Charter School Conversion

Charter Schools are simple. Charter Schools receive 100% of the state BEP, County, and Federal Dollars guaranteeing that 100% of funds go into the school. That coupled with the proceeds from you local sales tax proceeds is a substantial amount of money.

Here is the process to convert to a charter school:

An eligible public school may convert to a public charter school in two ways.  The parents of sixty percent (60%) of the children enrolled at the school or sixty percent (60%) of the teachers assigned to the school may petition the LEA.  The LEA must agree for the school to be converted.

Notice that the School Board must approve. There is a good chance that this board would approve the conversion. If the board does not approve, it is dead. However, I must warn that a bill is imminent in Nashville to allow the state to authorize the conversion. The School Board would want to do it on its term and would have incentive to do so.

What is the application process for conversion charter schools?

Tennessee law does not require that the application process and timeline for new charter schools be applied to conversion charter schools. However, the law does require that any conversion occur at the beginning of the school year, and that parents and staff be given opportunities to transfer from the converting school. Thus, an LEA is likely to require parents and charter operators applying to convert a school to follow a similar timeline and process to allow the LEA to thoroughly review a proposal and for affected students and staff to transition according to their desires

An LEA might, for example, require parent or teacher petitions to be submitted earlier than letters of intent for new charter schools (currently 60 days prior the application deadline).  Doing so would allow the LEA time to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for sponsors to apply to run the converted school if it desired to do so.

If the parents or teachers initiate the conversion, the process could be as follows:

  1. Parents or teachers gather required support and
    1. Parents or teachers appoint a charter school sponsor; or
    2. Parents or teachers petition the LEA to convert the school and solicit applications from charter school sponsors. If the LEA agrees to the conversion, the LEA would then solicit applications.
  2. Charter school sponsor or sponsors submit charter school application(s) to the LEA (and copy the department of education), along with evidence of support from 60 percent of the parents or teachers.
  3. The LEA reviews the application according to its timeline and process (which may mirror its timeline and process for new charter school applications).
  4. To approve an application, the local board votes and then signs a charter agreement that includes all components of the application and is binding on the local board (the chartering authority) and the governing body of the charter school. T.C.A. 49-13-110.
  5. The conversion takes place at the beginning of the school year and the charter school governing body operates the school (the charter school may convert all of the grades or convert one or more each year until it operates all grades in the school).

This outlines the process to convert to the charter school. You may find it helpful…


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