Is an authorizer and overall program accountability system required?
Alabama law requires local school boards to register as authorizers with the state department of education prior to becoming an authorizer.
Alabama law requires authorizers to submit an annual report to the state board of education that summarizes their authorizing activities as well as the performance of their charter portfolio.
Alabama law makes the state department of education responsible for overseeing the performance and effectiveness of all authorizers via an oversight process detailed in statute. It allows the state department of education to terminate a local school board’s contract to approve schools. If the commission violates a material provision of a charter contract or fails to remedy any other authorizing problems after due notice from the department, the department shall notify the commission that it intends to notify the Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate of the actions of the commission unless the commission demonstrates a timely and satisfactory remedy for the violation of the deficiencies. Along with this notification, the department shall publicly request in writing that the Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the President Pro Tempore appointees comply with the requests of the department or face a revocation of their appointment to the commission. The legislature and the governor can remove the ability of the commission to continue authorizing (the entities that gave it that authority).
On or before November 1 of each year beginning in the first year after the state has had public charter schools operating for a full school year, Alabama law requires the state department of education to issue to the Governor, the Legislature, and the public at large, an annual report on the state's public charter schools, drawing from the annual reports submitted by every authorizer as well as any additional relevant data compiled by the department, for the school year ending in the preceding calendar year. The annual report shall include a comparison of the performance of public charter school students with the performance of academically, ethnically, and economically comparable groups of students in non-charter public schools. In addition, the annual report shall include the department's assessment of the successes, challenges, and areas for improvement in meeting the purposes of this act, including the department's recommendations as to any suggested changes in state law or policy necessary to strengthen the state's public charter schools.
Alabama law also requires that at the conclusion of the fifth fiscal year, the state department of education shall submit a report to the Legislature outlining the performance of both start-up and conversion public charter schools. This report shall include, at a minimum, academic performance of all public charter schools in the state, a detailed update on the authorizing process, and recommendations for adjustments to public charter school governance and oversight.