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

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

January 2018


This resource contains information about the 44 states, plus the District of Columbia, with charter school laws. It does not contain any information for the six states that have not enacted charter school laws.

Please contact Micah Ann Wixom or mwixom@ecs.org with questions or comments about the database.
 

Does the state have a charter school law?
Alabama Yes. An initial charter is granted for a period of 5 years.

Citations: Ala. Code § 16-6F-7
Alaska Yes. A contract for a charter school may be for a term of no more than 10 years.

Citations: Alaska Stat. Ann. § 14.03.250 et seq.; Alaska Stat. Ann. § 14.03.275
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.

Citations: Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-181 et seq.; Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-183
Arkansas Yes. Initial charters for "open-enrollment public charter schools" are granted for a 5-year period. Law includes a provision for establishing "adult education charter schools."

Citations: Ark. Code Ann. § 6-23-101 et seq.
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.

Citations: Cal. Educ. Code § 47600 et seq.
Colorado Yes. Institute charter schools are authorized by the state charter school institute. Other charter schools are authorized by local district boards of education. An initial charter is authorized for a period of 4 years and is required to include a budget for a term of at least 5 years. 

Citations: Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-30.5-101 et seq.; Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 22-30.5-106; Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 22-30.5-511
Connecticut Yes. Initial charters are granted for a period of up to 5 years. 

Citations: Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 10-66aa et seq.
Delaware Yes. Initial charters are for 4 years and may be renewed in 5 year increments.

Citations: Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 501 et seq.; Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 503
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 15-year periods.

Citations: D.C. Code § 38-1800.01 et seq.; D.C. Code § 38-1831.01 et seq.; D.C. Code § 38-1802.12
Florida Yes. State law requires use of a standard charter contract. 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, and schools receiving high rankings in the state's accountability program under some conditions automatically receive 15-year renewals. 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.

State law allows for "schools of hope" (schools specifically serving students from low-income families), charter technical career centers, and high-performing charter schools -- all of which are subject to statutory provisions specific to each.

Citations: Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.33; Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.333
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 is not allowed to exceed 6 years.

Citations: Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-2060 et seq.; Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-2080 et seq.; Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-2062; Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-2067
Hawaii Yes. The length of an initial charter is 5 years. Law allows a charter contract to 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. 

Citations: Haw. Rev. Stat. § 302D-1 et seq.; Haw. Rev. Stat. § 302D-14.5; Haw. Rev. Stat. § 302D-18
Idaho Yes. Following an initial 5-year term, a charter may be renewed for successive 5-year terms.

Citations: Idaho Code Ann. § 33-5201 et seq.; Idaho Code Ann. § 33-5205; Idaho Code Ann. § 33-5205b
Illinois Yes. Charters approved after January 1, 2017 may be granted for an initial 5-year term and may be renewed for increments up to 10 years. Prior charters were granted for 5-10 years.

Citations: 105 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 5/27A-1 et seq.; 105 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 5/27A-9
Indiana Yes. Terms for charter schools may range from 3 to 7 years.

Citations: Ind. Code Ann. § 20-24 et seq.; Ind. Code § 20-24-4-1
Iowa Yes. Charter school and innovation zone consortium contracts are issued and renewable for terms of 4 years. An innovation zone school is a public school administered pursuant to an innovation zone school contract entered into by an innovation zone consortium.

Citations: Iowa Code Ann. § 256F.1 et seq.; Iowa Code Ann. § 256F.6
Kansas Yes. Charters are granted and may be renewed for 5-year terms.

Citations: Kan. Stat. Ann. § 72-1907
Kentucky Yes. Terms range from a minimum of 3 years to a maximum of 5 years.

"Achievement academy" has the same meaning as "public charter school." 

A public charter school established within the boundaries of a regional achievement zone is designated a regional achievement academy.  A regional achievement zone is defined as one county containing 4 or more local school districts or 2 or more contiguous counties, each containing 4 or more local school districts. 



Citations: Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 160.1590
Louisiana Yes. Under the Charter School Demonstration Programs Law, charters are initially approved for 4-5 year terms and renewed for 3-10 year terms.

Five types of charters are authorized:
  • Type 1: New school - local school board-authorized. Attendance is limited to students who would have been served in the local district's boundaries.
  • Type 2: New or conversion school - state board-authorized. Students within the state are eligible to attend.
  • Type 3: Conversion school - local school board-authorized. The local board may require approval of a proposal to create such a charter by the members of the faculty and staff of the preexisting school who are certified by the state board and by the parents or guardians of children enrolled in the school. Only pupils who would be eligible to attend schools within the district are eligible to attend.
  • Type 3B: Former Type 5 charter school transferred from Recovery School District back to local school system. 
  • Type 4: New or conversion school - local school board- & state board-authorized. Only pupils eligible to attend schools within the district are eligible to attend, except upon agreement with sending entities.
  • Type 5: Recovery School District schools - state board-authorized. Such proposals may be considered by the state board only upon the recommendation of the administering agency of the Recovery School District. Students who would have been eligible to attend the school prior to transfer to the Recovery School District are eligible, or any student who is eligible to participate in a school choice program established by the prior system if space available in the appropriate grade are eligible to attend. 


Citations: La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:3971; La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:3973; La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:3992
Maine Yes. Charters are granted for initial terms of 5 years, and may be renewed for 5-15 years.

Citations: Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. 20-A § 2401 et seq.; Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. 20-A § 2411
Maryland Yes

Citations: Md. Code Ann., Educ. § 9-101 et seq.
Massachusetts Yes. There are two types of charter schools: 
  • Commonwealth charter schools - authorized by the state board, managed by a board of trustees and operated independently of a school committee (district board of education).
  • Horace Mann charter schools - a public school or part of a public school operated under a charter approved by the school committee (district board of education) and the local collective bargaining unit in the district in which the school is located. Authorized by the state board.

Charters are approved for 5-year terms.

Citations: Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 71 § 89
Michigan Yes. Charter schools are called public school academies. Authorizing bodies determine the length of terms for a charter school and for a school's governing body.

State law has added 3 additional categories of charter schools: 
  • Urban High School Academies.
  • Schools of Excellence, which include cyber charter schools and public school academies that have met certain academic standards and converted to schools of excellence.
  • Strict Discipline Academies.

Also, the board of a school district may grant a charter to an eligible entity for a chartered educational clinic. The application requirements and procedures for such a contract for a chartered educational clinic are the same as for a contract for another public school academy. A chartered educational clinic is a specialty public school academy and may only serve public school pupils described in this section during hours outside the pupil's normal class hours by providing special assistance for up to 3 hours per week, pursuant to a written prescription by the principal of the public school.

Citations: Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 380.501 et seq.; Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 380.501; Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 380.507; Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 380.505a
Minnesota Yes. Charters are granted for terms of up to 5 years. Initial charter terms also include an additional preoperational year.

Citations: Minn. Stat. Ann. § 124E.01 et seq.; Minn. Stat. Ann. § 124E.10
Mississippi Yes. Initial charters are granted for 5 years.

Citations: Miss. Code Ann. § 37-28-1 et seq.
Missouri Yes. Initial charters are granted for 5 years and are renewable upon review.

Citations: Mo. Ann. Stat. § 160.400 et seq., Mo. Ann. Stat. § 160.405
Montana No
Nebraska No
Nevada Yes. An initial charter contract is for a term of 6 years and may be renewed for subsequent 6-year terms.

The state also allows for charter schools to be created from existing public schools under the state's Achievement School District, but these schools are generally not considered charter schools under the state's charter school laws.

Citations: Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 388A.010 et al.; Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 388A.270; Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 388A.285; Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 388A.025; Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 388B.200
New Hampshire Yes. Charters are granted and renewed for 5-year terms.

Citations: N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 194-B:1 et seq., N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 194-B:3
New Jersey Yes. Initial charters are granted for 4 years and may be renewed for 5 years.

Citations: N.J. Stat. Ann. § 18A:36A-1 et seq., N.J. Stat. Ann. § 18A:36A-17
New Mexico Yes. Initial charters are granted for 6 years (with the first year of the contract for planning not writing the application). Contracts are renewed for 5 years, but the renewal may be for less if the school and authorizer agree.

State policy allows school districts to operate as a charter school district approved by the department of education. The charter school district must continue to operate in the same geographic boundaries that existed prior to the conversion. Initial contracts are for five years and may be renewed for successive 5-year periods.

Citations: N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-8B-1 et seq., N. M. Stat. Ann. § 22-8B-12, N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-8E-1 et seq., N. M. Stat. Ann. § 22-8E-4
New York Yes. Charter agreements may not exceed 5 years.

Citations: N.Y. Educ. Law § 2850 et seq., N.Y. Educ. Law § 2853
North Carolina Yes. Charter school terms may not exceed 10 years and may be renewed for subsequent periods of 10 years. 

Citations: N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 115C-218 et seq., N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 115C-218.5, N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 115C-218.6
North Dakota No
Ohio Yes, referred to as community schools. Charter schools have initial contract terms for up to 5 years. New (or "start-up") charter schools are limited to "challenged school districts," meaning school districts that meet certain criteria, including low performance.

Citations: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3314.01 et al., Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3314.02, Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3314.03
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. 

Citations: Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 3-130 et al., Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 3-137
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.

Citations: Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 338.005 et al.; Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 338.065
Pennsylvania Yes. The charter is for a period of 3 to 5 years and may be renewed for 5-year periods. A local school board may renew a charter for a period of 1 year once 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 is needed. 

Citations: 24 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 17-1701-A et al.; 24 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 17-1720-A
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, district charter schools must receive the affirmative support of some of the certified teachers employed within the school district where the district charter school is to be located. Specifically, the number of certified teachers supporting the school must be at least equal to two-thirds of the number of teachers that will be required to staff the proposed district charter school. In addition, new district charter schools must receive parental support for the school. Specifically, the number of parents supporting the new school must represent a number of at least half of the students who would be needed to attend the proposed district charter school.

Citations: R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-77-1 et al.; R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-77.1-1 et al.; R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-77.2-1 et al.; R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-77.3-1 et al.; R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-77.4-1 et al.; R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-77-2.1; R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-77-5.1; R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-77.2-2
South Carolina Yes. Charters are approved and renewed for 10-year terms.

Citations: S.C. Code Ann. § 59-40-10 et al.; S.C. Code Ann. § 59-40-110
South Dakota No. However, state law allows for charter schools that serve primarily American Indian students from federally recognized tribes if the state receives a federal grant.

Citations: S.D. Codified Laws § 13-15A-1 et al.
Tennessee Yes. New charters are granted for 10-year terms, starting with the first day of instruction. Charters are renewed for 10 academic years.

Citations: Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-13-101 et al.; Tenn. Code Ann. § 19-13-121
Texas Yes. There are four types of charter schools in state policy:
  • Home-rule district charters.
  • Open enrollment charters.
  • Campus or campus program charters.
  • University or college charters.
Open enrollment charter schools have an initial charter term of 5 years and renewals are for 10-year terms.

Citations: Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.001 et al.; Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.101; Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.1141; Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.002
Utah Yes. Initial charter terms are not specified, but authorizers must review a charter school once every 5 years.

Citations: Utah Code Ann. § 53A-1a-501 et al.; Utah Code Ann. § 53A-1a-520
Vermont No
Virginia Yes. A charter may be approved or renewed for a period not to exceed 5 school years.

Citations: Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-212.5 et al.; Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-212.12
Washington Yes.  An initial charter contract is granted for 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.

Citations: Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 28A.710.010 et al.; Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 28A.710.190; Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 28A.710.160
West Virginia No
Wisconsin Yes. A charter contract may be granted for up to 5 school years and may be renewed for successive 5-year terms. 

Citations: Wis. Stat. Ann. § 118.40
Wyoming Yes. A charter may be granted for up to 5 years and may be renewed for successive 5-year periods.

Citations: Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 21-3-301 et al.; Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 21-3-309


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