Charter School Laws Regarding the Renewal Process
Section 1728-A of Act 22 of 1997 directs the local board of school directors to "conduct a comprehensive review prior to granting a five (5) year renewal of the charter." A Basic Education Circular (BEC) issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Education on October 2004, states that "a charter school must notify, in writing, the chartering school district between July 1 and October 1 of the final year of its current Charter, that it is requesting renewal of the Charter."
In order to conduct this comprehensive review, the authorizer will examine materials related to each charter school's performance and operations, including Annual Reports, results of standardized tests, the contents of the school's renewal letter, as well as the findings from a site visit to each school. A public hearing may also be held, and is required if the school district issues a notice of non-renewal to the charter school.
The sample charter school renewal letter document contains instructions for the completion of the renewal request letter for those charter schools whose last charter year is 2007-2008. The renewal letter is to be submitted to the authorizer by November 15, 2007.
Indicators of Success:
The renewal letter is based on four indicators of success:
- Student Achievement: Is the educational program a success?
- School Operations/Management: Is the school a viable organization?
- Overall School Design: Is the school faithful to the terms of its charter?
- Plans for the Future: If the school's charter is renewed, what are its plans for the next five years of its operation?
The renewal letter gives each charter school the opportunity to provide answers to these questions and to make a case for why its charter should be renewed. It is also designed to provide each school with the opportunity to reflect on its strengths, weaknesses and accomplishments of its years of operation, and to make plans and adjustments for the next five years.
Reasons for Non-renewal of a charter school agreement:
- One or more violations of any conditions, standards or procedures contained in the written charter agreement
- Failure to meet the requirements for student performance as outlined in Chapter 5 of the Pennsylvania School Code
- Failure to meet generally accepted standards of fiscal management or audit requirements