Indiana

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Indiana

2001
Year Charter School Law Was Enacted
95
Estimated Number of Charter Schools in 2016-17
43,900
Estimated Number of Charter School Students in 2016-17
181
out of
240
Total Score

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

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

Component Scores

Are there caps on the growth of charter schools in this state?

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

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
1A
No numeric or geographic limits are placed on the number of charter public schools or students.
N/A
1B
If caps exist, there is room for growth.

Are a variety of charter schools allowed?

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

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
2A
New startups.
Yes
2B
Public school conversions.

Are non-district authorizers available to which charter applicants may directly apply?

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

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
No
3A
The state allows an applicant anywhere in the state to apply directly to a non-district authorizer(s).

Is an authorizer and overall program accountability system required?

The law requires a registration process for local school boards to affirm their interest in chartering to the state and an application process for a governing board of a nonprofit college or university that provides a four-year educational program for which it awards a baccalaureate or more advanced degree to authorize charters. These processes only apply to entities that have not previously issued a charter for any charter school prior to July 1, 2015.
The law requires authorizers to submit an annual report to the state department of education and the state board of education that contains the following information: results of all standardized testing, end of course assessments, and any other assessments used for each authorized school, student growth and improvement data for each authorized school, attendance rates for each authorized school, graduation rates if appropriate, including attainment of Core 40 and academic honors diplomas for each authorized school, and student enrollment data for each authorized school including the number of students enrolled and the number of students expelled, status of the authorizer’s charter schools, names of the authorizer’s board members or ultimate decision making body, evidence that the authorizer is in compliance with state law, a report summarizing the total amount of administrative fees collected by the authorizer and how the fees were expended, if applicable, total amount of other fees or funds not included in the report received by the authorizer from a charter school and how the fees or funds were expended, and the most recent audits for each authorized school submitted to the authorizer.

The authorizer shall annually compile the following into a report and submit it to the legislative council.

* Proposals received.
* Proposals accepted, including the length of time for which a charter is granted.
* Proposals rejected, including the reasons for the rejection.
* School goals, educational program design, and the name and address of the education management organization operating the school and the name of the chief operating officer of the education management organization, if applicable.

The law provides that an authorizer of a charter school that does not meet the minimum standard for charter school renewal may petition the state board at any time to request permission to renew the charter school's charter notwithstanding the fact that the charter school does not meet the minimum standard. If timely notification is made, the state board shall hold a hearing to consider the authorizer's request at the state board's next regularly scheduled board meeting.

In determining whether to grant such a request, the state board shall consider the following:

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

After the hearing, the state board must implement one or more of the following actions:

* Grant the authorizer's request to renew the charter of the charter school. The state board may determine the length of the renewal and any conditions of the renewal placed upon either the charter school or the authorizer.
* Order the closure of the charter school at the end of the current school year.
* Order the reduction of any administrative fee collected under state law that is applicable to the charter school. The reduction must become effective at the beginning of the month following the month of the authorizer's hearing before the state board.

A charter school that is closed by the state board under this section may not be granted a charter by any authorizer.

According to state law, if any authorizer renews the charter of, fails to close, or grants a new charter to a charter school that the state board has ordered closed, the authorizer's authority to authorize new charter schools may be suspended by the state board until such a time as the state board formally approves the authorizer to authorize new charter schools. A determination to suspend an authorizer's authority to authorize new charter schools must identify the deficiencies that, if corrected, will result in the approval of the authorizer to authorize new charter schools.

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

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

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
4A
Registration process for school boards to affirm their interest in authorizing.
Yes
4B
Application process for other eligible authorizing entities (except a state charter schools commission).
No
4C
Authorizer submission of annual report.
No
4D
The ability for the state to conduct a review of an authorizer’s performance.
No
4E
The ability for the state to sanction an authorizer for poor performance, including suspending an authorizer’s authority to approve new schools.
Yes
4F
Periodic formal evaluation of overall state charter school program and outcomes.

Is there adequate authorizer funding?

Indiana law allows all authorizers except local school boards to withhold up to 3% of a school’s funding as an administrative fee.
The law provides that an authorizer's administrative fee may not include any costs incurred in delivering services that a charter school may purchase at its discretion from the authorizer. It provides that the authorizer shall use this funding exclusively for fulfilling authorizing obligations.?

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

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

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

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
No
5A
A uniform statewide formula that guarantees annual authorizer funding that is not subject to annual legislative appropriations.
No
5B
Requirement to publicly report detailed authorizer expenditures.
No
5C
Separate contract for any services purchased from an authorizer by a school.
No
5D
Prohibition on authorizers requiring schools to purchase services from them.

Are there transparent charter application, review, and decisionmaking processes?

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

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

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

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
6A
Application elements for all schools.
Yes
6B
Additional application elements specific to conversion schools.
No
6C
Additional application elements specific to using educational service providers.
No
6D
Additional application elements specific to replications.
No
6E
Requirement for thorough evaluation of each application, including an in-person interview and a public meeting.
No
6F
Application approval criteria.
Some
6G
All charter approval or denial decisions made in a public meeting with authorizers stating reasons for denials in writing.

Are performance-based charter contracts required?

Indiana law requires a “charter” (which serves as the “charter contract”).
Indiana law requires the charter to define the roles, powers, and responsibilities for the school and its authorizer.

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

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

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

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

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
No
7A
Being created as a separate document from the application and executed by the governing board of the charter school and the authorizer.
Some
7B
Defining the roles, powers, and responsibilities for the school and its authorizer.
Yes
7C
Defining academic, financial, and operational performance expectations by which the school will be judged based on a performance framework.
No
7D
Providing an initial term of five operating years.

Are there comprehensive charter school monitoring and data collection processes?

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

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

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

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

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
8A
Required annual school performance reports.
Yes
8B
Financial accountability for charter schools (e.g., generally accepted accounting principles, independent annual audit reported to authorizer).
Some
8C
Authorizer authority to conduct oversight activities.
No
8D
Authorizer notification to its schools of perceived problems, with opportunities to remedy such problems.
No
8E
Authorizer authority to take appropriate corrective actions or exercise sanctions short of revocation.
No
8F
Authorizer may not request duplicative data submission from its charter schools and may not use performance framework to create cumbersome reporting requirements.

Are there clear processes for renewal, nonrenewal, and revocation decisions?

Indiana law provides that the renewal application process must, at a minimum, provide an opportunity for the charter school to present additional evidence, beyond the data contained in the performance report, supporting its case for charter renewal, describe improvements undertaken or planned for the charter school, and detail the charter school's plans for the next charter term.Not later than October 1 in the year in which the charter school seeks renewal of a charter, the law requires the governing board of a charter school seeking renewal to submit a renewal application to the charter authorizer under the renewal application guidance issued by the authorizer. The law requires the renewal application to include guidance from the authorizer and requires the guidance to include the performance criteria that will guide the authorizer's renewal decisions.

The law provides that the minimum standards for renewal and the standards to avoid closure imposed by authorizers on the charter school in the charter school agreement must include a requirement that the charter school not remain in the lowest category or designation of school improvement, including any alternative accountability category or designation, in the third year after initial placement in the lowest category or designation established under state law.
Current Indiana law provides that if an authorizer determines that an organizer is failing to comply with the conditions or procedures established in the charter, a charter school established by the organizer is failing to meet the educational goals set forth in the charter, an organizer is failing to comply with all applicable federal and state laws, an organizer fails to meet generally accepted fiscal management and government accounting principles, or one or more grounds for revocation exist as specified in the charter, the authorizer shall notify the governing board in writing and give the organizer a reasonable time to remedy the deficiency. If the organizer does not remedy the deficiency within the timeline established by the authorizer, the authorizer may order any corrective action that the authorizer considers necessary to correct the deficiency or revoke the school’s charter.
In making charter renewal decisions, the law requires an authorizer to make decisions based upon evidence of the school's performance over the term of the charter contract in accordance with the performance framework set forth in the charter contract, ensure the data used in making renewal decisions are available to the school and the public, and provide a public report summarizing the evidence basis for each decision.

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

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

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

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

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

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
No
9A
Authorizer must issue school performance renewal reports to schools whose charter will expire the following year.
No
9B
Schools seeking renewal must apply for it.
No
9C
Authorizers must issue renewal application guidance that provides an opportunity for schools to augment their performance record and discuss improvements and future plans.
No
9D
Ability to have a differentiated process for renewal of high-performing charter schools.
Yes
9E
Authorizers must use clear criteria for renewal and nonrenewal/revocation.
No
9F
Authorizers must ground renewal decisions based on evidence regarding the school’s performance over the term of the charter contract in accordance with the performance framework set forth in the charter contract.
No
9G
Requirement that authorizers close chronically low-performing charter schools unless exceptional circumstances exist.
Yes
9H
Authorizers must have the authority to vary length of charter renewal contract terms based on performance or other issues.
Yes
9I
Authorizers must provide charter schools with timely notification of potential revocation or nonrenewal (including reasons) and reasonable time to respond.
Yes
9J
Authorizers must provide charter schools with due process for nonrenewal and revocation decisions (e.g., public hearing, submission of evidence).
Yes
9K
All charter renewal, nonrenewal, and revocation decisions must be made in a public meeting, with authorizers stating reasons for nonrenewals and revocations in writing.
Some
9L
Authorizers must have school closure protocols to ensure timely parent notification, orderly student and record transitions, and property and asset disposition.
No
9M
Any transfer of charter contracts from one authorizer to another are only allowed if they are approved by the state.

Is there transparency regarding educational service providers?

Indiana law notes that if a proposed charter school intends to contract with an education service provider for substantial educational services, management services, or both educational services and management services, the applicant must provide: (1) Evidence of the education service provider's success in serving student populations similar to the targeted populations, including demonstrated academic achievement as well as successful management of nonacademic school functions, if applicable. (2) A term sheet setting forth the: (A) proposed duration of the service contract; (B) roles and responsibilities of the organizer, the school staff, and the education service provider; (C) performance evaluation measures and timelines; (D) compensation structure, including clear identification of all fees to be paid to the education service provider; (E) methods of contract oversight and enforcement; (F) investment disclosure; (G) that the school and the authorizer are entitled to any data directly related to the operation or management of the school, such as financial data, enrollment data, demographic data, performance data, and student data, in the possession of the education service provider, but may not include any proprietary, intellectual property, or similarly protected data of the education service provider; and (H) conditions for renewal and termination of the contract. (3) A disclosure statement to explain any existing or potential conflicts of interest between the organizer and the proposed education service provider or any affiliated business entities. (4) Assurance that the organizer will be structurally independent of the education service provider and shall set and approve school policies. Beginning July 1, 2017, at the time an organizer submits a proposal, the organizer shall submit to the authorizer and department a statement of economic interest for each board member of the proposed charter school.
The law states that individuals who work at a charter school are employees of the charter school or of an entity with which the charter school has contracted to provide services are not exempted from criminal history record checks and fingerprinting requirements.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
10A
All types of educational service providers (both for-profit and nonprofit) are allowed to operate all or parts of schools.
No
10B
The charter application requires (1) performance data for all current and past schools operated by the ESP, and (2) explanation and evidence of the ESP’s capacity for successful growth while maintaining quality in existing schools.
No
10C
A performance contract is required between the independent charter school board and the ESP, with such contract approved by the school’s authorizer.
No
10D
School governing boards operate as entities completely independent of any ESP, individuals compensated by an ESP are prohibited from serving as voting members on such boards, and existing and potential conflicts of interest between the two entities are required to be disclosed and explained in the charter application.
No
10E
Provides that charter school governing boards must have access to ESP records necessary to oversee the ESP contract.
No
10F
An ESP must annually provide information to its charter school governing board on how that ESP spends public funding it receives when the ESP is performing a public function under applicable state law.
No
10G
Requires that similar criminal history record checks and fingerprinting requirements applicable to other public schools shall also be mandatory for on-site employees of ESPs who regularly come into contact with students.

Are the schools fiscally and legally autonomous with independent charter school boards?

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

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Some
11A
Fiscally autonomous schools (e.g., schools have clear statutory authority to receive and disburse funds; incur debt; and pledge, assign, or encumber assets as collateral).
Some
11B
Legally autonomous schools (e.g., schools have clear statutory authority to enter into contracts and leases, sue and be sued in their own names, and acquire real property).
No
11C
Independent school governing boards created specifically to govern their charter schools.

Are there clear student enrollment and lottery procedures?

Indiana law requires all charter schools to be open to any student who resides in Indiana.
According to the law, a charter school is subject to all federal and state laws and constitutional provisions that prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability, race, color, gender, national origin, religion, and ancestry.

Indiana law provides that charters may have enrollment preferences for previously enrolled students at conversions, students enrolled at a charter school the previous year, students enrolled at a different charter school held by the same organizer, and siblings of students enrolled at a charter school. The law also allows charter schools to provide enrollment preference for children of a school’s founders, governing board members, and employees, not exceeding 10% of the school’s total student population.

Indiana law stipulates that if more applications are received than available slots, then each applicant will receive equal consideration. The law also provides that an organizer must determine which of the applicants will be admitted to the charter school or the program, class, grade level, or building by random drawing in a public meeting, with each timely applicant limited to one entry in the drawing. However, the organizer of a charter school located in a county with a consolidated city shall determine which of the applicants will be admitted to the charter school or the program, class, grade level, or building by using a publicly verifiable random selection process.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
12A
Open enrollment to any student in the state.
Yes
12B
Anti-discrimination provisions regarding admissions.
Some
12C
Required enrollment preferences for previously enrolled students within conversions and for prior-year students within charter schools.
Yes
12D
Lottery requirements.

Is there automatic exemption from many state and district laws and regulations?

Indiana law provides that any state statute applicable to a governing body or school corporation, a rule or guideline adopted by the state board of education, a rule or guideline adopted by the professional standards board except for those rules that assist a teacher in gaining or renewing a standard or advanced license, and a local regulation or policy adopted by a school district unless specifically incorporated in the charter do not apply to a charter school, except for the following statutes, rules, and guidelines: required audits by the state board of accounts; unified accounting system; special education; criminal history; laws requiring regulation by state agencies; voiding of teacher contract when two contracts are signed; nondiscrimination for teacher marital status; teacher freedom of association; school counselor immunity; compulsory school attendance; limitations on employment of children; student due process and judicial review; firearms and deadly weapons; health and safety measures; reporting of student violations of law; patriotic commemorative observances; assessment programs, including remediation under the assessment programs; parental access to education records; and accountability for school performance and improvement.
In addition, the following statutes, rules, and guidelines apply to conversion charter schools only if the conversion charter school elects to collectively bargain: teacher contracts, cancellation of teacher contracts, contracts with school administrators, salary and related payments, and conditions of employment. However, for any collective bargaining agreement entered into after July 1, 2015, a governing body is not bound by its collective bargaining agreement for employees of a conversion charter school. Employees of a conversion charter school may organize and collectively bargain only as a unit separate from other school employees.
Indiana law provides that at least 90% of the individuals who teach full time in a charter school must either hold any license or permit to teach in a public school in Indiana under described in state law or rules adopted by the state board concerning the licensing of teachers or be in the process of obtaining a license to teach through the transition to teaching program. For those in the transition to teaching program, it provides that licenses must be obtained within three years of beginning to teach at a charter school.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Some
13A
Exemptions from all laws, except those covering health, safety, civil rights, student accountability, employee criminal history checks, open meetings, freedom of information, and generally accepted accounting principles.
No
13B
Exemption from state teacher certification requirements.

Is there an automatic collective bargaining exemption?

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

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
N/A
14A
Charter schools authorized by nonlocal board authorizers are exempt from participation in any outside collective bargaining agreements.
No
14B
Charter schools authorized by local boards are exempt from participation in any district collective bargaining agreements.

Are multischool charter contracts and/or multicharter contract boards allowed?

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

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
No
15A
Oversee multiple schools linked under a single contract with independent fiscal and academic accountability for each school.
No
15B
Hold multiple charter contracts with independent fiscal and academic accountability for each school.

Is there eligibility and access to extracurricular and interscholastic activities?

Indiana law is silent about charter eligibility and access.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
No
16A
Laws or regulations explicitly state that charter school students and employees are eligible to participate in all extracurricular and interscholastic activities available to noncharter public school students and employees.
No
16B
Laws or regulations explicitly allow charter school students in schools not providing extracurricular and interscholastic activities to have access to those activities at noncharter public schools.

Is there clear identification of special education responsibilities?

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

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
17A
Clarity regarding which entity is the local education agency (LEA) responsible for providing special education services.
Yes
17B
Clarity regarding the flow of federal, state, and local special education funds to the designated LEA.
No
17C
Clarity regarding funding for low-incident, high-cost services for charter schools (in the same amount and/or in a manner similar to other LEAs).
Yes
17D
Clarity that charter schools have access to all regional and state services and supports available to traditional districts.

Is there equitable operational funding and equal access to all state and federal categorical funding?

Indiana law grants charters access to most state and federal funding. However, there are still glaring deficiencies in the funding provided to charters, including that charters do not receive local tax levies for transportation and facilities and do not have access to the local capital funds for insurance costs.
In a national study of charter school funding (University of Arkansas, Charter School Funding: Inequity Expands, 2014), Indiana charter schools were receiving on average $8,045 per pupil in public funds, while traditional public schools would have received $12,897 for those students. As a result, the state's charter schools were receiving $4,852 per pupil - or 37.6% - less than what the traditional public schools would have received for those students. This figure includes all sources of funding, and analysis reveals continued inequities for operational, categorical, and capital funding (see component #19 for information on capital issues).

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
No
18A
Equitable operational funding statutorily driven.
No
18B
Equal access to all applicable categorical federal and state funding and clear guidance on the pass-through of such funds.
Yes
18C
Funding for transportation similar to school districts.
No
18D
Annual report offering district and charter school funding comparisons and including annual recommendations to the legislature for any needed equity enhancements.

Is there equitable access to capital funding and facilities?

In the two-year budget enacted in 2015, the state created a $20 million grant program to disburse a new $500 per public charter school student allotment that must be used primarily for facilities and transportation purposes, provided the schools meet performance expectations. The budget also created a new $50 million public charter school loan program that will allow charter schools to borrow up to $5 million each at one percent interest for facilities and a wide range of educational needs. Qualification for the loan is based on the same performance criteria used to receive the facilities allotment.
Indiana law grants charter schools located in Indianapolis the ability to obtain facilities financing from the local public improvement bond bank and all other charter schools the ability to obtain financing through the Indiana Bond Bank. Indiana law provides that charter schools have the moral obligation pledge of the City or State to debt issued through these authorities.

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

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

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Facilities Funding
No
19A
A per-pupil facilities allowance that annually reflects actual average district capital costs.
No
19B
A state grant program for charter school facilities.
No
19C
Equal access to existing state facilities programs available to noncharter public schools.
Access to Public Space
No
19D
A requirement for districts to provide school district space or funding to charter schools if the majority of that schools’ students reside in that district.
No
19E
Right of first refusal to purchase or lease at or below fair market value a closed, unused, or underused public school facility or property.
Access to Financing Tools
No
19F
A state loan program for charter school facilities.
No
19G
Equal access to tax-exempt bonding authorities or allowing charter schools to have their own bonding authority
No
19H
Pledging the moral obligation of the state to help charter schools obtain more favorable bond financing terms.
No
19I
The creation and funding of a state charter school debt reserve fund.
No
19J
The inclusion of charter schools in school district bonding and mill levy requests.
No
19K
A mechanism to provide credit enhancement for charter school facilities.
Other
No
19L
Charter schools allowed to contract at or below fair market value with a school district, a college or university, or any other public or for-profit or nonprofit private entity for the use of facility for a school building.
No
19M
Certain entities allowed to provide space to charter schools within their facilities under their preexisting zoning and land use designations.
No
19N
Charter school facilities exempt from ad valorem taxes and other assessment fees not applicable to other public schools.

Is there access to relevant employee retirement systems?

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

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
20A
Charter schools have access to relevant state retirement systems available to other public schools.
No
20B
Charter schools have the option to participate (i.e., not required).

Are there provisions for full-time virtual charter schools?

Indiana law includes a small number of the model law’s provisions regarding full-time virtual charter schools.
The law provides that a virtual charter school may apply for authorization with any statewide authorizer in accordance with the authorizer's guidelines.

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

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
No
21A
An authorizing structure whereby full-time virtual charter schools that serve students from more than one district may be approved only by an authorizer with statewide chartering jurisdiction and authority, full-time virtual charter schools that serve students from one school district may be authorized by that school district, and a cap is placed on the total amount of funding that an authorizer may withhold from a full-time virtual charter school.
No
21B
Legally permissible criteria and processes for enrollment based on the existence of supports needed for student success.
No
21C
Enrollment level provisions that establish maximum enrollment levels for each year of a charter contract, with any increases in enrollment from one year to the next based on whether the school meets its performance requirements.
No
21D
Accountability provisions that include virtual-specific goals regarding student enrollment, attendance, engagement, achievement, truancy, and attrition.
No
21E
Funding levels per student based on costs proposed and justified by the operators.
No
21F
Performance-based funding whereby full-time virtual charter schools are funded via a performance-based funding system based on meeting the accountability performance provisions.