Measuring Up to the Model



weight: 4 | possible total: 16

6. Transparent Charter Application, Review, and Decisionmaking Processes

6A. Application elements for all schools.

6B. Additional application elements specific to conversion schools.

6C. Additional application elements specific to virtual schools.

6D. Additional application elements specific when using educational service providers.

6E. Additional application elements specific to replications.

6F. Authorizer-issued request for proposals (including application requirements and approval criteria).

6G. Thorough evaluation of each application including an in-person interview and a public meeting.

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

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

State

Charter Law Description

Score

Alaska

Alaska law provides application requirements for all charter schools, but does not include additional application elements specific to conversion schools, virtual schools, educational service providers, and replications. It does not require authorizers to issue a request for proposals, to thoroughly evaluate each application (including an in-person interview and a public meeting), to make approval and denial decisions in a public meeting, and to state the reasons for denials in writing.

4

Arizona

Arizona law provides application elements for all charter schools. It does not provide additional application elements specific to conversion schools.

A separate statute includes application requirements for any on-line schools in the state (both charter and non-charter).
The ASBCS also has policies that require information regarding proposed educational service provider usage in their application and policies for a replication application and review process. These policies apply to all schools approved by the two state boards, but not to schools approved by local school boards and higher educational institutions.

While the law does not require authorizers to issue requests for proposals that include application requirements and approval criteria, Arizona law has general language regarding approval criteria (i.e., if application meets the criteria and if a sponsor has determined applicant is sufficiently qualified to operate a charter school). In addition, ASBCS regulations detail its approval criteria and processes and define “sufficiently qualified."" However, these detailed application processes do not apply to local school board and higher educational authorizers.

The law does not require authorizers to conduct a thorough evaluation of each application including an in-person interview and a public meeting. While not required by law, the ASBCS conducts interviews as part of its application review process.

Arizona law requires authorizers to make decisions in public meetings. For those applications denied, it requires authorizers to notify the applicant in writing of the reasons for the rejection and of suggestions for improving the application.

8

Arkansas

Arkansas law and regulation include details regarding petition application contents and processes for all schools. They also include additional application elements specific to conversion schools and replications. They don’t require additional application elements specific to virtual schools and educational service providers.

Arkansas law provides detailed timelines regarding the core aspects of the charter application, review, and decision-making process, including application requirements, approval criteria, an in-person interview, and a public meeting.

Arkansas law requires that decisions regarding approvals must be made in a public meeting and that denials of charter applications must be in writing and include reasons for such disapproval. It requires decisions about open enrollment charter schools to involve a hearing with the state department, including in-person testimony and questions.

12

California

California law sets forth basic required elements for all charter applications, as well as additional requirements specific to conversions and virtual schools.

The law provides that statewide charter petitions must demonstrate the financial and academic success of the applicant’s schools previously approved in California. There is no such requirement for replication applications submitted to local school board and county school board authorizers.

The law requires a public hearing for all charter applications but not in-person interviews.

Authorizers must make charter approval or denial decisions in a public meeting and must state reasons for denial in writing.

The law does not include additional application elements specific to educational service providers and does not require authorizers to issue requests for proposals that include application requirements and approval criteria.

8

Colorado

Colorado law sets forth a non-exclusive list of minimum general requirements for the content of all charter school applications. The law sets forth additional application requirements specific to conversions, educational service providers, and virtual schools. In addition, the law requires virtual schools to be approved by the state after the authorizer’s initial approval prior to operating. It does not include additional application elements specific to replications.

The law requires a public hearing but not an in-person interview for each charter application. The law requires the state charter institute to conduct a rigorous review of each application, but does not specify such a standard for local school board authorizers.

The law requires authorizers to make charter approval or denial decisions in a public meeting and state reasons for denial in writing.

The law does not require authorizers to issue requests for proposals that include application requirements and approval criteria.

12

Connecticut

Connecticut law contains application elements for all schools and additional application elements specific to conversion schools. It does not contain additional application elements specific to virtual schools, elements specific to when using educational service providers, and elements specific to replications.

Connecticut law does not require authorizers to issue requests for proposals including application requirements and approval criteria. However, this practice has begun.

Connecticut law requires the state board of education to hold a public hearing within the school district that a given school is to be located for both the initial application and for renewals, but does not require in-person interviews.

Connecticut law requires the vote regarding the approval of an application to be made in an open meeting, but does not require authorizers to state reasons for denials in writing.

8

Delaware

Delaware law contains application elements for all schools. Delaware law contains additional application elements specific to conversion schools.

Delaware law allows highly successful charter school operators to submit an application to operate a charter school at the site of and serving students currently attending a charter school whose charter has been revoked, has not been renewed, or whose charter is on formal review and whose board has agreed to abandon their charter. If approved, the law allows these schools to open more quickly than the standard process.

Delaware law requires public hearings during the review and decision-making processes.

Delaware law provides that applicants seeking a charter from the state department of education that have submitted an application deemed by the department sufficient to receive a full review shall be offered an opportunity for an interview in support of the application. A similar provision does not exist for applicants seeking charters from local school districts.

The law requires the authorizer to hold a public hearing to decide the appropriate action regarding the application. Delaware regulation calls for a preliminary and final report that is made public to be presented to each applicant, which details in writing the comments of the committee concerning the application.

The law does not include additional application elements specific when using educational service providers and does not require authorizers to issue requests for proposals that include application requirements and approval criteria.

8

District of Columbia

The law sets forth essential requirements concerning the content of all charter applications and includes specific requirements for conversion petitions.

The law requires a public hearing on all charter applications but not an in-person interview.

The law requires that all charter approval or denial decisions be made in a public meeting and that authorizers state reasons for any charter denial in writing.

The law does not include additional application elements specific to virtual schools, educational service providers, and replications. The law does not require authorizers to issue request for proposals that include application requirements and approval criteria.

8

Florida

Florida law provides application elements for all schools and additional application elements for conversion schools and virtual schools.

State board regulations require the use of a model charter school application. Florida’s model charter school application requires information if a school intends to replicate an existing school design, including evidence of success for that school design and that the applicant has the financial and human resources necessary to replicate the design. It also has an entire section on required information related to any proposed usage of educational service providers.

The model charter school application includes an evaluation instrument that authorizers are to use when evaluating charter school applications. Although all local school board authorizers must now use this model application, they are not required to issue RFPs for any interested applicants and to conduct an in-person interview and a public meeting.

Florida law requires authorizers to publicly approve or deny an application within 60 days of receipt, unless mutually extended. If denied, the law requires the sponsor to articulate its reasons in writing within 10 days. The law allows that the applicant can appeal to the charter school appeal commission and the state board of education.

12

Georgia

Georgia law, regulations, and guidance establish a detailed process for seeking a charter and for decision-making by authorizers. They provide explicit application elements for all schools and additional application elements specific to conversion schools, virtual schools, and educational service providers. They do not provide additional application elements specific to replications.

The law doesn’t require authorizers to issue requests for proposals.

State rule requires an interview of applicants. While a public meeting to review applications is common practice, it is not required by law or rule.

Consistent with Georgia law relating to public entities, charter approvals or denials must be made at a public meeting. The law requires authorizers must provide a written statement of any denial to the petitioner and state board of education or local board.

12

Hawaii

Hawaii law provides application elements for all schools and additional application elements specific to conversion schools. It does not provide additional application elements specific to virtual schools, educational service providers, and replications. It also does not require authorizers to issue requests for proposals and does not require a thorough evaluation of each application including an in-person interview and a public meeting.

As part of a state agency, the state public charter school commission is subject to the state sunshine law, which requires all official business be conducted in a public meeting. Statute also requires the commission to clearly identify its reasons in writing for not approving any charter application.

8

Idaho

Idaho law and regulations set forth general application elements for all charter petitions. The law includes requirements specific to conversions as well as for virtual charter school petitions.

The law does not require additional application elements specific to educational service providers and replications.

The law does not require authorizers to issue requests for proposals with application requirements and approval criteria.

The law requires a public hearing for each charter application, but it does not require in-person interviews.

The law requires authorizers to make charter approval and denial decisions in an open meeting and provide written notice of approval or denial to each applicant, with reasons for denial stated in writing.

8

Illinois

Illinois law provides application elements for all schools. Illinois law provides additional application elements specific to conversion schools. It does not provide additional application elements specific to virtual schools, educational service providers, and replications.

The law does not require authorizers to issue requests for proposals. However, the law establishes that authorizers must give priority to those schools demonstrating a high level of community support with rigorous levels of expected pupil achievement and designed to enroll a high percentage of at-risk students.

The law requires authorizers to set a public hearing within 45 days of receipt of application and to determine a decision within 30 days of the public hearing in a public forum. However, it does not require authorizers to conduct an in-person interview of each applicant.

Under Illinois law, reports of denials, revocations or non-renewals must consist of the charter proposal or current charter contract voted upon by the authorizers. The law requires authorizers to send a copy of each board's resolution setting forth the board's action and its reasons for the action to the state board of education.

8

Indiana

Indiana law provides application elements for all schools.

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

Indiana law requires public university authorizers to conduct a public meeting with public notice in the county where a charter school will be located before authorizing such school.

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.

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.
It does not require additional application elements for virtual schools and replication. It also doesn’t require authorizers to issue request for proposals that include application requirements and approval criteria, to conduct in-person interviews of applicants.

8

Iowa

Iowa law lacks most of the model law’s provisions for transparent charter application, review, and decision-making processes.

There is no detail in statute regarding the application content for submission to the local school board, but once approved by a local board, statute contains a listing of items that must be included within the application to the state board of education. The law does not contain elements specific to virtual schools, educational service providers, and replications.

While Iowa law does not require authorizers to issue a request for proposals, Iowa regulations require each local school board to develop and adopt application requirements, procedures, and criteria, as well as weights for the criteria to determine whether an application is approved or denied at that level. They also include a detailed review process at the state department of education level, including a point system for ranking applications.

Iowa law does not require the review of each application to include an in-person interview and a public meeting.
Iowa law requires all decisions to be made by the boards in public meetings, but there are no regulatory requirements to place reasons for denial in writing.

4

Kansas

Kansas law provides application requirements for all charter schools and requires local school boards to hold a public hearing for each application, but does not include additional application elements specific to conversion schools, virtual schools, educational service providers, and replications. It does not require authorizers to issue a request for proposals, to conduct an in-person interview, to make approval and denial decisions in a public meeting, and to state the reasons for denials in writing.

4

Louisiana

Louisiana law provides application elements for all schools and additional application elements specific to conversion schools, virtual schools, and educational service providers. The law requires the state board of education to develop a common charter school application and timelines to be used by all authorizers and a process for authorizing multiple charter schools via one application for charters with a record of success.

Type 2, 4, and 5 applications must be submitted to the state board of education pursuant to a charter application process established by regulation, in the form of a request for applications that must include the requirements for applications. Regulations require that the release of a request for applications include public notice, notice to national, regional, and state organizations that support charter schools, and notice to all known interested parties.

State law requires both local school board authorizers and local charter authorizers to also engage in a transparent application review process that complies with the latest Principles and Standards for Quality Charter Schools Authorizers as promulgated by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, including the public posting of all application forms, timelines, and process for review and the use of an independent evaluation of the proposal by a third party.

Louisiana law requires that decisions on charter applications be made by formal vote at official meetings of the public entities responsible and requires written explanation of reasons for denial.

16

Maine

Maine law details the core elements required in the charter application and offers additional pieces for conversion schools and those proposing to use educational service providers. It does not contain additional application elements specific to virtual schools and replications.

Maine law requires authorizers to issue a request for proposals that includes application requirements and approval criteria.

Maine law requires authorizers to thoroughly evaluate each application including an in-person interview and a public meeting.

Maine law provides that all charter approval or denial decisions must made in a public meeting, with authorizers stating reasons for denials in writing.

12

Maryland

Maryland law includes none of the model law's provisions for transparent charter application, review, and decision-making processes.

0

Massachusetts

Massachusetts law contains application elements for all schools and additional application elements specific to conversion schools. The law also contains additional requirements for applications submitted by proven providers (i.e., successful charter school operators) that want to replicate their models.

According to Massachusetts law, if the charter school intends to procure substantially all educational services under contract with another person, the terms of such a contract must be approved by the board either as part of the original charter or by way of an amendment thereto.

The state department of education issues applications, including all requirements and approval criteria, for the state.

Massachusetts law and regulation require an in-person interview and a public hearing for each charter application.

Massachusetts law provides that charter approvals only go to the public meeting of the state board and that all founding groups receive letters if they are denied with reasons.

12

Michigan

Michigan law includes a detailed list of items to be covered in a charter proposal, including some specific requirements for cyber charter schools of excellence. For those schools seeking to replicate the same grades at multiple locations, the law requires them to demonstrate compliance and measurable progress toward meeting goals for their existing charters if they are a current operator or provide evidence that a proposed educational model has resulted in a school making measurable progress if they are a new operator.

The law does not require additional application elements specific when using educational service providers, does not require authorizers to issue requests for proposals, does not require a thorough evaluation of each application including an in-person interview and a public meeting, and does not require that all charter approval or denial decisions be made in a public meeting with authorizers stating reasons for denials in writing.

It should be noted that the Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers has adopted a common set of standards. While such standards are great practice and address many of the missing requirements noted above, they are not required per statute or regulation.

8

Minnesota

The law contains application elements for all schools and specific additional requirements for conversion schools.

A virtual charter school must follow the same statutory provisions, including approval by the state commissioner, as all other public school districts wishing to operate an online program or school. Thus, such charter schools must go through two sets of approvals, one for being a charter school and one for operating an online program or an online school.

The state’s authorizer approval process requires authorizers to demonstrate how they will evaluate any educational service provider arrangements proposed within a school’s application. It does not contain additional application elements specific to replications.

Within their affidavit sent to the state commissioner for each proposed charter school, Minnesota law requires authorizers to detail information related to the application and review process that the authorizer will use to make decisions regarding the granting of charters as well as their application requirements covering elements listed in statute and an evaluation plan for the proposed schools including criteria for evaluating educational, organization, and fiscal plans.

Following approval by the state commissioner to be an authorizer, Minnesota law requires each potential authorizer to submit an affidavit for approval by the commissioner for each individual school an authorizer seeks to charter. It requires each affidavit to contain details regarding the proposed school’s operations and student performance expectations, as well as the process the authorizer will use to provide ongoing oversight and to make decisions regarding the renewal or termination of the school’s charter.

The law does not require an in-person interview and a public meeting.

Statute requires that traditional school district authorizers must act on chartering decisions at public meetings. It does not require other authorizers to do so. It also does not require authorizers to state reasons for denials in writing.

12

Mississippi

Statute requires application elements for all schools and additional elements for conversion schools, those using educational service providers, and replications. It does not include additional application elements specific to virtual schools.

Statute requires the state authorizer to issue requests for proposals and to conduct a thorough evaluation of each application including an in-person interview and public meeting. It also requires the state authorizer to make all charter approval or denial decisions in a public meeting and to state reasons for denials in writing.

12

Missouri

Missouri law provides application elements for all schools and additional application elements when using educational service providers.

It does not include additional application elements specific to conversion schools, virtual schools, and replications. It also does not require authorizers to issue requests for proposals, does not require authorizers to thoroughly evaluate each application including an in-person interview and a public meeting, and does not require that all charter approval or denial decisions be made in a public meeting with authorizers stating reasons for denials in writing.

4

Nevada

Nevada law and regulation contains application elements for all schools.

Nevada law requires virtual charter schools to submit both a charter application and a distance education application to the state department of education.

As part of the application requirements, Nevada law and regulation, applicants must provide all contracts, including those with educational service providers.

The law requires authorizers to thoroughly evaluate each application with an in-person interview and a public meeting.

Nevada law requires all charter approval or denial decisions to be made in a public meeting, with authorizers stating reasons for denials in writing.

The law does not include additional application elements specific to replications, does not require authorizers to issue requests for proposals that include application requirements and approval criteria.

8

New Hampshire

New Hampshire law includes a long list of items that must be included in an application. It also contains additional application elements specific to conversion schools and specific when using educational service providers. It does not require additional application elements specific to virtual schools and replications.

It does not require authorizers to issue requests for proposals, but statute and regulations require a thorough evaluation of each application including an in-person interview and a public meeting.

New Hampshire law requires that application decisions be made at a public meeting, with written reasons specifying areas deemed deficient provided for denials.

8

New Jersey

New Jersey law provides application requirements for all schools. It also provides additional application requirements specific to conversion schools and additional application elements specific when using educational service providers. State rules include an expedited application and review process from founders with demonstrable experience operating an educational institution. New Jersey law does not provide additional application elements specific to virtual schools.

The law does not require the state commissioner to issue a request for proposals.

According to New Jersey law and regulations, applications are submitted to the state commissioner of education, the county superintendent, and the local school board (allowing such local school boards to provide their recommendation to the state commissioner as input), and the state commissioner approves or denies the application. It allows approvals and denials to be appealed by local school boards and prospective charter schools to the state board of education.

The law requires the state commissioner to conduct in-depth personal interviews of all qualified applicants (i.e., those making it through the phase one review), and final decisions are made following a successful preparedness visit to perspective charter schools. Nothing is noted that such evaluations include public meetings.

The law does not require all charter approval or denial decisions be made in a public meeting with the state commissioner stating reason for denials in writing.

8

New Mexico

New Mexico law contains application elements for all schools.

New Mexico law requires an authorizer to hold at least one public subcommittee hearing in the school district in which the charter school is proposed to be located to obtain information and community input to assist it in its decision whether to grant a charter school application. The law allows the authorizer to designate a subcommittee of no fewer than three members to hold the public hearing, and, if so, the law requires the hearing to be transcribed for later review by other members of the authorizer. The law provides that community input may include written or oral comments in favor of or in opposition to the application from the applicant, the district, the local community, and local school board in whose geographical boundaries the charter school is proposed to be located. The law does not require an in-person interview.

New Mexico law requires all charter approval or denial decisions to be made in a public meeting and requires authorizers to state reasons for denials in writing at the time of the hearing.

The law does not contain additional application elements specific to virtual schools, educational service providers, and replications. It also doesn’t require authorizers to issue request for proposals that include application requirements and approval criteria.

8

New York

New York law contains application elements for all schools and additional application elements specific to conversion schools.

New York law requires charter school applicants partnering with a for-profit entity to specify the extent of its participation in the management and operation of the school, but doesn’t require anything additional for other types of educational service providers.

Statute requires authorizers to issue a request for proposals for any new applications, including specific requirements and criteria.

The law requires public hearings and full disclosure for new charter applications, renewal applications, and material revisions, but no specific requirement exists for in-person interviews.

As public entities, New York authorizers must make approval or denial decisions at a public meeting subject to the state Open Meetings Law. The law requires that a denial of an application for a charter by an authorizer must be in writing and state the reasons for the denial.

New York law does not contain additional application elements specific to replications.

12

North Carolina

North Carolina law contains application elements for all schools. North Carolina law contains additional application elements specific to conversion schools and virtual schools. It does not contain additional application elements specific when using educational service providers and specific to replications.

Although this information is not counted within this analysis (since these provisions are not codified in state law or state board policy), the application requires student performance, governance performance, and financial data from other schools managed by the management company and requires that the applicant must demonstrate how the management company is a good fit for the targeted student population. The application also specifically seeks information for charter school replications as to whether the proposed charter school is to be governed by an existing charter school board or a new board.

State board polices offer additional requirements regarding the application process, including general approval criteria and application submission and approval timelines. State law does not require the state board to issue a request for proposals, though.

Although this information is not counted within this analysis (since these application provisions are not codified in state law or state board policy), a state department of education-created application includes additional requirements for those schools planning to use an educational service provider, as well as for replication schools. The application also refers to in-person interviews and meetings occurring for promising applicants and written evaluations of each complete application occurring against a detail standard rubric.

All state board meetings must be open to the public, meaning all charter applications must be reviewed and all approval and denial decisions must be made in a public meeting. The law doesn’t require authorizers to state reasons for denial in writing, though.

8

Ohio

Ohio law provides application elements for all schools. It also provides additional application elements specific to virtual schools.

It does not provide additional application elements specific to conversion schools, educational service providers, and replications. It also doesn’t require authorizers to issue requests for proposals, to thoroughly evaluate each application including an in-person interview and a public meeting, to make all charter approval and denial decisions in a public meeting, and to state reasons for denials in writing.

4

Oklahoma

Oklahoma law includes a small number of the elements of the model law's provisions for transparent charter application, review, and decision-making processes. Oklahoma law outlines the elements to be contained in the charter application. However, it does not contain additional application elements specific to conversion schools, virtual schools, educational service providers, and replications.

The law does not require authorizers to issue requests for proposals, to thoroughly evaluate each application via an in-person interview and a public meeting, to make all charter approval or denial decisions in a public meeting, and to state reasons for denials in writing.

4

Oregon

Oregon law sets forth a nonexclusive list of general requirements for the minimum content of charter school proposals and explicitly permits local school boards to require additional relevant information. The law includes additional application elements specific to conversion schools and to virtual schools.

As part of the criteria that local school boards must use to evaluate a proposal, the law requires them to examine the prior history, if any, of the applicant in operating a public charter school or in providing educational services.

The law requires a public hearing but not an in-person interview as part of the application review process. It also does not require authorizers to issue requests for proposals.

The law requires authorizers to make charter approval and denial decisions in an open meeting and to state reasons for denial in writing.

12

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania law contains detailed application requirements for all schools. It also contains additional application elements specific to conversion schools and virtual schools.

While no provisions are noted for those using educational service providers, state case law (School District of the City of York v. Lincoln-Edison Charter Schools, 772 A.2d 1045 (Pa. Cmith 2001) requires a fully executed management agreement to be submitted with an application if the charter school is going to use a management company.

The law does not require additional application elements specific to replications.

While the law does not require authorizers to issue a request for proposals, statute does list general criteria which local school board authorizers must consider in reviewing charter school applications, including level of support from teachers, parents, and others, the capability of the applicant to provide comprehensive learning experiences, extent to which the application considers items required in law, and the extent to which the charter school may serve as a model for other public schools. The statutory list of criteria for the state department of education to consider when reviewing virtual school applications is similar, but notes that they must consider the extent to which the programs in the application will enable students to meet state academic standards and assessments.

Statute requires a public hearing during the application process, but not an in-person interview.

Statute specifies that all decisions regarding charter applications must be made in open meetings, with written notice sent to the applicant, state department of education, and state appeals board including any reasons for denial and a description of deficiencies.

12

Rhode Island

Rhode Island law provides for application elements for all schools. It also provides additional application elements specific to conversion schools. Regulations provide additional detail regarding the contents of a proposed application, including information if the use of a service provider is proposed. It does not require additional application elements specific to replications.

Rhode Island law provides that the state commissioner of education hold a minimum of two public hearings and allow a 60 day public comment period on the issue of whether or not to approve a charter application. Regulations offer additional detail, but there is still no requirement that an in-person interview be held (even though such interviews are occurring in practice). It does not require authorizers to issue a request for proposals.

Under Rhode Island law, the decision by the authorizer to approve or deny an application along with its reasons and conditions are to be made in writing and available to both the applicant and the public at large. However, state law does not require that all approval or denial decisions be made in public.

8

South Carolina

South Carolina law provides application elements for all schools. The law provides additional application elements specific to conversion schools and virtual schools. It does not provide additional application elements specific when using educational service providers and specific to replications.

South Carolina law requires that decisions on applications must be made at a public hearing, with authorizers stating reasons for denials in writing.

The law does not require authorizers to issue requests for proposals that include application requirements and approval criteria and does not require authorizers to thoroughly evaluate each application including an in-person interview and a public meeting.

8

Tennessee

Tennessee law contains application elements for all schools and additional application elements specific to conversion schools. It does not contain additional application elements specific when using educational service providers and elements specific to replications.

Tennessee law requires all charter approval or denial decisions to be made in a public meeting, with authorizers stating reasons for denials in writing.

It does not require authorizers to issue requests for proposals and a thorough evaluation of each application including an in-person interview and a public meeting.

8

Texas

Texas law contains application elements for all schools and additional application elements specific to conversion schools.

Texas law provides that the state commissioner of education may grant a charter for an open-enrollment charter school to an applicant that is: an eligible entity that proposes to operate the charter school program of a charter operator that operates one or more charter schools in another state and with which the eligible entity is affiliated and, as determined by the commissioner in accordance with commissioner rule, has performed at a level of performance comparable to performance under the highest or second highest performance rating category under state law; or an entity that has operated one or more charter schools established under state law and, as determined by the commissioner in accordance with commissioner rule, has performed in the highest or second highest performance rating category under state law. This law is not applicable to district authorizers.

Texas law has separate elements required for the approval of charter school expansion amendment by the state commissioner of education. This law is not applicable to district authorizers.

Texas law provides that approval of the commissioner is not required for establishment of a new open-enrollment charter school campus if: a charter holder has an accreditation status of accredited and at least 50 percent of its student population in grades assessed or at least 50 percent of the students in the grades assessed having been enrolled in the school for at least three school years; the charter holder is currently evaluated under the standard accountability procedures for evaluation and received a district rating in the highest or second highest performance rating category for three of the last five years with at least 75 percent of the campuses rated under the charter also receiving a rating in the highest or second highest performance rating category and with no campus with a rating in the lowest performance rating category in the most recent ratings; the charter holder provides written notice to the commissioner of the establishment of any new campus in the time, manner, and form provided by rule of the commissioner; and not later than the 60th day after the date the charter holder provides written notice, the commissioner does not provide written notice to the charter holder of disapproval of a new campus. This law is not applicable to district authorizers.

Texas regulation specifies that the state board of education must adopt an application form for charter schools that includes such items as application requirements and approval criteria. The law provides that the state commissioner of education shall approve or deny an application based on documented evidence collected through the application review process; merit; and other criteria as adopted by the commissioner, which must include criteria relating to the capability of the applicant to carry out the responsibilities provided by the charter and the likelihood that the applicant will operate a school of high quality, criteria relating to improving student performance and encouraging innovative programs, and a statement from any school district whose enrollment is likely to be affected by the open-enrollment charter school including information relating to any financial difficulty that a loss in enrollment may have on the district. This regulation and law are not applicable to district authorizers.

Texas law states that the state board of education may hold a public hearing to determine parental support for an application for a charter school. Texas regulation provides that the state commissioner of education and a state board of education designee conducts an in-person interview with applicants. These laws and regulations are not applicable to district authorizers.

In practice, prior to each application cycle, the Texas Education Agency releases a written application that includes application requirements and approval criteria. The application review process includes review of the written application by a panel of outside reviewers. The Texas Education Agency also reviews the application for legal compliance. If applicants receive a certain minimum score on the application, then the applicant becomes eligible for an in-person interview with the commissioner of education, the Texas Education Agency, and the state board of education members.

Texas law requires that all charter approval or denial decisions be made in a public meeting. It does not require authorizers to state reasons for denials in writing.

8

Utah

Utah law sets forth major elements to be addressed in a school’s charter and requires that these elements be considered in advance by the applicant, thus implying general application elements.

The law states application requirements specific to conversion schools. The law does not address additional application elements specific to virtual schools or education service providers. In practice, the state charter board has a separate application for virtual charter schools.

Regulations allow existing charter schools authorized by the state charter board to apply for up to three satellite campuses and set forth additional application requirements for such campuses. These provisions aren’t applicable to charter schools authorized by local school boards or higher educational institutions.

Utah law requires the state charter school board to request individuals, groups of individuals, or not-for-profit legal entities to submit an application to the state charter school board to establish a charter school that employs new and creative methods to meet the unique learning styles and needs of students, such as a military charter school, a charter school whose mission is to enhance learning opportunities for students at risk of academic failure, a charter school whose focus is career and technical education, a single gender charter school, or a charter school with an international focus that provides opportunities for the exchange of students or teachers. In addition to these types of schools, the law provides that the state charter school board shall request applications for other types of charter schools that meet the unique learning styles and needs of students. These provisions aren’t applicable to charter schools authorized by local school boards or higher educational institutions.

Utah law requires authorizers to make charter approval and denial decisions in a public meeting and state reasons for denial in writing. It allows denied applicants to appeal to the state board of education.

The law does not require authorizers to issue requests for proposals including application requirements and approval criteria and does not require authorizers to thoroughly evaluate each application including an in-person interview and a public meeting.

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Virginia

Virginia law sets forth basic required elements for all charter applications, as well as additional requirements specific to conversions. However, it does not contain elements specific to virtual schools, educational service providers, or replications.

Virginia law requires the state board of education and all local school boards to post their application and review procedures on their websites and to establish a procedure for public notice and for receiving comments on any applications. However, it does not require them to include their approval criteria as part of the procedures that are posted nor to conduct an in-person interview as part of their evaluation of each application. Statute requires the state board of education to first review all applications to determine whether they meet the approval criteria established by the state board.

If a local school board denies an application, state law provides that it must provide the reasons in writing and post that information on its website. It also requires the local school board to submit documentation to the state board of education as to the rationale for the local school board’s denial of the charter school application. However, it does not require all charter approval or denial decisions to be made in a public meeting.

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Washington

Statute requires application elements for all schools and additional elements for conversion schools, those using educational service providers, and replications. It does not include additional application elements specific to virtual schools.

Statute requires authorizers to issue requests for proposals and to conduct a thorough evaluation of each application including an in-person interview and public meeting. It also requires authorizers to make all charter approval or denial decisions in a public meeting and to state reasons for denials in writing.

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Wisconsin

Wisconsin law lacks most of the model law’s provisions for transparent charter application, review, and decision-making processes. Wisconsin law requires application elements for all schools and includes additional application elements specific to virtual schools. However, it does not include additional application elements specific to conversion schools, educational service providers, and replications. It also doesn’t require authorizers to issue requests for proposals, thoroughly evaluate each application via an in-person interview and a public meeting, make all approval and denial decisions in a public meeting, and state reasons for denial in writing.

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Wyoming

Wyoming law sets forth minimum required elements for all charter applications, but they are very general and less substantial than the essential elements recommended in the model law. The law also requires the state superintendent to provide a uniform charter application “form” (questions, guidelines, and evaluation criteria) that all districts and charter applicants must use. The form developed by the state superintendent contains content similar to the essential elements recommended in the model law, but does not contain elements specific to virtual schools, educational service providers, or replications.

The law includes additional requirements for conversions.

The law requires a public hearing for any charter application, but does not require an in-person interview as part of the review process.

The law requires authorizers to make charter approval or denial decisions in a public meeting, and state reasons for denial in writing.

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