Charter Schools: What rules are waived for charter schools?

Charter Schools: What rules are waived for charter schools?

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.
 

What rules are waived for charter schools?
Alabama Charter schools are not subject to the state's education statutes or any state or local rule, regulation, policy or procedure except those relating to:
  • Civil Rights.
  • Health and safety.
  • Standardized assessments.
  • Compliance with the Alabama Open Meetings Act.
  • Competitive bid laws.


Citations: Ala. Code § 16-6F-9
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 in the contract.

Citations: Alaska Stat. Ann. § 14.03.255
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 federal/state/local rules about: health, safety, civil rights, insurance, disabilities, academic accountability, annual report cards, statewide assessments, and financial and electronic data submission.

Citations: Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-183
Arkansas Exemptions from state and local rules, regulations, and policies are specified in each charter. However, charters cannot be exempt from statewide assessments, reporting, or accountability.

Citations: Ark. Code Ann. § 6-23-103; Ark. Code Ann. § 6-23-107
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, the California building standards, facilities requirements, and fiscal requirements such as the Charters Revolving Loan Fund policies. Charter schools are required to conduct statewide assessments and meet content standards.

Citations: Cal. Educ. Code § 47610; Cal. Educ. Code § 47611; Cal. Educ. Code § 41365
Colorado Pursuant to contract, a charter school may operate free from specified school district policies and free from state rules unless otherwise specified. The state board 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. Charter schools are subject to all federal and state laws and constitutional provisions prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, ancestry, or need for special education services. A charter school also is subject to any court-ordered desegregation plan in effect for the chartering school district and to state accountability and assessment provisions, the Colorado Finance Act and the Children's Internet Protection Act.
 

Citations: Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 22-30.5-104
Connecticut Charter schools are subject to all federal and state laws governing public schools. However, 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. The state board is required by law to adopt rules related to charter management organizations and state law has increasingly enacted provisions related to charter management organizations.

Citations: Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 10-66bb Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 10-66dd
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).
  • Accountability.
  • School attendance and pupil-teacher ratios. 
  • Criminal background checks for school personnel. 
  • Health and safety-related provisions such as bullying awareness and prevention; suicide prevention; teen dating violence; child abuse and neglect, child protection, etc.


Citations: Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 505; Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 512; Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 3101 to Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 3143; Del. Code Ann. tit. 31, § 309; Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 8563
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. They remain subject to federal health and safety, civil rights and related federal laws.

Citations: D.C. Code Ann. § 38-1802.04
Florida Charter schools are exempt from all statutes of the state education code, except for the following:
  • Statutes specifically applying to charter schools.
  • Accountability, student assessment program and school grading system.
  • Provision of services to students with disabilities.
  • Civil rights and discrimination.
  • Student health, safety and welfare.

Additionally, charter schools are required to be in compliance with statutes relating to:
  • Public meetings and records, public inspection, and criminal and civil penalties.
  • Public records.
  • Maximum class size.
  • Compensation and salary schedules.
  • Workforce reductions.
  • Contracts with instructional personnel hired on or after July 1, 2011.
  • Substantive requirements for performance evaluations for instructional personnel and school administrators.
  • Financial record-keeping and reporting.


Citations: Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.33
Georgia Charter schools are exempt from state education law, regulations, policies and procedures except those related to:
  • Health and safety.
  • Financial audits.
  • Accountability, assessments and reporting requirements.
  • A brief period of quiet reflection.
  • Individual graduation plans.
  • Annual performance evaluations.
  • Fingerprinting and background checks.

In addition, charter schools remain subject to all federal, state, and local rules, regulations, court orders, and statutes relating to:
  • Civil rights.
  • Insurance.
  • Physical health and safety of school students, employees, and visitors.
  • Conflicting interest transactions.
  • The prevention of unlawful conduct.


Citations: Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-2065
Hawaii Charter schools are exempt from all applicable state laws except those regarding:
  • Collective bargaining.
  • Nondiscrimination.
  • Health and safety requirements.
  • Standards of conduct for employees.


Citations: Haw. Rev. Stat. § 302D-25
Idaho Each public charter school is exempt from the rules governing school districts, except for charter school-specific rules promulgated by the state board of education and rules relating to the following:
  • Teacher certification.
  • State standardized tests.
  • Federal individuals with disabilities act.
  • Accreditation schools.
  • Qualifications of a student for attendance at an alternative school.
  • Financial reporting.
  • Professional codes and standards, including ethics.
  • A thorough system of public schools (i.e., safe, disciplined, teaching of basic values such as honesty, college and work-ready skills, citizenship, technology).
  • Rules that specifically pertain to charter schools.


Citations: Idaho Code Ann. § 33-5210; Idaho Code Ann. § 33-5204
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 and the school's charter provisions.
  • State goals, standards and assessments.
  • Illinois Labor Relations Act.
  • All federal and state laws and rules that pertain to special education and the instruction of English learners.
  • Dual enrollment and credit notification.
  • Criminal history checks checks and checks of the Statewide Sex Offender Database and Statewide Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Database.
  • State policies related to discipline of students and bullying prevention.
  • 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.
  • Federal and state non-discrimination and desegregation rules.
  • Non-curricular health and safety laws applicable to public schools, including student athlete concussions and provision of feminine hygiene products.


Citations: 105 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 5/27A-4; 105 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/27A-5
Indiana Except as otherwise specified in the charter schools law, charter schools are exempt from the following:
  • Any state statute applicable to a governing body or school district.
  • A rule or guideline adopted by the state board of education.
  • A rule or guideline adopted by the state 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:

  • Required audits by the state board of accounts.
  • Financial accounting.
  • Special education.
  • Criminal history.
  • Regulation by state agencies.
  • 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.
  • Academic standards, accreditation, assessment and remediation.
  • Parental access to education records.
  • Accountability for school performance and improvement.
  • Personal financial responsibility instruction.
  • Career and technical education reporting.
  • CPR training.
  • One semester offering of study of ethnic and racial groups.
  • Open enrollment.


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



Citations: Ind. Code Ann. § 20-24-8-4; Ind. Code Ann. § 20-24-8-5
Iowa A charter school or innovation zone school is exempt from all statutes and rules applicable to a school, school board or a school district, except those federal, state and local laws pertaining to:
  • Accountability, reporting and content standards.
  • Health and safety.
  • Civil and human rights.
  • Non-discrimination.
  • Court-ordered desegregation.
  • Nonsectarian/nonreligious.
  • Free of tuition and application fees.
  • Special education.
  • Financial audits, procedures.
  • Student achievement.
  • Teacher quality.
  • Contracts and discharge of teachers.
  • Transportation.
  • Meetings and records.
  • Number of school days/hours.

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.

Citations: Iowa Code Ann. § 256F.4; Iowa Code Ann. § 256F.5
Kansas State statutes are not waived. Each charter is required to identify the school district policies and state board of education rules and regulations from which waiver is sought and to explain the reasons such waivers are being requested. Charter schools also are required to ensure compliance with applicable health, safety and access laws, school accreditation, to ensure that attendance is reflective of racial/socioeconomic conditions of the district as a whole, to participate in state and local assessments and to comply with attendance records provisions.

Citations: Kan. Stat. Ann. § 72-1906
Kentucky

A public charter school is exempt from all statutes and administrative regulations applicable to the state board, a local school district, or a school, except the public charter school shall adhere to the same health, safety, civil rights, and disability rights requirements as are applied to all public schools and to all requirements otherwise identified in the state public charter school law.

Not waived are requirements related to:

  • Compulsory attendance.
  • Instructional time.
  • Board of directors (governance).
  • Charter contract goals and objectives.
  • Compulsory attendance requirements.
  • ​Qualified teachers.
  • Charter school employees.
  • High school course offerings meet or exceed the minimum required for high school graduation.
  • Education programs designed to meet or exceed the student performance standards adopted by the state board
  • Student participation in required state assessments.
  • Financial accounting principles and audits, audit procedures.
  • Reporting student information data and financial data.
  • Criminal background checks for staff and volunteers, including members of its governing board.
  • Open records and open meeting requirements.
  • Purchasing requirements and limitations.
  • Submission of student data for school report card.
  • Nonsectarian in its programs, admissions policies, employment practices, partnerships, and all other operations and shall not have entrance requirements or charge tuition or fees. 
  • Discrimination.
  • Serve students with disabilities.


Citations: Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 160.1592; Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 161.141
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, civil rights, individuals with disabilities, attendance reporting, student information and open meetings, among many others.
 

Citations: La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:3996
Maine A public charter school is subject to all federal laws and authorities, to local law not inconsistent with the state charter school law and to the charter contract. A public charter school is exempt from all statutes and rules applicable to a noncharter public school, a local school board or a school administrative unit. Charter schools are not, however, exempt from 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.
  • Provision of special education services and related requirements.
  • Responsibility to provide access to career and technical education provided by the resident school administrative unit, the career and technical education region or the career and technical education center.
  • Proficiency-based diploma standards.
  • Educator effectiveness requirements.
  • Approval standards for public preschool programs, if applicable.


Citations: Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. 20-A § 2412
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 or county board, depending on the policy, 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.
  • Roles and responsibilities related to children with disabilities.
  • The state charter school law.

"Eligible charter schools" (a public charter school that has been in existence for at least 5 years and demonstrates to the public chartering authority a history of sound fiscal management, above-average student achievement on statewide assessments and other measures developed by the state board) may ask to be exempt from:
  • Textbook, instructional program, curriculum, professional development, and scheduling requirements.
  • A requirement to establish a school community council.
  • Except for Title I schools, a requirement to establish a school improvement plan.
  • Except for schools with a school activity fund, a requirement to provide school activity fund disclosure statements.
  • Except for prekindergarten classes, class size or staffing ratios.


Citations: Md. Code Ann., Educ. § 9-106; Md. Code Ann., Educ. § 9-104.1; Md. Code Ann., Educ. § 9-107
Massachusetts Charter schools do not receive automatic waivers from state education laws regulating public schools except for sections related to tenure, dismissal, demotion and professional teaching status (Sections 41 & 42). They also must operate in accord with their charters. Horace Mann charters are exempt from collective bargaining agreements to the extent provided by their charters. Horace Mann charter schools may negotiate waivers with their local school boards and collective bargaining units. 

Citations: Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 71 § 89; Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 71 § 89
Michigan A public school academy is required to comply with all applicable law, including all of the following:
  • The open meetings act.
  • The freedom of information act.
  • Rights of public employees.
  • Labor disputes and Employee Relations.
  • Desegregation.
  • Laws concerning participation in state assessments, data collection systems, state level student growth models, state accountability and accreditation systems and other comparative data collection required of other public schools.
  • Miscellaneous other laws.


Citations: Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 380.503
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 various laws and rules pertaining to the following (among a few others):
  • Health and safety, including bullying.
  • Assessments and accountability.
  • Students with a disability.
  • 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.
  • Length of school year.


Citations: Minn. Stat. Ann. § 124E.03
Mississippi A charter school is not subject to any rule, regulation, policy or procedure adopted by the state board of education or the state department of education unless otherwise required by the authorizer or in the charter contract. Charter schools are not exempt from the following laws and regulations, among others:
  • Assessment and accountability requirements 
  • Civil rights
  • Health and safety
  • Open meetings
  • Public records
  • Automatic expulsion or suspension
  • Minimum number of school days
  • Compulsory attendance
  • Minimum age requirements
  • Abstinence provisions in sexual education courses
  • School recognition and rewards


Citations: Miss. Code Ann. § 37-28-45
Missouri Except as provided in the state's charter school law (special education and accountability, for instance), a charter school is exempt from all laws and rules relating to schools, governing boards and school districts.

Citations: Mo. Ann. Stat. § 160.405
Nevada Every two years, the public charter school authority must, in consultation with the department of education and sponsors of charter schools, review all statutes and regulations from which charter schools are not exempt and determine whether those policies assisted or impeded charter schools. 

During the application process, charter management organizations may request waivers from requirements governing the charter school governing body membership.

Citations: Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 388.171
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
  • Accountability


Citations: N.H. Rev. Stat. § 194-B:3, N.H. Rev. Stat. § 194-B:8
New Jersey A charter school application may request exemptions from various laws, regulations and policies, except those pertaining to: 
  • Assessment
  • Testing
  • Civil rights
  • Student health and safety
  • Students with disabilities


Citations: N.J. Stat. Ann. § 18A:36A-11
New Mexico A charter application is required to include a description of both discretionary waivers and waivers provided for in law. 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

For schools authorized by a local school board, the board may waive only locally-imposed school district requirements. A state-chartered school is exempt from district requirements. The department of education may waive graduation requirements.

Charter School Districts: Charter school districts are exempt from policies and rules pertaining to school day length, staffing, subject areas, and instructional materials. The department of education may waive other requirements, and local school boards may seek waivers from department rules in the charter school application. 



Citations: N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-8B-4, N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-8B-5, N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-8B-8, N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-8E-4, N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-8E-5
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.

Citations: N.Y. Educ. Law § 2854
North Carolina 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. However, laws pertaining to the following may not be waived:
  • Health and safety. 
  • Instructional days and hours.
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvements Act.
  • The school's programs must at least meet the student performance standards adopted by the state board of education and the performance standards in the school's charter.
  • Assessments required by the state board of education.
  • 3rd grade reading proficiency and related promotion and retention requirements.


Citations: N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 115C-218.10, N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 115C-218.75, N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 115C-218.85
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. Charter schools must comply with certain laws pertaining to, among others:
  • Assessments
  • Health and safety
  • Student discipline 
All policies requiring compliance are outlined in statute.

Citations: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3314.03, Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3314.04
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


Citations: Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 3-136
Oregon Charter schools receive an automatic waiver from most state and school district education laws, regulations and policies except those pertaining to, among a few others:
  • Health and safety
  • Nondiscrimination
  • Public meetings and records
  • Instructional time


Citations: Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 338.115
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. Charter schools must comply with provisions relating to, among others:
  • Discrimination
  • Instructional time
  • Civil rights
  • Health and safety
  • Attendance


Citations: 24 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 17-1715-A; 17-1732-A
Rhode Island The state board of education may grant waivers for most state education laws. However, charter schools are subject to laws relating to, among others:
  • Health and safety
  • School year length
  • Teacher tenure and retirement
  • Nondiscrimination


Citations: R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-77.2-6; R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-77.2-7; R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-77.3-6; R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-77.3-7; R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-77.4-6; R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-77.4-7
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, among others:
  • Health and safety
  • Student attendance
  • Financial audits
  • Nondiscrimination


Citations: S.C. Code Ann. § 59-40-50
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. Rules relating to the following may not be waived, among others:
  • Civil rights
  • Nondiscrimination
  • Health and safety
  • Open meeting laws
  • Public records
  • Instruction time
  • Parental rights
  • Weapons on school property


Citations: Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-13-105; Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-13-111
Texas Charter schools receive an automatic waiver from most state and school district education laws. Although applicability varies by type of charter school, most are still subject to the following state laws, among others:
  • Health and safety
  • Accountability
  • Bilingual education
  • Public Education Information Management System
  • Prekindergarten programs
  • Criminal history records


Citations: Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.012; Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.013; Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.055; Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.056; Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.103; Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.104; Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.156
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 may apply to the state board of education for waivers from state board rules most exemptions, but 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.

Citations: Utah Code Ann. § 53A-1a-511
Virginia Charter schools may operate free from various school district policies and state regulations as established in the school's contract, but are subject to the following laws: 
  • The state's Standards of Quality, including Standards of Learning and Standards of Accreditation. 
  • Civil rights, health, and safety. 
  • Assessment and accountability requirements.
  • Nondiscrimination. 


Citations: Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-212.6; Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-212.6:1
Washington Charter schools are exempt from most statutes and rules applicable to school districts and all school district policies, but must comply with those statues and rules specified in the charter contract. Additionally, charter schools must comply with laws pertaining to the following: 
  • Health and safety
  • Nondiscrimination
  • State assessments
  • State performance improvement goals


Citations: Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 28A.710.040
Wisconsin Charter schools are exempt from most state education laws, regulations and policies unless explicitly provided.

Citations: Wis. Stat. Ann. § 118.40
Wyoming Pursuant to its contract, a charter school may operate free from various state regulations and school district policies, as specified in the charter school contract and approved by the state board of education. 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, except those relating to the assessments or standards required to be administered. Charter schools are subject to nondiscrimination laws. 

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


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