Charter Schools Act Exposed

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The Charter Schools Act is listed under ALEC's Education Task Force and was included in the 1995 ALEC Sourcebook of American State Legislation. ALEC has since passed legislation building off of this Act. ALEC has attempted to distance itself from this piece of legislation after the launch of in 2011, but it has done nothing to get it repealed in the states where it previously pushed for it to be made into law.

CMD's Bill Summary

This "model" legislation would allow for charters from the state to create and operate schools outside of traditional public schools. These schools would be exempt from state laws and regulations that apply to public schools. These schools would be funded on a per-pupil rate, the same as public schools, even if they lack the facilities and other services that traditional public schools provide. This is an early charter school proposal that allows states to be a chartering entity directly.

ALEC Bill Text


This legislation allows groups of citizens to seek charters from the state to create and operate innovative, outcome-based schools. These schools would be exempt from state laws and regulations that apply to public schools. Schools are funded on a per-pupil rate, the same as public schools. Currently, Minnesota operates the most well-known program.

Model Legislation

Section 1. {Title.}

Section 2. {Purpose.}

The purposes of this bill are to:

(A) improve pupil learning;

(B) increase learning opportunities for pupils;

(C) encourage the use of different and innovative methods of teaching;

(D) require the measurement of learning outcomes and create different and innovative forms of measuring outcomes;

(E) establish new forms of accountability for schools; and

(F) create new professional opportunities for teachers and other educators, including the opportunity to be responsible for the learning program at the school site.

Section 3. {Applicability.}

This Act applies only to charter schools formed and operated under this Act.

Section 4. {Formation of school.}

A sponsor may authorize one or more individuals or an organization to form and operate an outcome-based school. An individual or organization shall organize and operate as a cooperative under (insert state code). The sponsor's authorization shall be in the form of a written contract between the sponsor and the board of directors of the charter school.

Section 5. {The contract.}

The contract shall be in writing and contain at least the following:

(A) a description of a program that carries out one or more of the purposes in Section 2;

(B) specific outcomes to be achieved by the pupils;

(C) admission policies and procedures;

(D) management and administration of the school;

(E) requirements and procedures for program and financial audits;

(F) assumption of liability by the charter school;

(G) types and amounts of insurance coverage to be obtained by the charter school; and

(H) the term of the contract, which may be up to three years;

Section 6. {Advisory Committee.}

The state board of education shall appoint an advisory committee comprised of 10 members.

Section 7. {Exemption from statutes and rules.}

Except as provided in this section, a charter school is exempt from all statutes and rules applicable to a school board or school district, although it may elect to comply with one or more provisions of such statutes or rules.

Section 8. {Requirements.}

(A) A charter school shall meet the same health and safety requirements required of a school district.

(B) The school location may not be prescribed or limited by a sponsor or other authority except a zoning authority.

(C) The school must be nonsectarian in its programs, admission policies, employment practices, and all other operations.

(D) The primary focus of the school shall be to provide a comprehensive program of instruction for at least one grade or age group from 5 through 18 years of age. Instruction may be provided to people younger than 5 years and older than 18 years of age.

(E) The school may not charge tuition.

Section 9. {Admission requirements.}

(A) The school may limit admission in the following ways:

1. pupils within an age group or grade level;
2. pupils who have attributes designating them as at risk of failure;
3. pupils who have a specific affinity for the school's teaching methods, the school's learning philosophy, or a subject such as mathematics, science, fine arts, performing arts, or a foreign language.

(B) The school shall not limit admission to students on the basis of athletic ability.

Section 10.

A charter school shall design its programs to at least meet the standards adopted by (insert state) or in the absence of state requirements, the school shall meet the outcomes contained in the contract with the sponsor. The achievement levels of the outcomes contained in the contract may exceed the achievement levels of any outcomes adopted by the state board.

Section 11.

The school shall provide instruction each year for at least the number of days required of school districts.

Section 12.

Transportation for students enrolled at a school shall be provided by the school district in which the school is located, pursuant to [insert state statute], for a student who resides in the same school district in which the outcome-based school is located. Transportation may be provided by the school district in which the school is located for a student residing in a different school district.

Section 13.

If a teacher employed by a school district makes a written request for an extended leave of absence to teach at a charter school, the school district shall grant the leave.

Section 14. {Severability clause.}

Section 15. {Repealer clause.}

Section 16. {Effective date.}

ALEC's Sourcebook of American State Legislation 1995