Measuring Up



weight: 3 | possible total: 12

3. Multiple Authorizers Available

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.

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

State

Charter Law Description

Score

Alaska

Alaska law only provides one authorizing option for charter applications. First, the local school board must approve it. Second, the state board of education must approve it. There are 27 charter schools open in the state.

3

Arizona

Arizona law allows charter applicants to apply to a local school board (for schools only within their geographic boundaries), the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools (ASBCS), the state board of education, a university, a community college district, or a group of community college districts. However, the state board of education has a self-imposed moratorium on charter authorizing, so ASBCS currently oversees all schools approved by both state boards. There is considerable authorizing activity by local school boards, higher educational institutions, and the ASBCS.

12

Arkansas

Arkansas law requires conversion charter schools to be approved by the local school board and the state department of education. It allows new start-up charter school applications (known as open enrollment charter schools in the state) to be reviewed by the local school board prior to review by the state department of education. However, it provides that the local school board’s approval or denial has no binding effect on the state department’s decision.

The law allows a charter applicant, public charter school, and affected school district to submit in writing a request that the state board review the final decision by the department. The law provides that the state board of education may exercise a right of review of a charter determination made by the department on a motion approved by a majority vote. If the state board votes to review a final decision made by the department, the state board may decide by majority vote of the quorum to affirm the decision of the department, take other lawful action on the public charter, or request additional information from the department, public charter school, public charter school applicant, or affected school district.

There are 39 charter schools open in the state.

3

California

California law allows local school boards, county boards of education, and the state board of education to authorize charter schools. The law provides that a local school board may approve charter schools that will operate within the geographic boundaries of the school district.

The law allows a county board of education to approve a charter that will serve pupils for whom the county office of education would otherwise be responsible for providing direct education and related services or will operate at one or more sites within the county’s geographic boundaries as a countywide charter and provide instructional services not generally provided by the county office of education. In addition, the law provides that the county board must find that the charter will serve pupils who will benefit from those services and who cannot be served by a charter school that operates in only one school district in the county.

The law allows the state board of education to approve a charter school that will operate in multiple sites throughout the state if the charter will provide instructional services of statewide benefit.

The law allows a charter applicant denied by a local school board to appeal first to the county board of education and then to the state board of education.

There is considerable authorizing activity by local school boards, county school boards, and the state board of education.

9

Colorado

Colorado law allows all local school boards to authorize charter schools, provided that a majority of students (other than online students) at a charter school authorized by a district reside in that district or in contiguous school districts.

In addition, Colorado law has established an independent Charter School Institute with statewide chartering authority except in districts granted “exclusive chartering authority” by the state board of education. The law provides that exclusive chartering authority is a privilege and allows the state board to remove it for authorizers not meeting expectations. Colorado law automatically provides exclusive chartering authority to districts enrolling fewer than 3,000 pupils. It requires other local school boards to apply to the state board for exclusive chartering authority within the geographic boundaries of their district. It also provides that each local school board that was granted exclusive chartering authority by April 17, 2008 retains that authority until the local school board voluntarily relinquishes it or the state board revokes it pursuant to Colorado law.

6

Connecticut

Connecticut law provides that state charters must be approved by the state board of education and that local charters must be approved by the local school board and the state board of education. There are currently 18 charter schools in the state.

3

Delaware

Delaware law requires applicants for public school conversions to apply to local school boards and applicants for new start-ups to apply to either local school boards or the state department of education with assent from the state secretary of education and the state board of education. There is some authorizing activity by the state department of education but little activity by local school boards.

6

District of Columbia

The law established two authorizers, the DC Board of Education (BOE) and the DC Public Charter School Board (PCSB). However, the BOE is now defunct, and in 2007 the PCSB assumed oversight of all the charter schools formerly overseen by the BOE. The law also permits the Council of the District of Columbia to designate another entity as an authorizer, which has not occurred. There are 60 charters operating 107 schools in DC.

9

Florida

Florida law allows local school boards, state universities (for lab schools only), and community college district boards of trustees (for charter technical career centers only) to serve as authorizers. While the state only has essentially a single viable authorizer option available, there is considerable authorizing activity.

The law provides an appeals process in which a rejected applicant can appeal to a charter school appeal commission, which makes a recommendation to the state board of education. The law provides that the state board of education can vote to require an authorizer to accept an application. The law requires any appeals involving proposals to replicate a high performing charter school be made directly to the state board of education and requires the authorizer to provide clear and convincing evidence that the application does not meet the requirements specified in law.

There are 625 charter schools open in the state.

9

Georgia

Georgia law allows local school boards, a state charter school commission, and the state board of education to serve as authorizers. It requires those seeking a state charter school with a state-wide attendance area to apply directly to the commission and to provide a copy of their application as information only to the local board in which the school will be located. For those seeking a state charter school with a defined attendance area, the law requires the application to be submitted concurrently to the local board(s) impacted by the proposal and the commission. The law provides that the commission cannot consider the application until it is denied at the local level or no action is taken on it at the local level within 60 days of submission. The law requires the state board of education to review and allows it to overrule the approval or renewal of a state charter school by the state charter school commission within 90 days of such decision.

Georgia law also allows applicants to appeal denials by local school boards to the state board of education, who serves as the authorizer if it overturns the local school board’s denial. Such schools are called “state-chartered special schools.”

There is considerable authorizing activity by local school boards and the state charter school commission.

9

Hawaii

Hawaii law creates a state public charter school commission that has statewide authorizing authority. In addition, the law allows accredited public and private postsecondary institutions, county and state agencies, and nonprofits to apply to the state board of education to become an authorizer. Such additional authorizers, however, cannot be approved sooner than July 1, 2014. There are 33 charter schools open in the state.

3

Idaho

Idaho law allows the following entities to authorize charter schools: local school boards, a state charter school commission, a state public college, university, or community college, and a private, nonprofit, state-based, nonsectarian college or university that is accredited by the same organization that accredits state public colleges and universities. The law also allows the state board of education to authorize schools upon appeal if denied by an authorizer other than a local school board and to redirect denials by local school boards to the state charter school commission.

Unless it is a petition for approval by a higher education authorizer, the law requires that applications for non-virtual charter schools must first be submitted to the local school board.

The law provides that virtual charter school applications may be submitted to any authorizer except a local school board.

There is considerable authorizing activity by the state charter school commission and local school boards.

12

Illinois

Illinois law allows local school boards to serve as authorizers. In addition, a charter school applicant may apply to the State Charter School Commission if: 1) it is denied by the local school board first; 2) in the case of a charter school proposed to be jointly authorized by two or more school districts, the local school boards unanimously deny the charter school proposal with a statement that the local school boards are not opposed to the charter school, but that they yield to the Commission in light of the complexities of joint administration.

The law also requires a local school board, whenever petitioned to do so by 5% or more of the voters of a school district or districts identified in a charter school proposal, to submit to the voters at a regularly scheduled election the question of whether a new charter school shall be established. The law provides that if the majority of voters approve the referendum, the State Charter School Commission must enter into a contract with the charter school.

There is some authorizing activity by local school boards but little activity by the State Charter School Commission.

6

Indiana

Indiana law allows local school boards, public four-year universities or their designated representative, the Mayor of Indianapolis, a state charter board, and 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.

12

Iowa

Iowa law requires charter applicants to first be approved by the local school board and then by the state board of education. Those denied at the local level may appeal to the state board, which can overturn the local school board’s decision. There are three charter schools open in the state.

0

Kansas

Kansas law only provides one authorizing option for charter applications. First, the local school board must approve it. Second, the state board of education must approve it. There is almost no authorizing activity in the state.

0

Louisiana

Louisiana law allows three types of authorizers: local school boards, the state board of education, and local charter authorizers. The law provides that local charter authorizers can be a state agency (including public postsecondary institutions) or a nonprofit that has an educational mission and meets minimum asset and length of time requirements and requires these entities to apply to the state board of education to become an authorizer. The law states that not more than five local charter authorizers can be approved to operate in any regional labor market area, although each local charter authorizer must affirm their capacity and interest in overseeing at least five schools. There is considerable authorizing activity by the state board of education and local school boards.

12

Maine

Maine law provides that any local school board or a collaborative of local school boards may become an authorizer by issuing a request for proposals. In addition, the law allows charter school applicants to apply directly to the State Charter Schools Commission. The law provides that only the Commission can approve virtual schools. There is some authorizing activity by the State Charter Schools Commission but little activity by local school boards.

6

Maryland

Maryland law provides local school boards as the only authorizer option for most applicants. Under limited circumstances, the state board of education may authorize the restructuring of a non-charter public school as a charter school.

3

Massachusetts

Massachusetts provides only a single authorizer option in the state board of education. There are 81 charter schools open in the state.

6

Michigan

Michigan law allows local school boards, intermediate school boards, community colleges, and state public universities to serve as authorizers, all subject to state board of education review for compliance with law. There is considerable authorizing activity by these authorizing entities.

12

Minnesota

Minnesota law allows the following types of entities to serve as authorizers: local school boards, intermediate school boards, cooperatives, charitable nonprofit organizations that meet certain criteria, private colleges, public postsecondary institutions, and single-purpose authorizers that are charitable, non-sectarian entities created just to authorizer charter schools. There is considerable authorizing activity by these entities.

12

Mississippi

Mississippi law provides that applicants in districts rated “D” or “F” may apply directly to the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board. It also provides that in any school district rated "A," "B" or "C", the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board may authorize charter schools only if a majority of the members of the local school board votes at a public meeting to endorse the application or to initiate the application on its own initiative.

0

Missouri

Missouri law allows the following types of entities to serve as authorizers in the Kansas City school district, the St. Louis school district, and unaccredited districts: the Kansas City and St. Louis school boards; a special administrative board created by the state board of education to operate the Kansas City or St. Louis school districts; a community college, the service area of which encompasses some portion of the district; a public four-year college or university with an approved teacher education program that meets regional or national standards of accreditation; any private four-year college or university with an enrollment of at least one thousand students, with its primary campus in Missouri, and with an approved teacher preparation program; any two-year private vocational or technical school designated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 which is a member of the North Central Association and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, with its primary campus in Missouri; or the Missouri Charter Public School Commission.

In provisionally accredited school districts that have received scores on their annual performance reports consistent with a classification of provisionally accredited or unaccredited for three consecutive school years beginning with the 2012-2013 accreditation year, Missouri law allows local school boards and authorizers that have met the standards of accountability and performance as determined by the state department of education to authorize charters.

In accredited school districts, Missouri law only allows local school boards to authorize charters.

Missouri law requires that when an authorizer approves an application, it must forward it to the state board of education for its approval along with an assurance that it meets legal requirements and provides a monitoring plan for the school. The law allows the state board to find the application insufficient and decline to approve it.

If an authorizer turns down application, the law allows the applicant to submit it to the state board, which can approve and then act as the authorizer.

6

Nevada

Nevada law allows applicants to seek approval from a local school board (if previously approved to be an authorizer by the state department of education), the State Public Charter School Authority, or a college or university within the Nevada System of Higher Education (if previously approved to be an authorizer by the state department of education). There is some authorizing activity by local school boards and the State Public Charter School Authority.

9

New Hampshire

In one route, New Hampshire law provides that the local school board and the state board approve the application. It also allows applicants denied by the local school board to appeal to the state board.

In a second route, New Hampshire law allows applicants to apply directly to the state board of education.

For any public school conversions, New Hampshire law provides that approval can occur by vote of the local school board following an affirmative vote by a majority of teachers in the district or 2/3rd of teachers in a single school district, as well as the principal and district superintendent. In addition, the state board must approve such applications and grant the charters.

There is some authorizing activity by the state board of education but little activity by local school boards.

6

New Jersey

New Jersey law only allows the state commissioner of education to authorize charter schools. There are 87 charter schools open in the state.

6

New Mexico

New Mexico law allows local school districts and the state public education commission to approve charter applications. There is considerable authorizing activity by local school districts and the state public education commission.

12

New York

Under New York law, applicants can apply directly to a district board of education, SUNY, or the State Board of Regents, although only the State Board of Regents can officially issue a charter. By law, if SUNY approves an application and reasserts approval if the State Board of Regents rejects it, then the State Board of Regents must issue the charter for that school. The law requires districts to approve conversions of schools from district schools to charter schools, with final approval given to the State Board of Regents. There is considerable authorizing activity by SUNY and the State Board of Regents.

12

North Carolina

North Carolina law requires applicants to get approved by the North Carolina Charter Schools Advisory Board and the North Carolina State Board of Education. There are 127 charter schools open in the state.

9

Ohio

Ohio law provides numerous charter authorizers including: (1) the board of education of the district in which the school is proposed to be located; (2) the board of education of any joint vocational school district with territory in the county in which is located the majority of the territory of the district in which the school is proposed to be located; (3) the board of education of any other city, local, or exempted village school district having territory in the same county where the district in which the school is proposed to be located has the major portion of its territory; (4) the governing board of any educational service center, as long as the proposed school will be located in a county within the territory of the service center or in a county contiguous to such county; (5) a sponsoring authority designated by the board of trustees of any of the thirteen state universities or the board of trustees for the university itself if the proposed school will serve as the university’s teaching demonstration site as approved by the state board of education; (6) any qualified education non-profit that meets the standards as outlined in the charter law; and (7) the Ohio Department of Education. There is considerable authorizing activity by these entities.

12

Oklahoma

Oklahoma law permits the following entities to serve as authorizers: local school districts; technology center school districts; a comprehensive or regional institution that is a member of the Oklahoma state system of higher education; a federally recognized Indian tribe (but only for schools located within its former reservation or treaty area boundaries and designed to demonstrate native language immersion instruction); the state board of education when the applicant is the Office of Juvenile Affairs or has a contract with that Office; and the statewide virtual charter school board when the charter school is for the purpose of establishing a full-time statewide virtual charter school. There is some authorizing activity by these authorizing activities.

9

Oregon

Oregon law provides that local school boards are the only authorizers of first resort. If a local school board denies a proposal, an applicant may appeal the decision of the local school board to the state board of education or submit a proposal to an institution of higher education. If one of these entities approves the application, it becomes the authorizer. There is some authorizing activity by local school boards but little activity by the other authorizing options.

6

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania law provides the following potential authorizers: local schools boards, two or more local boards for regional charters, and the state department of education for virtual charter schools. It provides that applications denied by local school boards can be appealed to a state appeals board. If approved by the state appeals board, the law requires the chair of the state appeals board to sign the written charter if the local school board still refuses to grant the charter. According to the law, this appellate process does not apply for those applicants within districts governed by a school reform commission (i.e., Philadelphia). There are 176 charter schools open in the state.

9

Rhode Island

Under Rhode Island law, the only authorizer is the state board of education, and only after the charter school has been approved by a local school board or the state commissioner of elementary and secondary education. There are 19 charter schools operating in the state.

3

South Carolina

Under South Carolina law, applicants can apply to their local school district, the South Carolina Public Charter School District, or a public or independent institution of higher learning that registers with the South Carolina Department of Education. There is authorizing activity by local school districts and the South Carolina Public Charter School District. Before applying via any route, the law requires applicants to get preliminary approval from a state charter school advisory committee, which assesses compliance with application requirements. There is considerable authorizing activity by local school districts and the South Carolina Public Charter School District.

9

Tennessee

Tennessee law allows local school boards to authorize charter schools. The law also allows the achievement school district to authorize charter schools within a local educational agency (LEA) for the purpose of providing opportunities for students within the LEA who are zoned to attend or enrolled in a chronically low-performing school that is eligible to be placed in the achievement school district. It also allows the state board of education to authorize charter school applications sponsored by local school boards. There is some authorizing activity by local school boards and the achievement school district.

6

Texas

Texas law allows applicants to apply to either local school boards or the state commissioner of education. The law requires the state commissioner to notify the state board of education of each charter the commissioner proposes to grant and allows the board to overturn the commissioner’s granting of a charter by a majority vote. There is a considerable authorizing activity by local school boards and the state commissioner of education.

12

Utah

Utah law permits local school boards, the state charter school board, and designated higher education institutions to authorize charter schools, subject to state board of education approval. There is some authorizing activity by local school boards and the state charter school board.

9

Virginia

Virginia law only allows local school boards to serve as authorizers (either independently or together in the case of regional charter schools), and there is almost no authorizing activity in the state. Statute requires that all applications besides those initiated by one or more local school boards must first be reviewed by the state board of education to determine if the application meets approval criteria established by the state board, but only local school boards are subsequently allowed to approve applications.

Under limited circumstances, the state, via the Opportunity Educational Institution Board, may authorize the restructuring of a low-performing traditional public school as a public charter school.

0

Washington

Statute creates the Washington Charter School Commission, to which charter proposals for schools anywhere in the state can be directly submitted.

In addition, statute allows any local school board to seek approval to become an authorizer from the state board of education. There is some authorizing activity by the Washington Charter School Commission but little authorizing activity by local school boards.

6

Wisconsin

In all districts, Wisconsin law allows local school boards to serve as authorizers. In the city of Milwaukee, the law allows the city of Milwaukee, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the Milwaukee Area Technical College to serve as authorizers (in addition to the local school board). In Milwaukee County (including the city of Milwaukee) and in any adjacent county, the law allows the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to serve as an authorizer (in addition the local school boards in these communities). The law also allows the University of Wisconsin-Parkside to authorize one charter school in the Racine School District.

6

Wyoming

Wyoming law allows only local school boards to authorize charter schools, and there is almost no authorizing activity.

0