Measuring Up



weight: 3 | possible total: 12

1. No Caps

1A. No limits are placed on the number of public charter schools or students (and no geographic limits).

1B. If caps exist, adequate room for growth.

How well do states’ laws align to this component of the model law?

State

Charter Law Description

Score

Alabama

Alabama law provides that authorizers may not approve more than 10 start-up public charter schools in a fiscal year. This cap expires on April 1 immediately following the conclusion of the fifth fiscal year after the effective date of the Alabama School Choice and Student Opportunity Act. There is no cap on conversion public charter schools.

9

Alaska

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

12

Arizona

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

12

Arkansas

Arkansas law provides that an unlimited number of conversion charter schools may exist. Arkansas law provides that the number of open enrollment charters that are allowed automatically increases by five each time the number of schools comes within two slots of the cap, which is initially set at 24.

The law provides that an open enrollment charter school may not open in the service area of a public school district administratively reorganized under state law until after the third year of the administrative reorganization.

9

California

Under California law, the current cap on charter schools is 1,950 statewide, but the cap is raised by 100 schools each year. There are currently 1,184 charter schools open in the state.

9

Colorado

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

12

Connecticut

Connecticut law contains the following caps: 250 students per state board of education-authorized charter or 25 percent of the enrollment of the district in which the charter is located, whichever is less, and 300 students per state board of education-authorized K-8 charter or 25 percent of the enrollment of the district in which the charter is located, whichever is less. State law allows the state board to waive these cap restrictions for charters with a demonstrated record of achievement.

State law allows public charter schools to open only in towns that have one or more schools that have been designated as a commissioner’s network school or in towns that have been designated as a low-achieving school district.

State law provides that on and after July 1, 2012, and before July 1, 2017, the state board of education shall not approve more than four applications for the establishment of new state charter schools unless two of the four such applications are for the establishment of two new state charter schools whose mission, purpose, and specialized focus is to provide dual language programs or other models focusing on language acquisition for English language learners.

3

Delaware

Delaware law provides that no new charter schools shall be authorized to open in the City of Wilmington prior to June 30, 2018, or until the development of a needs assessment and strategic plan for specialized public educational opportunities throughout the state, including those at traditional, magnet, charter, and vocational-technical schools.

Delaware law contains a provision allowing local school boards to refuse to accept applications in any given year, which is a potential deterrent for applicants. The law does not contain a similar provision for the state department of education.

6

District of Columbia

The law limits charter school growth to 10 new charter schools per authorizer each year. In addition, in any year where an authorizer does not approve 10 new petitions by April 1, another authorizer may grant additional charters before June 1, provided that the total number of new charters approved by all authorizers in any calendar year does not exceed 20.

However, charters are approved for a local educational agency (LEA). Each LEA can operate multiple campuses if approved to do so by the authorizer. There is no restriction in the law on the number of campuses an LEA can operate and additional campuses opened by the same LEA do not count against the cap.

9

Florida

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

12

Georgia

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

12

Hawaii

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

12

Idaho

Idaho law does not place any caps on charter schools authorized by local school boards and the state charter school commission. However, it provides that higher education authorizers may approve only one new public charter school each year within the boundaries of a single school district.

9

Illinois

Illinois law contains a limit of 120 charter schools, with a maximum of 75 in Chicago and 45 in the rest of the state. It reserves five of the charters in Chicago for dropout recovery schools. Illinois law includes a moratorium on virtual charter schools outside of Chicago until December 31, 2016. There are currently 67 charter schools open in Illinois — 52 in Chicago (including two dropout recovery charter schools) and 15 in the rest of the state.

6

Indiana

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

12

Iowa

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

12

Kansas

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

12

Louisiana

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

12

Maine

While Maine law does not limit the number of charter schools that may be approved by local school boards, it does provide that there can be no more than 10 schools approved by the State Charter Schools Commission during its first 10 years. This “cap” is repealed by statute effective 2022. There are currently seven charter schools that have been approved by the State Charter Schools Commission.

Maine law also contains temporary enrollment caps in that a charter school cannot enroll more than 5 percent to 10 percent (depending on the size of the school administrative unit) of a school administrative unit’s students per grade level in each of the first three years that a school is open.

Maine law provides a one-year moratorium on the authorization of virtual public charter schools by the State Charter Schools Commission until May 2016.

3

Maryland

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

12

Massachusetts

Massachusetts law contains the following caps on charter school growth:

(1) 120 charter schools statewide are permitted, with 72 reserved for commonwealth charter schools and 48 reserved for Horace Mann charter schools.
(2) Not less than two of the new charters approved by the state board of education in any year shall be granted for charter schools located in districts where overall student performance on the statewide assessment system is in the lowest 10 percent statewide in the two years preceding the charter application.
(3) In any fiscal year, no school district’s total charter school tuition payment to commonwealth charter schools shall exceed 9 percent of said district’s net school spending. However, in the districts performing in the lowest 10 percent statewide, this percentage will increase from 9 percent to 18 percent between Fiscal Year 2011 and Fiscal Year 2017, with any new charters above the previous cap of 9 percent reserved for the replication of high-performing schools in these districts. The law provides that the schools authorized above the previous cap of 9 percent do not count toward the cap of 72 commonwealth charter schools.
(4) The state board of education shall not approve a new commonwealth charter school in any community with a population of less than 30,000 unless it is a regional charter school. In any year, the state board of education shall approve only one regional charter school application of any commonwealth charter school located in a school district where overall student performance on the statewide assessment system is in the top 10 percent in the year preceding charter application.

There are currently 80 charter schools open in Massachusetts—70 commonwealth charter schools and 10 Horace Mann charter schools. However, the state’s cap on a school district’s total charter school tuition payment to commonwealth charter schools in the districts performing in the lowest 10 percent statewide is a constraint on growth in several school districts in the state (including Boston).

3

Michigan

Michigan law is generally free of caps. However, it does contain caps on charter “schools of excellence” and cyber charter schools.

Michigan law allows charter “schools of excellence”—of which the first five must serve high school students. With the exception of statewide cyber schools, schools of excellence may be approved only within districts having a graduation rate of less than 75 percent for the most recent three school years for which the data are available. Michigan law includes a cap of 15 on the total number of contracts that may be issued by all statewide authorizing bodies for schools of excellence that are cyber schools. The law provides that a board of a school district, an intermediate school board, the board of a community college that is not a statewide authorizing body, or two or more public agencies acting jointly according to state law may not act as the authorizing body for more than one school of excellence that is a cyber school.

The law allows a cyber school to serve up to 2,500 students in its first year of operation, not more than 5,000 students in its second year of operation, and not more than 10,000 students in its third and subsequent years of operation. The law provides that the total statewide enrollment in cyber schools may not exceed 2 percent of the state’s public school student population in the 2013–14 school year and each school year thereafter.

9

Minnesota

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

12

Mississippi

Mississippi law allows the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board to approve a maximum of 15 qualified charter applications during a fiscal year.

6

Missouri

Missouri law allows public charter schools to open in the Kansas City school district, the St. Louis school district, unaccredited districts, and accredited districts. It will allow public charter schools to open in provisionally accredited districts starting in 2015.

Missouri law prohibits public charter schools from serving more than 35% of public school students in accredited school districts that enroll 1,500 or more students.

9

Nevada

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

12

New Hampshire

New Hampshire law allows up to 10 conversion or new charter schools per year for those approved by both a local school board and the state board of education.

New Hampshire law also provides that no more than 10 percent of the resident pupils in a district in any grade are eligible to transfer to a state-authorized charter school in any school year without local school board approval.

There are 19 charter schools in the state.

6

New Jersey

New Jersey law does not place any caps on charter school growth.

12

New Mexico

New Mexico law provides that no more than 15 schools may open each year with a five-year cap of 75, with slots not filled within a five-year period rolled over to the next five years. New Mexico law also requires that an application for a charter school in a district with 1,300 or fewer students may not enroll more than 10 percent of the students in the district in which the charter school will be located.

6

New York

New York law contains a cap of 460 start-up charter schools. A 2015 revision to the Charter Schools Act provides of the remaining 181 charters that can be issues by the state, 50 charters issued on or after July 1, 2015, and no more, shall be granted to a charter for a school to be located in New York City. Additionally, the new law eliminated sub-caps on the number of charters each of the two statewide authorizing entities could issue.

9

North Carolina

North Carolina law does not place any caps on charter school growth.

12

Ohio

Ohio law allows conversion schools in all districts. Ohio law limits start-up brick-and-mortar charters to “challenged” districts, which are those districts rated in the lowest 5 percent in the state’s performance index, the “Big 8” districts (Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown), and districts within the former Lucas County pilot area. There were approximately 58 “challenged” districts (out of more than 600) for the 2013–14 school year. There is no cap on the number of public charter schools allowed in “challenged” districts.

Ohio law allows each authorizer to approve up to 100 schools, except for the state department of education, which can approve no more than 20 schools each year during its initial five years of chartering, and of those 20, only five can be new start-ups.

Ohio law allows five new e-schools per year. Ohio law provides that an e-school cannot enroll more students than the number permitted by its enrollment limit. The law defines an enrollment limit as a school’s base enrollment plus its allowed annual rate of growth. For currently operating schools, the law provides that the base enrollment is the school’s enrollment number at the end of the 2012-13 school year. For new schools, the law provides that the base enrollment is 1,000 students. For schools with more than 3,000 students, the law provides that the allowed annual rate of growth is no more than 15 percent. For schools with less than 3,000 students, the law provides that the allowed annual rate of growth is no more than 25 percent.

6

Oklahoma

State law allows most authorizers to approve an unlimited number of charter schools. However, In counties with fewer than 500,000 population, the state board of education shall not sponsor more than five charter schools per year each year for the first five years after the effective date of this act in 2015, with not more than one charter school sponsored in a single school district per year. Statute also limits the state board of education to approving not more than two schools affiliated with the Office of Juvenile Affairs between July 1, 2010, and July 1, 2016.

9

Oregon

Oregon law does not place any caps on charter school growth. However, the law provides that if more than 3 percent of students residing in a district are enrolled in virtual charter schools not sponsored by that district, any additional resident students must receive approval from the district before enrolling in a virtual charter school. The law provides for a state appeal if the district does not give approval in such cases.

12

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania law does not place any caps on charter school growth. However, some school districts have chosen to place a moratorium on new schools and issue enrollment caps.

9

Rhode Island

Rhode Island law permits 35 charter schools statewide. There are currently 19 charter schools operating in the state.

6

South Carolina

South Carolina law does not place any caps on charter school growth.

12

Tennessee

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

12

Texas

Texas law has the following caps on open-enrollment charter schools: 240 charters beginning September 1, 2015; 255 charters beginning September 1, 2016; 270 charters beginning September 1, 2017; 285 charters beginning September 1, 2018; and 305 charters beginning September 1, 2019. Currently, there are 196 operational charters in the state.

However, it does not have a cap on open-enrollment university charter schools, open-enrollment junior college charter schools, or school district-authorized charter schools. The law allows for detention, correctional, or residential facilities serving juvenile offenders to apply for a charter with the state board of education. It also provides that charters granted for dropout recovery schools are not counted against the cap.

The law allows up to five open-enrollment charters to be granted for schools primarily serving students with disabilities. It provides that these schools are not counted against the larger charter cap.

It is important to note that existing open enrollment charter schools can apply to the Texas Education Agency for expansion. In addition, high-performing charter schools may add a new campus without preapproval from the agency.

9

Utah

Utah law provides that the enrollment in charter schools in the 2015–16 school year may increase up to 8,450 students over the projected enrollment of 66,578 in the 2014–15 school year.

In approving an increase in charter school enrollment capacity for new charter schools and expanding charter schools, the state board of education shall give high priority to approving a new charter school or a charter school expansion in a high-growth area (i.e., an area of the state where school enrollment is significantly increasing or projected to significantly increase) and low priority to approving a new charter school or a charter school expansion in an area where student enrollment is stable or declining.

6

Virginia

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

12

Wisconsin

Wisconsin law is generally free of caps on charter school growth. However, Wisconsin law provides that the number of charter schools authorized by the college of Menominee Nation and the Lac Courte Orielles Ojibwa community college may not exceed six.

9

Wyoming

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

12