Pursuant to Title 20-A MRSA - Chapter 112, a public charter school must be “authorized” by a legal entity that awards its charter, oversees its operations, and holds it accountable by contract for its academic and fiscal performance. Any school district in Maine may authorize a public charter school within its geographic boundaries, either alone or in a collaborative with another district within the area managed and controlled by those local school boards.
Authorizers are required to act in accordance with standards created by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA);
Powers and duties. An authorizer may:
- Solicit, invite and evaluate applications from organizers of proposed public charter schools;
- Approve applications that meet identified educational needs;
- Deny applications that do not meet identified educational needs;
- Create a framework to guide the development of charter contracts;
- Negotiate and execute sound charter contracts with each approved public charter school;
- Monitor the performance and compliance of public charter schools; and
- Determine whether each charter contract merits renewal or revocation.
Principles and professional standards. An authorizer shall develop and maintain policies and practices consistent with nationally recognized principles and professional standards for authorizing public charter schools, including standards relating to:
- Organizational capacity and infrastructure;
- Soliciting and evaluating applications;
- Performance contracting;
- Ongoing public charter school oversight and evaluation; and
- Charter renewal decision making.