10
Wisconsin No.
Wyoming Yes. Upon closure of the charter school, all charter school records and any assets purchased with public funds must be transferred to the school district.

Citations: Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 21-3-304 Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 21-3-305


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