In order to
address the serious problems undermining the existing school system, many
states have written laws and made provisions to enable teachers, parents and
community leaders to create charter schools. A charter school must be
nonsectarian in its programs and cannot discriminate against any students.
Furthermore, it is not allowed to impose school fees on its students.
World Prosperity offers free assistance to individuals and groups in the
process of forming charter schools. Although a charter school is a
public-funded institution that offers educational services for students from
grades K-12, it can be distinguished from a conventional public school in
three primary ways:
• Encourage alternative and innovative instructional
• Provide learning experiences that cater to the
distinctive needs of students, especially the ones who have been labeled as
“academically low achieving” in conventional public school.
• Empower teachers to implement learning programs
without outside intervention.
A charter is a document that describes how the new school will work. Anyone
may write a charter. The charter developers must obtain the signatures
of either 50 percent of the teachers meaningfully interested in teaching at
the school, or 50 percent of the parents of pupils expected to enroll at the
school. It is usually authorized by an existing local public school
board, or county board of education. If they reject the charter
petition, the petitioners may appeal to the State Board of Education (SBE)
within 180 days.
Typically, a local governing board must hold a public hearing to consider
the proposed charter within 30 days from the receipt of the completed
petition. Within 60 days from the receipt of the petition, the governing
must decide whether to approve or reject the charter petition.
Charter school law does not attempt to define a "school." Except where
specifically required, charter schools are generally exempt from state laws
governing school districts. Furthermore, the law mandates that
the chartering authority should comply with the legislative intent that
promotes the establishment of charter schools. When denying a charter
petition, a school district governing board must be able to provide a
factual report that identifies the following problems with the petition:
• The proposed educational program of the school does
not meet acceptable standards.
• Petitioners have failed to demonstrate their ability
to implement the educational program described in the charter.
• Petitioners have failed to obtain the required number
of signatures for filing the charter petition.
• The charter petition has not provided adequate
information for each of the 15 required elements set in the Education Code
1. Education program of the school
2. Measurable standards of pupil outcomes
3. Process of measuring students’ progress towards reaching the outcomes
4. Governance structure
5. Qualifications of employees
6. Health and safety procedures
7. Plans for ensuring racial and ethnic balance in student composition
8. Admissions requirements (optional)
9. Annual financial audits
10. Conditions leading to students being expelled or suspended
11. Employee coverage
12. Availability of public school alternatives for students residing in the
district of the charter schools
13. Rights of employees moving either from school district to charter
schools and vice versa.
14. Dispute resolution process
15. Declaration stating whether the charter school will be the sole public
school employer of charter school employees
Upon approval, the State Department of Education administers a grant program
to provide start-up costs for charter schools. In addition, there is a
charter school revolving loan program that provides startup loans of up to
$250,000 for charter schools in their first term of operation, which must be
repaid within five years of the receipt of the loans. Ongoing
operational funding is provided to charter schools based on actual
attendance. The initial grant of the charter is the maximum of five
years. The charters are subject to renewal for an indefinite number of
Learn more by going to the
of Education web site. You can obtain
for a school charter. Samples of
charters are also available.
These provisions have effectively removed the legal and financial barriers
to meaningful education. The remaining obstacles lie in the minds of