Charter Schools - What rules are waived for charter schools?

Charter Schools - What rules are waived for charter schools?

June 2014


At the present time, 42 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have enacted charter school laws, so this database contains information only for them. It does not contain any information for the 8 states that have not enacted charter school laws.

Please contact Jennifer Thomsen, 303.299.3633 or jthomsen@ecs.org with questions or comments about the database.
 

What rules are waived for charter schools?
Alaska Charter schools are exempt from a school district's textbook, program, curriculum and scheduling requirements. Charter schools are also exempt from a state law that requires superintendents of schools to select, appoint and otherwise control school district employees that serve under the superintendent. Local school boards may exempt a charter school from other school district requirements if the exemption is set out in the contract.
Arizona A charter school is exempt from all statutes and rules relating to schools, governing boards and school districts, except as provided in the state's charter school law and in a charter school's charter. Charter schools are subject to academic accountability, financial and electronic data submission, and health and safety requirements.
Arkansas Exemptions from particular laws, regulations and policies must be specified in the charter.
California Charter schools are allowed an automatic waiver from most state laws, regulations and policies governing school districts. They are not exempt from laws establishing minimum age for public school attendance nor the California building standards code.
Colorado The state board of education promulgates rules identifying state statutes and state rules that are automatically waived for all charter schools. A school district or the state charter school institute, on behalf of a charter school, may apply to the state board for a waiver of a state statute or state rule that is not automatically waived for charter schools by rule.
Connecticut A charter school application may include, or a charter school may file, requests to waive provisions of the general statutes and regulations that are within the jurisdiction of the state board of education.
Delaware Charter schools are exempt from all provisions of the state's education code and all school district regulations, except for provisions related to:
  • Exceptional children (special education and gifted)
  • Assessments and accountability
  • The gun-free schools act 
  • School attendance laws
  • Criminal background checks for school personnel
District of Columbia Charter schools are exempt from D.C. statutes, policies, rules and regulations established for the D.C. public schools by the superintendent, board of education, mayor, D.C. council, or authority, except as otherwise provided in the school's charter or D.C. charter school law.
Florida Charter schools are exempt from all statutes of the state education code, except those:
  • Specifically applying to charter schools
  • Pertaining to the student assessment program and school grading system
  • Pertaining to the provision of services to students with disabilities
  • Pertaining to civil rights and discrimination
  • Pertaining to student health, safety and welfare
Additionally, a charter school is required to be in compliance with the following statutes:
  • Section 286.011, relating to public meetings and records, public inspection, and criminal and civil penalties
  • Chapter 119, relating to public records
  • Section 1003.03, relating to the maximum class size, except that the calculation for compliance pursuant to s. 1003.03 must be the average at the school level
  • Section 1012.22(1)(c), relating to compensation and salary schedules
  • Section 1012.33(5), relating to workforce reductions
  • Section 1012.335, relating to contracts with instructional personnel hired on or after July 1, 2011
  • Section 1012.34, relating to the substantive requirements for performance evaluations for instructional personnel and school administrators
Georgia Charter schools may request blanket waivers from state and local rules and regulations.
Hawaii Charter schools are exempt from all applicable state laws except those regarding collective bargaining, nondiscrimination and health and safety requirements.
Idaho Each public charter school is exempt from the rules governing school districts, except for rules charter school-specific rules promulgated by the state board of education and rules relating to the following:
  • Waiver of teacher certification
  • Accreditation schools
  • Qualifications of a student for attendance at an alternative school
  • Criminal history checks of all school employees
  • Bribery and corrupt influence
  • Prohibitions against contracts with officers
  • Ethics in government
  • Open public meetings
  • Disclosure of public records
  • Financial reporting
Illinois Charter schools are exempt from all state laws and regulations in the school code governing public schools and local school board policies, except laws and regulations pertaining to the following:
  • The state's charter school law
  • Criminal background investigations of applicants for employment
  • Discipline of students
  • Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act
  • The section of the General Not For Profit Corporation Act of 1986 regarding indemnification of officers, directors, employees, and agents
  • Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act
  • Illinois School Student Records Act
  • School report cards
  • P-20 Longitudinal Education Data System Act
  • Non-discrimination and desegregation rules
  • Health and safety laws applicable to public schools
Indiana Charter schools are exempt from the following:
  • Any state statute applicable to a governing body or school corporation
  • A rule or guideline adopted by the state board of education
  • A rule or guideline adopted by the professional standards board (except for those rules that assist a teacher in gaining or renewing a standard or advanced license)
  • A local regulation or policy adopted by a school district unless specifically incorporated in the charter.

Charter schools must follow laws and rules governing the following:

  • Audits by the state board of accounts
  • Accounting
  • Special education
  • Criminal history
  • Regulation by state agencies
  • Voiding of teacher contracts when 2 contracts are signed
  • Nondiscrimination for teachers' marital status
  • Teacher freedom of association
  • School counselor immunity
  • Compulsory school attendance
  • Limitations on employment of children
  • Student due process and judicial review
  • Firearms and deadly weapons
  • Health and safety measures
  • Reporting of student violations of law
  • Patriotic commemorative observances
  • Assessment programs and remediation
  • Parental access to education records
  • Accountability for school performance and improvement
  • Personal financial responsibility instruction

Conversion charter schools must also follow teacher and administrator employment rules and regulations.

Iowa Although a charter school may elect to comply with one or more provisions of a statute or rule, it is exempt from all statutes and rules applicable to a school, school board or a school district, except those pertaining to:
  • Health and safety
  • Civil and human rights
  • Non-discrimination
  • Court-ordered desegregation
  • Nonsectarian/nonreligious
  • Tuition
  • Special education
  • Financial audits
  • Student achievement
  • Teacher quality
  • Collective bargaining
  • Transportation
  • Advisory council meetings
Also, a charter school's application must include the specific statutes, administrative rules and school board policies with which it does not intend to comply.
Kansas The charter must identify the school district policies and state board of education rules and regulations from which waiver is sought in order to facilitate operation of the school and explain the reasons such waivers are being requested. However, charter schools must ensure compliance with applicable health, safety and access laws.
Louisiana Charter schools are exempt from all state board rules and regulations and any local school board rules and regulations applicable to public schools and their officers and employees, except those specifically outlined in an approved charter and in state law, including health and safety, accountability and assessments and open meetings, among others.
Maine Charter schools are waived from or may request a waiver from all statutes and rules applicable to noncharter public schools except the following
  • Civil rights and health and safety requirements
  • Student assessment and accountability requirements
  • Conflict of interest and public records and proceedings requirements
  • Criminal history and fingerprinting requirements for employees
  • Special education requirements
Maryland Charter schools must comply with all laws governing public schools. They may seek waivers on a case-by-case basis from the state board of education, but waivers cannot be granted for laws pertaining to:
  • Audit requirements
  • Measurement of student academic achievement
  • Health and safety of students or employees
  • Civil rights of students or employees
Massachusetts Commonwealth charter schools do not receive automatic waivers from state education laws and regulations, but they do not fall under local school district work rules. Horace Mann charter schools may negotiate waivers with their local school boards and teachers unions. Employees must continue to be members of the local union.
Michigan Charter schools may seek waivers on a case-by-case basis from the state superintendent of public instruction.
Minnesota Except as provided in the state's charter school law, a charter school is exempt from all statutes and rules applicable to a school, a local school board, or a school district, although it may elect to comply with one or more provisions of statutes or rules. However, a charter school must comply with certain laws and rules pertaining to the following:
  • Health and safety
  • Assessments and accountability
  • Non-discrimination
  • Budget and audit requirements
  • Student discipline and dismissal
  • Concussion procedures for student athletes
  • Human rights and nondiscrimination
  • Data privacy and student records
  • Open meetings
  • Employment
  • Policies on prohibited student conduct
  • Teacher evaluation
  • The Pledge of Allegiance
Mississippi Charter schools may not seek exemption from laws and regulations pertaining to the following:
  • Civil rights
  • Health and safety
  • Open meetings
  • Report cards
  • Automatic expulsion or suspension
  • Minimum number of school days
  • Compulsory attendance
  • Minimum age requirements
  • Abstinence provisions in sexual education courses
  • School recognition and rewards
Missouri Except as provided in the state's charter school law (special education, for instance), a charter school is exempt from all laws and rules relating to schools, governing boards and school districts.
Nevada Exemptions from certain laws, regulations and policies may be negotiated and specified in charter or requested later through a waiver process.
New Hampshire Charter schools are fully exempt from state laws and rules which otherwise apply to public or nonpublic schools or local school boards or districts except for state and federal laws and regulations pertaining to the following:
  • Health and safety
  • Compulsory attendance
  • Number of instructional days
New Jersey Exemptions from particular laws, regulations and policies may be requested in the charter application, except those pertaining to: 
  • Assessment
  • Testing
  • Civil rights
  • Student health and safety
  • Students with disabilities
New Mexico A charter application is required to include a description of both discretionary waivers and waivers provided for in law. The local school board may waive only locally imposed school district requirements.

A state-chartered school is exempt from district requirements. The state department of education must waive requirements relating to:
  • Individual class load and teaching load
  • Length of the school day
  • Staffing patterns
  • Subject areas
  • Purchase of instructional material
  • Evaluation standards for personnel
  • Principal duties and driver education
The state department may waive graduation requirements.

Governing boards of state-chartered schools must be certified as qualified by the board of finance.

New York A charter school must meet the same health and safety, civil rights, and student assessment requirements applicable to other public schools, except as otherwise specifically provided in the state's charter school law. A charter school is exempt from all other state and local laws, rules, regulations or policies governing public or private schools, boards of education and school districts, including those relating to school personnel and students, except as specifically provided in the school's charter or in the state's charter school law. Also, nothing in the state's charter school law affects the requirements of compulsory education established in state law.
North Carolina District rules are waived. Except as provided in the state's charter school law and pursuant to the provisions of its charter, a charter school is exempt from statutes and rules applicable to a local school board or school district.

Laws pertaining to the following may not be waived:
  • Health and safety
  • Instructional days/hours
  • IDEA
  • Assessments
  • 3rd grade reading proficiency and related promotion/retention requirements
  • Personnel benefits
  • Criminal history checks
  • Financial audit requirements
Ohio Except as otherwise specified in the state's charter school law and in the contract between a charter school and a sponsor, a charter school is exempt from all state laws and rules pertaining to schools, school districts, and boards of education, except those laws and rules that grant certain rights to parents. Laws that require compliance are outlined in statute.
Oklahoma Except as provided for in the state's charter school law and a charter school's charter, a charter school is exempt from all statutes and rules relating to schools, boards of education and school districts. There also are a limited amount of waivers available to charter schools. Charter schools are subject to laws and regulations pertaining to:
  • Reporting requirements and financial audits as required by school districts
  • Federal and state laws related to children with disabilities
  • Health and safety
  • Civil rights
  • Insurance
  • Length of instructional year/days
  • Suspensions
Oregon Charter schools receive an automatic waiver from most state and school district education laws, regulations and policies.
Pennsylvania Charter schools receive an automatic waiver from most state and school district laws, regulations and policies, except for those that directly apply to charter schools.
Rhode Island Exemptions from particular state statutes, state regulations, school district rules and collective bargaining provisions must be specified in charter.
South Carolina Except as provided in the state's charter school law, a charter school is exempt from all provisions of law and regulations applicable to public schools, school boards or a districts, although a charter school may elect to comply with one or more of these provisions of law or regulations. However, charter schools must comply with laws pertaining to:
  • Health and safety
  • Student attendance
  • Financial audits
  • Nondiscrimination
Tennessee A charter school may apply to the local school board or the state commissioner of education for a waiver of state board rules and statutes.
Texas Charter schools receive an automatic waiver from most state and school district education laws, regulations and policies. However, they are subject state laws governing public schools when specifically included. Charter schools are also subject to federal laws governing public schools.
Utah Utah law provides automatic exemptions from a small number of laws, but requires charter schools to comply with most state laws applicable to schools. Charter schools must apply for waivers for most exemptions, and the state board may not grant any waivers that would threaten the health and safety of students or cause the school to violate state or federal law.
Virginia Waivers of school district policies are granted at the discretion of the local school board. Waivers of state regulations are granted at the discretion of the state board of education.
Washington Charter schools are exempt from certain rules applicable to school districts, for the purpose of allowing flexibility to innovate in areas such as scheduling, personnel, funding, and educational programs in order to improve student outcomes and academic achievement. Charter schools are exempt from all school district policies except policies made applicable in the school's charter contract.
Wisconsin Charter schools are exempt from most state education laws, regulations and policies.
Wyoming Pursuant to its contract, a charter school may operate free from specified state regulations and school district policies. A school district may waive locally imposed school district requirements without state board of education approval. The state board of education may waive state statutory requirements or rules.
Puerto Rico Charter schools are exempt from state laws, rules, regulations, policies and procedures other than those pertaining to charter schools.


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