Charter Law Update

Published July 1, 2001

State Charter Law Rankings

The Center for Education Reform issued a new ranking of the nation’s 38 charter laws during Charter Schools Week in May. The report shows that those states with multiple chartering authorities and few limits on the permitted number of schools have generated the greatest number of charter schools.

“A strong charter law is the single most important factor in creating strong charter schools,” said CER President Jeanne Allen.

For more information . . .

The CER report is available at

Other Charter School Law Changes

CER also reported the following recent changes to state charter school laws:

Alaska’s weak charter law was improved with the elimination of the July 2005 sunset clause, extension of the allowable contract length from five to 10 years, doubling the cap to 60 schools, providing for a one-time start-up grant, and eliminating geographic distribution requirements. But CER notes that, even after the governor signs these changes into law, Alaska will still have one of the weakest state laws because of the requirement that local school boards must approve charters.

Hawaii no longer “shall” provide funding for charter school startups, but merely “may” provide funding. In addition, another step–an “independent review panel”–was created for charter formation.

North Carolina’s charter school cap will remain at 100, as legislation to raise it died at “crossover” between the houses.

Tennessee, Iowa, and Maryland all remained free of charter schools when proposals to create them were killed by charter opponents or died at the end of the legislative session.

Missouri Earmarks Money for Oversight

Missouri is on the verge of becoming the first state to earmark money to help charter school sponsors with the costs of oversight, reported the May issue of The Friedman Report.

Details of the legislation were being worked out in a conference committee in early May. Sponsors of Missouri’s two dozen charter schools are five public colleges and universities and the Kansas City and St. Louis school systems. The bill would provide sponsors a little over $23,000 for each school they oversee, and about $35 per each student the school enrolls. Often that money has come from the charter schools’ operating funds.

“Sponsors need the money to do their job,” said Jon Schroeder, director of the Charter Friends National Network. The appropriation in a state with diverse sponsors, he added, “is a very significant development and I’m sure other states will watch closely.”