Measuring Up

 



Indiana

TOTAL SCORE:
176 out of 240

Rank: 1 out of 44

Year Charter School Law Was Enacted: 2001
Estimated Number of Charter Schools in 2016-17: 95
Estimated Number of Charter School Students in 2016-17: 43,900

Indiana’s law does not cap charter public school growth, includes multiple authorizers, and provides a fair amount of autonomy and accountability. Indiana made notable strides in 2015 to provide more equitable funding to charter schools, although some work remains to be done.

The biggest area for improvement in Indiana’s law is continuation of efforts to close the inequitable funding gap between charter school students and their counterparts in district public schools. Another area is strengthening accountability for full-time virtual charter schools.

Do Indiana's laws align to the model law?

Model Law Component

Matches

Indiana's Charter Law

Score

1. No Caps

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Indiana law does not place any caps on charter school growth.

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1A. No numeric or geographic limits are placed on the number of charter schools or students.

1B. If caps exist, there is room for growth.

N/A

2. A Variety of Charter Public Schools Allowed

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Indiana law allows new start-ups and public school conversions.

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2A. New startups.

2B. Public school conversions.

3. Multiple Authorizers Available

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Indiana law allows local school boards, public four-year universities or their designated representative, the Mayor of Indianapolis, a state charter board, and a governing board of a nonprofit college or university that provides a four-year educational program for which it awards a baccalaureate or more advanced degree to authorize charters.

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3A. The state allows two or more authorizing options (e.g., school districts and a state charter schools commission) for each applicant with direct application to each authorizer.

4. Authorizer & Overall Program Accountability System Required

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

The law requires a registration process for local school boards to affirm their interest in chartering to the state and an application process for a governing board of a nonprofit college or university that provides a four-year educational program for which it awards a baccalaureate or more advanced degree to authorize charters. These processes only apply to entities that have not previously issues a charter for any charter school prior to July 1, 2015.

The law requires authorizers to submit an annual report to the state department of education and the state board of education that contains the following information: results of all standardized testing, end of course assessments, and any other assessments used for each authorized school, student growth and improvement data for each authorized school, attendance rates for each authorized school, graduation rates if appropriate, including attainment of Core 40 and academic honors diplomas for each authorized school, and student enrollment data for each authorized school including the number of students enrolled and the number of students expelled, status of the authorizer’s charter schools, names of the authorizer’s board members or ultimate decision making body, evidence that the authorizer is in compliance with state law, a report summarizing the total amount of administrative fees collected by the authorizer and how the fees were expended, if applicable, total amount of other fees or funds not included in the report received by the authorizer from a charter school and how the fees or funds were expended, and the most recent audits for each authorized school submitted to the authorizer.

The law provides that the state board of education may, after giving at least thirty days notice, require an authorizer to appear at a hearing conducted by the state board if the authorizer has renewed a charter or failed to close a charter school that does not meet the minimum standards in the charter agreement.

The law provides that the state board may, after the hearing, implement one or more of the following actions unless the state board finds sufficient justification for the charter school's performance under the state school accountability system:
• Transfer the authorization of the charter school to another authorizer.
• Order the closure of the charter school at the end of the current school year.
• Order the reduction of any administrative fee collected under state law that is applicable to the charter school.

The law provides that a charter school closed by the state board may not be granted a charter by any other authorizer.

In determining whether to impose consequences, the law requires the state board to consider the following:

• Enrollment of students with special challenges such as drug or alcohol addiction, prior withdrawal from school, prior incarceration, or other special circumstances.
• High mobility of the student population resulting from the specific purpose of the charter school.
• Annual improvement in the performance of students enrolled in the charter school compared with the performance of students enrolled in the charter school in the immediately preceding school year.

According to state law, if the state board has closed or transferred sponsorship of at least twenty-five percent of the charter schools chartered by one authorizer, the authorizer's ability to authorize new charter schools may be suspended by the state board until the state board approves the authorizer to authorize new charter schools. The law provides that a determination to suspend an authorizer’s ability to authorize new charter schools must identify the deficiencies that, if corrected, will result in the approval of the authorizer to authorize new charter schools.

According to the law, if the deficiencies are not corrected within two years after the date the state board suspends the authorizer's authority to authorize new charter schools, the state board, following an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members, may revoke the authorizer's authority to function as an authorizer.

Beginning in 2016, the law requires the state board of education to provide a formal evaluation of the overall state of charter school outcomes in Indiana every five years.

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4A. Registration process for school boards to affirm their interest in authorizing.

4B. Application process for other eligible authorizing entities (except a state charter schools commission).

4C. Authorizer submission of annual report.

4D. The ability for the state to conduct a review of an authorizer’s performance.

4E. The ability for the state to sanction an authorizer for poor performance, including suspending an authorizer’s authority to approve new schools.

4F. Periodic formal evaluation of overall state charter school program and outcomes.

5. Adequate Authorizer Funding

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Indiana law allows all authorizers except local school boards to withhold up to 3% of a school’s funding as an administrative fee.

The law provides that an authorizer's administrative fee may not include any costs incurred in delivering services that a charter school may purchase at its discretion from the authorizer. It provides that the authorizer shall use this funding exclusively for fulfilling authorizing obligations.


The law provides that a charter school may not be required to purchase services from its authorizer as a condition of charter approval or of executing a charter contract, nor may any such condition be implied.


The law allows a charter school to choose to purchase services from its authorizer. In that event, the law requires the charter school and the authorizer to execute an annual service contract, separate from the charter contract, stating the parties' mutual agreement concerning the services to be provided by the authorizer and any service fees to be charged to the charter school. The law states that an authorizer may not charge more than market rates for services provided to a charter school.


According to the law, not later than 90 days after the end of each fiscal year, each authorizer shall provide to each charter school it authorizes an itemized accounting of the actual costs of services purchased by the charter school from the authorizer. The law states that any difference between the amount initially charged to the charter school and the actual cost shall be reconciled and paid to the owed party. If either party disputes the itemized accounting, any charges included in the accounting, or charges to either party, the law allows either party to request a review by the state department of education and requires the requesting party to pay the costs of the review.

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5A. A uniform statewide formula that guarantees annual authorizer funding that is not subject to annual legislative appropriations.

5B. Requirement to publicly report detailed authorizer expenditures.

5C. Separate contract for any services purchased from an authorizer by a school.

5D. Prohibition on authorizers requiring schools to purchase services from them.

6. Transparent Charter Application, Review, and Decisionmaking Processes

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

Indiana law provides application elements for all schools.

Indiana law provides application elements specific to conversion schools, educational service providers, and replications.

Before issuing a charter, the law requires all authorizers but the Indianapolis Mayor to conduct a public hearing concerning the establishment of the proposed charter school. At the public hearing, the law requires the governing body of the school district in which the proposed charter school will be located be given an opportunity to comment on the effect of the proposed charter school on the school corporation, including any foreseen negative impacts on the school district. The law requires the application review process to include thorough evaluation of each written charter application and an in-person interview with the applicant group.

Indiana law requires authorizers to notify an applicant of the acceptance or rejection of the proposal not later than 75 days after the application is submitted. It also requires authorizers to notify the state department of education of receipt of a proposal, acceptance of a proposal, and rejection of a proposal, including the reasons for the rejection.

Indiana law allows applicants to appeal rejected proposals to a state charter school review panel.

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6A. Application elements for all schools.

6B. Additional application elements specific to conversion schools.

6C. Additional application elements specific to using educational service providers.

6D. Additional application elements specific to replications.

6E. Requirement for thorough evaluation of each application, including an in-person interview and a public meeting.

6F. Application approval criteria.

6G. All charter approval or denial decisions made in a public meeting with authorizers stating reasons for denials in writing.

7. Performance-Based Charter Contracts Required

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

Indiana law requires a “charter” (which serves as the “charter contract”).

Indiana law requires the charter to define the roles, powers, and responsibilities for the school and its authorizer.

Indiana law requires the charter to set forth the methods by which the charter school will be held accountable for achieving the educational mission and goals of the charter school, including evidence of improvement in assessment measures (including the state tests and end of course assessments), attendance rates, graduation rates if appropriate, increased numbers of Core 40 diplomas and other college and career ready indicators including advanced placement participation and passage, dual credit participation and passage, and International Baccalaureate participation and passage if appropriate, increased numbers of academic honors and technical honors diplomas if appropriate, student academic growth, financial performance and stability, and governing board performance and stewardship, including compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations, and charter terms.

The law requires a charter school to set annual performance targets in conjunction with the charter school’s authorizer that are designed to help each school meet applicable federal, state, and authorizer expectations.

The law requires that minimum standards for renewal and the standards to avoid closure imposed by authorizers on the charter school in the charter school agreement must include a requirement that the charter school not fall within the application of a state law for chronically low-performing public schools.

Indiana law provides that a charter may be granted for not less than three years or more than seven years.

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7A. With such contracts being created as a separate document from the application and executed by the governing board of the charter school and the authorizer.

7B. With such contracts defining the roles, powers, and responsibilities for the school and its authorizer.

7C. With such contracts defining academic, financial, and operational performance expectations by which the school will be judged based on a performance framework.

7D. With such contracts providing an initial term of five operating years.

8. Comprehensive Charter School Monitoring and Data Collection Processes

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

The law requires authorizers to submit an annual report to the state department of education that contains the following information: results of all standardized testing, end of course assessments, and any other assessments used for each sponsored school; a description of the educational methods and teaching methods employed for each sponsored school, attendance rates for each sponsored school, graduation rates if appropriate, including attainment of Core 40 and academic honors diplomas for each sponsored school, and student enrollment data for each sponsored schools including the number of students enrolled and the number of students expelled, and schools that closed or for which the charter was not renewed, and the reasons for the closure or nonrenewal.

Under state law, a charter must meet generally accepted government accounting principles or face revocation.

Indiana law requires authorizers to oversee a charter's compliance with applicable laws and the charter application.

Indiana law requires authorizers to notify schools of problems that lead to revocation and provide schools with opportunities to remedy such problems.

Indiana law is silent on authorizer authority to take appropriate corrective actions or exercise sanctions short of revocation. In practice, however, authorizers have investigated schools, mandated corrective actions, and placed others on probation. Schools typically comply out of fear of nonrenewal or revocation.

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8A. Required annual school performance reports.

8B. Financial accountability for charter schools (e.g., generally accepted accounting principles, independent annual audit reported to authorizer).

8C. Authorizer authority to conduct oversight activities.

8D. Authorizer notification to its schools of perceived problems, with opportunities to remedy such problems.

8E. Authorizer authority to take appropriate corrective actions or exercise sanctions short of revocation.

8F. Authorizer may not request duplicative data submission from its charter schools and may not use performance framework to create cumbersome reporting requirements.

9. Clear Processes for Renewal, Nonrenewal, and Revocation Decisions

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

Indiana law provides that the renewal application process must, at a minimum, provide an opportunity for the charter school to present additional evidence, beyond the data contained in the performance report, supporting its case for charter renewal, describe improvements undertaken or planned for the charter school, and detail the charter school's plans for the next charter term.

Not later than October 1 in the year in which the charter school seeks renewal of a charter, the law requires the governing board of a charter school seeking renewal to submit a renewal application to the charter authorizer under the renewal application guidance issued by the authorizer. The law requires the renewal application to include guidance from the authorizer and requires the guidance to include the performance criteria that will guide the authorizer's renewal decisions.

The law provides that the minimum standards for renewal and the standards to avoid closure imposed by authorizers on the charter school in the charter school agreement must include a requirement that the charter school not remain in the lowest category or designation of school improvement, including any alternative accountability category or designation, in the third year after initial placement in the lowest category or designation established under state law.

Current Indiana law provides that a charter may be revoked, after the authorizer has notified the school and given reasonable time to correct the issue, for failure to comply with the conditions or procedures established in the charter, failure to meet educational goals established in the charter, failure to comply with all applicable laws, failure to meet generally accepted fiscal management and accounting principles, and if one or more grounds for revocation exist as specified in the charter.

In making charter renewal decisions, the law requires an authorizer to make decisions based upon evidence of the school's performance over the term of the charter contract in accordance with the performance framework set forth in the charter contract, ensure the data used in making renewal decisions are available to the school and the public, and provide a public report summarizing the evidence basis for each decision.

Indiana law provides that a charter may be granted for not less than three years.

The law requires an authorizer to develop revocation and nonrenewal processes that provide the organizer with a timely notification of revocation or nonrenewal and the reasons for the possible revocation or nonrenewal, allow the organizer a reasonable amount of time in which to prepare a response, provide the organizer with an opportunity to submit documents and give testimony in support of the continuation of the charter school at a proceeding held for that purpose, allow the organizer access to representation by counsel, and after a reasonable period for deliberation, require that a final determination be made and conveyed in writing to the organizer.

The law requires all charter renewal, non-renewal, and revocation decisions be made in a public meeting, with authorizers stating reasons for non-renewals and revocations in writing.

Before any charter school closure decision, the law requires an authorizer to develop a charter school closure protocol to ensure timely notification to parents, orderly transition of students and student records to new schools, and proper disposition of school funds, property, and assets.

Before an authorizer may issue a charter to an organizer that has had its charter terminated or has been informed that its charter will not be renewed by the organizer's current authorizer, the law requires the authorizer to request to have the proposal reviewed by the state board at a hearing and must receive approval by the state board.

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9A. Authorizer must issue school performance renewal reports to schools whose charter will expire the following year.

9B. Schools seeking renewal must apply for it.

9C. Authorizers must issue renewal application guidance that provides an opportunity for schools to augment their performance record and discuss improvements and future plans.

9D. Ability to have a differentiated process for renewal of high-performing charter schools.

9E. Authorizers must use clear criteria for renewal and nonrenewal/revocation.

9F. Authorizers must ground renewal decisions based on evidence regarding the school’s performance over the term of the charter contract in accordance with the performance framework set forth in the charter contract.

9G. Requirement that authorizers close chronically low-performing charter schools unless exceptional circumstances exist.

9H. Authorizers must have the authority to vary length of charter renewal contract terms based on performance or other issues.

9I. Authorizers must provide charter schools with timely notification of potential revocation or nonrenewal (including reasons) and reasonable time to respond.

9J. Authorizers must provide charter schools with due process for nonrenewal and revocation decisions (e.g., public hearing, submission of evidence).

9K. All charter renewal, nonrenewal, and revocation decisions must be made in a public meeting, with authorizers stating reasons for nonrenewals and revocations in writing.

9L. Authorizers must have school closure protocols to ensure timely parent notification, orderly student and record transitions, and property and asset disposition.

9M. Any transfer of charter contracts from one authorizer to another are only allowed if they are approved by the state.

10. Transparency Regarding Educational Service Providers (ESPs) Allowed

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Indiana law notes that if a proposed charter school intends to contract with an education service provider for substantial educational services, management services, or both educational services and management services, the applicant must provide: (1) Evidence of the education service provider's success in serving student populations similar to the targeted populations, including demonstrated academic achievement as well as successful management of nonacademic school functions, if applicable. (2) A term sheet setting forth the: (A) proposed duration of the service contract; (B) roles and responsibilities of the organizer, the school staff, and the education service provider; (C) performance evaluation measures and timelines; (D) compensation structure, including clear identification of all fees to be paid to the education service provider; (E) methods of contract oversight and enforcement; (F) investment disclosure; and (G) conditions for renewal and termination of the contract. (3) A disclosure statement to explain any existing or potential conflicts of interest between the organizer and the proposed education service provider or any affiliated business entities. (4) Assurance that the organizer will be structurally independent of the education service provider and shall set and approve school policies.

The law states that individuals who work at a charter school are employees of the charter school or of an entity with which the charter school has contracted to provide services are not exempted from criminal history record checks and fingerprinting requirements.

4

10A. All types of educational service providers (both for-profit and nonprofit) are allowed to operate all or parts of schools.

10B. The charter application requires (1) performance data for all current and past schools operated by the ESP, and (2) explanation and evidence of the ESP’s capacity for successful growth while maintaining quality in existing schools.

10C. A performance contract is required between the independent charter school board and the ESP, with such contract approved by the school’s authorizer.

10D. School governing boards operate as entities completely independent of any ESP, individuals compensated by an ESP are prohibited from serving as voting members on such boards, and existing and potential conflicts of interest between the two entities are required to be disclosed and explained in the charter application.

10E. Provides that charter school governing boards must have access to ESP records necessary to oversee the ESP contract.

10F. An ESP must annually provide information to its charter school governing board on how that ESP spends public funding it receives when the ESP is performing a public function under applicable state law.

10G. Requires that similar criminal history record checks and fingerprinting requirements applicable to other public schools shall also be mandatory for on-site employees of ESPs who regularly come into contact with students.

11. Fiscally and Legally Autonomous Schools with Independent Charter Public School Boards

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Under Indiana law, a charter school may sue or be sued, acquire property, convey property and enter into contracts in its own name, including contracts for services. The law also includes provisions creating boards specifically to govern charter schools.

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11A. Fiscally autonomous schools (e.g., schools have clear statutory authority to receive and disburse funds; incur debt; and pledge, assign, or encumber assets as collateral).

11B. Legally autonomous schools (e.g., schools have clear statutory authority to enter into contracts and leases, sue and be sued in their own names, and acquire real property).

11C. Independent school governing boards created specifically to govern their charter schools.

12. Clear Student Enrollment and Lottery Procedures

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Indiana law requires all charter schools to be open to any student who resides in Indiana.

Indiana law stipulates that if more applications are received than available slots, then each applicant will receive equal consideration.

According to the law, a charter school is subject to all federal and state laws and constitutional provisions that prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability, race, color, gender, national origin, religion, and ancestry.

Indiana law provides that charters may have enrollment preferences for previously enrolled students at conversions, students enrolled at a charter school the previous year, students enrolled at a different charter school held by the same organizer, and siblings of students enrolled at a charter school, but it does not require these preferences.

The law allows charter schools to provide enrollment preference for children of a school’s founders, governing board members, and employees, not exceeding 10% of the school’s total student population.

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12A. Open enrollment to any student in the state.

12B. Anti-discrimination provisions regarding admissions.

12C. Required enrollment preferences for previously enrolled students within conversions and for prior-year students within charter schools.

12D. Lottery requirements.

13. Automatic Exemptions from Many State and District Laws and Regulations

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Indiana law provides that 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, and a local regulation or policy adopted by a school district unless specifically incorporated in the charter do not apply to a charter school, except for the following statutes, rules, and guidelines: required audits by the state board of accounts; unified accounting system; special education; criminal history; laws requiring regulation by state agencies; voiding of teacher contract when two contracts are signed; nondiscrimination for teacher 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, including remediation under the assessment programs; parental access to education records; and accountability for school performance and improvement.

In addition, the following statutes, rules, and guidelines apply to conversion charter schools only if the conversion charter school elects to collectively bargain: teacher contracts, cancellation of teacher contracts, contracts with school administrators, salary and related payments, and conditions of employment. However, for any collective bargaining agreement entered into after July 1, 2015, a governing body is not bound by its collective bargaining agreement for employees of a conversion charter school. Employees of a conversion charter school may organize and collectively bargain only as a unit separate from other school employees.

Indiana law provides that at least 90% of the individuals who teach full time in a charter school must either be certified or be in the process of obtaining a license to teach through the transition to teaching program unless the charter school requests and the state board approves a waiver for a lower percentage. For those in the transition to teaching program, it provides that licenses must be obtained within three years of beginning to teach at a charter school.

The law provides that an individual who does not meet these requirements may teach full time in a charter school if the individual meets one of the following criteria:
 the individual is in the process of obtaining a license to teach in a charter school in Indiana or the individual holds at least a bachelor's degree with a grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale from an accredited postsecondary educational institution in the content or related area in which the individual teaches.
 The law provides that individuals qualifying under these requirements may not exceed 10% of the full time teaching staff unless the charter school requests and the state board approves a waiver for a higher percentage.

The law provides that an individual who holds a part-time teaching position in a charter school must hold at least a bachelor's degree with a grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale from an accredited postsecondary educational institution in the content or related area in which the individual teaches.

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13A. Exemptions from all laws, except those covering health, safety, civil rights, student accountability, employee criminal history checks, open meetings, freedom of information, and generally accepted accounting principles.

13B. Exemption from state teacher certification requirements.

14. Automatic Collective Bargaining Exemption

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Indiana law provides that charter schools are exempt from district collective bargaining agreements.

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14A. Charter schools authorized by nonlocal board authorizers are exempt from participation in any district collective bargaining agreements.

14B. Charter schools authorized by local boards are exempt from participation in any district collective bargaining agreements.

15. Multischool Charter Contracts and/or Multicharter Contract Boards Allowed

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Indiana law provides that an organizer may hold one or more charter contracts and that each charter school that is part of a charter contract must be separate and distinct from any other charter school.

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15A. An independent charter school board may oversee multiple schools linked under a single contract with independent fiscal and academic accountability for each school.

15B. An independent charter school board may hold multiple charter contracts with independent fiscal and academic accountability for each school.

16. Extracurricular and Interscholastic Activities Eligibility and Access

weight = 1 | Possible total = 4

Indiana law is silent about charter eligibility and access.

1

16A. Laws or regulations explicitly state that charter school students and employees are eligible to participate in all extracurricular and interscholastic activities available to noncharter public school students and employees.

16B. Laws or regulations explicitly allow charter school students in schools not providing extracurricular and interscholastic activities to have access to those activities at noncharter public schools.

17. Clear Provisions Regarding Special Education Responsibilities

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Indiana provides that charter schools are designated LEAs and provides that federal, state, and local special education funds flow to charter schools. It also permits charter schools to apply directly for any additional federal or state grants or categorical funding intended for students with high-cost, low-incidence disabilities.

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17A. Clarity regarding which entity is the local education agency (LEA) responsible for providing special education services.

17B. Clarity regarding the flow of federal, state, and local special education funds to the designated LEA.

17C. Clarity regarding funding for low-incident, high-cost services for charter schools (in the same amount and/or in a manner similar to other LEAs).

17D. Clarity that charter schools have access to all regional and state services and supports available to traditional districts.

18. Equitable Operational Funding and Equal Access to All State and Federal Categorical Funding

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

Indiana law grants charters access to most state and federal funding. However, there are still glaring deficiencies in the funding provided to charters, including that charters do not receive local tax levies for transportation and facilities and do not have access to the local capital funds for insurance costs.

In a national study of charter school funding (University of Arkansas, Charter School Funding: Inequity Expands, 2014), Indiana charter schools were receiving on average $8,045 per pupil in public funds, while district public schools would have received $12,897 for those students. As a result, the state's charter schools were receiving $4,852 per pupil - or 37.6% - less than what the district public schools would have received for those students. This figure includes all sources of funding, and analysis reveals continued inequities for operational, categorical, and capital funding (see component 19 for information on capital issues).

0

18A. Equitable operational funding statutorily driven.

18B. Equal access to all applicable categorical federal and state funding and clear guidance on the pass-through of such funds.

18C. Funding for transportation similar to school districts.

18D. Annual report offering district and charter public school funding comparisons and including annual recommendations to the legislature for any needed equity enhancements.

19. Equitable Access to Capital Funding and Facilities

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

In the two-year budget enacted in 2015, the state created a $20 million grant program to disburse a new $500 per charter school student allotment that must be used primarily for facilities and transportation purposes, provided the schools meet performance expectations. The budget also created a new $50 million charter school loan program that will allow charter schools to borrow up to $5 million each at one percent interest for facilities and a wide range of educational needs. Qualification for the loan is based on the same performance criteria used to receive the facilities allotment.

Indiana law grants charter schools located in Indianapolis the ability to obtain facilities financing from the local public improvement bond bank and all other charter schools the ability to obtain financing through the Indiana Bond Bank. Indiana law provides that charter schools have the moral obligation pledge of the City or State to debt issued through these authorities.

Indiana law provides that a local school board must make available for lease or purchase to any charter school any school building owned by the school district that was previously used for classroom instruction if it is not used in whole or in part for classroom instruction at the time the charter school seeks to lease the building or it appears on the list of available school buildings compiled by the state department of education.

The law provides that if a charter school wishes to use a school building on the list created by the state department of education, the charter school must send a letter of intent to the department. The department must notify the school district of the charter school's intent, and the school district that owns the school building must lease the school building to the charter school for $1 per year for as long as the charter school uses the school building for classroom instruction or for a term at the charter school's discretion or sell the school building to the charter school for $1.

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Facilities Funding

19A. A per-pupil facilities allowance that annually reflects actual average district capital costs.

19B. A state grant program for charter school facilities.

19C. Equal access to existing state facilities programs available to noncharter public schools.


Access to Public Space

19D. A requirement for districts to provide school district space or funding to charter schools if the majority of that school’s students reside in that district.

19E. Right of first refusal to purchase or lease at or below fair market value a closed, unused, or underused public school facility or property.


Access to Financing Tools

19F. A state loan program for charter school facilities.

19G. Equal access to tax-exempt bonding authorities or allowing charter schools to have their own bonding authority.

19H. Pledging the moral obligation of the state to help charter schools obtain more favorable bond financing terms.

19I. The creation and funding of a state charter school debt reserve fund.

19J. The inclusion of charter schools in school district bonding and mill levy requests.

19K. A mechanism to provide credit enhancement for charter school facilities.


Other

19L. Charter schools allowed to contract at or below fair market value with a school district, a college or university, or any other public or for-profit or nonprofit private entity for the use of facility for a school building.

19M. Certain entities allowed to provide space to charter schools within their facilities under their preexisting zoning and land use designations.

19N. Charter school facilities exempt from ad valorem taxes and other assessment fees not applicable to other public schools.

20. Access to Relevant Employee Retirement Systems

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Indiana law provides charter schools the option to participate in relevant employee retirement systems in a similar manner to all other public schools.

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20A. Charter schools have access to relevant state retirement systems available to other public schools.

20B. Charter schools have the option to participate (i.e., not required).

21. Full-Time Virtual Charter School Provisions (if such schools allowed by state)

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Indiana law includes a small number of the model law’s provisions regarding full-time virtual charter schools.

The law provides that a virtual charter school may apply for authorization with any statewide authorizer in accordance with the authorizer's guidelines.

The law requires that 60% of the students who are enrolled in virtual charter schools for the first time each school year must have been included in the state’s ADM count for the previous school year.

3

21A. An authorizing structure whereby full-time virtual charter schools that serve students from more than one district may be approved only by an authorizer with statewide chartering jurisdiction and authority, full-time virtual charter schools that serve students from one school district may be authorized by that school district, and a cap is placed on the total amount of funding that an authorizer may withhold from a full-time virtual charter school.

21B. Legally permissible criteria and processes for enrollment based on the existence of supports needed for student success.

21C. Enrollment level provisions that establish maximum enrollment levels for each year of a charter contract, with any increases in enrollment from one year to the next based on whether the school meets its performance requirements.

21D. Accountability provisions that include virtual-specific goals regarding student enrollment, attendance, engagement, achievement, truancy, and attrition.

21E. Funding levels per student based on costs proposed and justified by the operators.

21F. Performance-based funding whereby full-time virtual charter schools are funded via a performance-based funding system based on meeting the accountability performance provisions.