Charter Schools - Does the state have a charter school law?

Charter Schools - Does the state have a charter school law?

January 2016


At the present time, 43 states and the District of Columbia have enacted charter school laws, so this database contains information only for them. It does not contain any information for the 7 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.
 

Does the state have a charter school law?
Alabama Yes.  An initial charter term is granted for a period of five years.
Alaska Yes. A contract for a charter school may be for a term of no more than 10 years.
Arizona Yes. The charter is effective for 15 years from the first day of the fiscal year as specified in the charter and may be renewed for successive periods of 20 years.
Arkansas Yes. Initial charters are granted for a 5-year period.
California Yes. A charter may be granted for a period not to exceed 5 years, and each renewal is for a period of 5 years.
Colorado Yes. An initial charter is authorized for a period of at least 4 years.
Connecticut Yes. Charters are granted for a period of up to 5 years. 
Delaware Yes. Initial charters are for 4 years and may be renewed in 5 year increments.
District of Columbia Yes. A charter granted to a public charter school remains in force for a 15-year period and may be renewed for an unlimited number of times, each time for a 15-year period.
Florida Yes. The initial term of a charter is 4 or 5 years. Charter schools operating for a minimum of 3 years and demonstrating exemplary academic programming and fiscal management are eligible for a 15-year charter renewal. Charter schools that are operated by a municipality or other public entity, charter lab schools, and charter schools that are operated by a private, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) status corporation are eligible for up to a 15-year charter. Long-term charters remain subject to annual review and may be terminated during the term of the charter.
Georgia Yes. The initial term of a charter is a minimum of 5 years, unless the petitioner requests a shorter period of time, but cannot exceed 10 years. Renewals may not exceed 10 years. The initial term of a charter for a charter system cannot exceed 5 years and and renewals cannot exceed 10 years.
Hawaii Yes. The law does not specify the length of an initial charter. It allows that a charter contract may be renewed for successive 5-year terms, although an authorizer may vary the terms based on performance, demonstrated capacities, and particular circumstances of each charter school. 
Idaho Yes. Following an initial 3-year term, a charter may be renewed for successive 5-year terms.
Illinois Yes. Charters may be granted for a 5 to 10 school-year term and may be renewed for 5 school years or less.
Indiana Yes. Charter terms are 3 to 7 years.
Iowa Yes. Charters are issued for terms of at least 4 years.
Kansas Yes. Charters are granted and renewed for 5-year terms.
Kentucky No
Louisiana Yes. Charters are initially approved for 4-5 year terms and renewed for 3-10 year terms.
Maine Yes. Charters are granted for initial terms of 5 years, and may be renewed for 5-15 years.
Maryland Yes
Massachusetts Yes. Charters are approved for 5-year terms.
Michigan Yes. Authorizing bodies determine the length of charter terms.

Charter schools, called "public school academies", include three categories:
  • Urban high school academies
  • Schools of excellence, which includes cyber charter schools and public school academies which have met certain academic standards and converted to schools of excellence
  • Strict discipline academies, which serve a specific population of at-risk students and do not meet the federal definition of charter schools
Minnesota Yes. Charters are granted for terms of up to 5 years. Initial charter terms also include an additional preoperational year.
Mississippi Yes. However, the law includes a sunset clause that repeals all provisions July 1, 2020.
Missouri Yes. Initial charters are granted for 5 years and are renewable upon review.
Montana No
Nebraska No
Nevada Yes. A written charter or a charter contract is for a term of 6 years.
New Hampshire Yes. Charters are granted and renewed for 5-year terms.
New Jersey Yes. Charters are for 4 years and may be renewed for a 5-year period.
New Mexico Yes. The first term of a charter school contract is 6 years (with the first year for planning; not writing application); after that, contracts are 5 years or less than 5 years if agreed to by the school's authorizer.
New York Yes. Charter agreements may not exceed 5 years.
North Carolina Yes. Charter school terms may not exceed 10 years with reviews required every 5 years.
North Dakota No
Ohio Yes. Such schools are referred to as community schools. Terms are for up to 7 years. New (or "start-up") charter schools are only allowed in "challenged school districts," or districts meeting certain criteria, including low performance.
Oklahoma Yes. Terms for charter schools may not exceed 5 years, although sponsors may vary the length of the term based on performance and other specific circumstances. 
Oregon Yes. The initial charter is for a period of not more than 5 years. The first renewal of a charter must be for the same time period as the initial charter. Subsequent renewals of a charter are for a minimum of 5 years but may not exceed 10 years.
Pennsylvania Yes. The charter is for a period of 3 to 5 years and may be renewed for 5-year periods. However, a local school board may renew a charter for a period of 1 year if the board determines that there is insufficient data adequately assess the charter school's academic performance and determines that an additional year of performance data would provide enough data to assist the board in making its decision to renew the charter for a period of 5 years. A local school board does not have the authority to renew a charter for successive 1-year periods.
Rhode Island Yes. Initial charters and renewals are for periods up to 5 years. There are three types of charter schools:
  • District charter schools
  • Independent charter schools
  • Mayoral academies
New, or start up, charter schools must receive the affirmative support of a number of certified teachers employed within the school district where the district charter school is to be located at least equal to two-thirds of the number of teachers that will be required to staff the proposed district charter school. To demonstrate parental support within the school district, the charter must receive the affirmative support of parents representing a number of students currently enrolled in the school district equal to at least one-half of the number of students who would be needed to attend the proposed district charter school.
South Carolina Yes. Charters are approved or renewed for 10-year terms.
South Dakota No. However, state law allows for charter schools that serve only American Indian students from federally recognized tribes if the state receives a federal grant.
Tennessee Yes. New and renewal charters are granted for 10-year terms.
Texas Yes. There are four types of charter schools in state policy:
  1. Home-rule charters
  2. Open enrollment charters
  3. Campus or campus program charters
  4. University or college charters
Open enrollment charter schools have an initial charter term of 5 years and renewals are for 10-year terms.
Utah Yes
Vermont No
Virginia Yes. A charter may be approved or renewed for a period not to exceed 5 school years.
Washington Yes.  An initial charter contract is granted for a term of 5 operating years. A charter contract may be renewed for successive 5-year terms, although the authorizer may vary the term based on the performance, demonstrated capacities, and particular circumstances of a charter school and may grant renewal with specific conditions for necessary improvements to a charter school.
West Virginia No
Wisconsin Yes. A charter contract may be for any term not exceeding 5 school years and may be renewed for successive 5-year terms. 
Wyoming Yes. A charter may be granted for a period not to exceed 5 years and may be renewed for successive 5-year periods.


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