A Guidebook for Chartering Agencies

January 1997

This is a guidebook for school boards and other government agencies given the power to permit private individuals and groups to operate autonomous public schools under state charter school legislation. It is intended to help these chartering agencies develop their own charter school programs by providing basic information on:

  • The charter school concept.
  • What to look for in charter applicants: i.e. the capabilities required to develop and implement charter school programs.
  • What an agency needs to do its job well: i.e., the specific functions and capabilities of chartering agencies.
  • Additional advice for chartering agencies initiating a charter school program.

As public schools, charter schools are established by state and local agencies under authorities granted by state legislatures. Charter school laws vary by state. Local circumstances vary by jurisdiction and chartering agency. This guide is an introduction to charter schools, not a prescription for a charter school program. It discusses a broad array of important issues chartering agencies should consider before they begin to review charter applications and grant charters.