A charter operator is the entity that has been awarded a contract (called a charter holder) with the state to organize and run a charter. Legally, this charter functions very much like a school district. A charter operator is either a non-profit corporation, a higher education institution or a governmental entity.
An entity that seeks a charter under Subchapter D of the Texas Education Code, Chapter 12, applies through a competitive process. Higher education institutions may apply to the Texas Education Agency for a Subchapter E charter; this process is not competitive. All administrators for new charter schools must go through an orientation. Others may also view the training materials posted on our website.
Unlike the boards for independent school districts, charter school boards are appointed, not elected. However, they must make public the names of their board members in an annual governance report and on their website. They must also comply with the Texas Public Information Act and hold public board meetings.
Amendments to Charters
Because a charter is a contract with the state, it must be formally amended and approved by the commissioner of education if it is to be changed. A charter school operator submits an amendment to the Texas Education Agency. TEA staff review the proposed amendment and make a recommendation to the commissioner, who will approve or deny the request. Typical types of amendments include requests to add a new campus, expand grade levels, or increase an enrollment cap.
Charter schools are funded with state and federal funds; in addition, they sometimes receive private grants. Although they are public schools, they do not have taxing authority.
Laws and Rules
While state law exempts charter schools from some laws, there are still many laws and rules that apply to these schools. It is critical that charter school employees become familiar with these laws and regulations and comply with them.