Charter Schools are authorized under Title 14, Chapter 5 of the Delaware Code and 14 Admin Code 275. Charter schools may be authorized by the Department of Education, with the approval of the State Board of Education (State Board) or by a local school district. The Department of Education is responsible for monitoring and supporting Delaware’s state-approved charter school. More information about the Delaware Charter School Office can be found on the Department’s website.
The State Board’s roles and responsibilities related to charter schools are:
- Approval of New Applications: A new charter can be granted for an initial period of four years, and is renewable every five years thereafter. New applications must be decided upon by the Secretary and agreed upon by the State Board.
- Approval of Major Modifications: A charter school can apply for a major modification of an existing charter. Major modifications may include replacing or removing a charter management organization, altering enrollment preference, increasing/decreasing enrollment by more than 15%, altering grade configurations, changing the site of instruction, changing educational services, altering the school’s mission and goals, altering the performance agreements, or altering the charter to meet the requirements for ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act). A major modification must be decided upon by the Secretary and agreed upon by the State Board.
- Approval of Conditions for Formal review: A formal review is an investigation of whether a school is violating the terms of its charter. The conditions of a Formal Review must be decided upon by the Secretary and agreed upon by the State Board.
- Renewals: Charters are renewed in successive 5-year terms of duration. Where a charter school has demonstrated an outstanding record of performance, a 10-year renewal may be granted. Any charter school receiving such an extended renewal term shall, at the midpoint of the 10-year charter, be subject to an annual performance and program evaluation that includes academic, financial and operations data that looks back to all of the years of the charter up to that point. Renewal decisions are made by the Secretary. The Secretary may request the assent of the Board.
Decisions regarding each of the actions outlined above are usually informed by the work of the Charter School Accountability Committee (CSAC). CSAC is convened by the Department of Education to review the materials for each of the items listed above. CSAC provides a recommendation to the Secretary of Education. The State Board of Education may designate one or more of its members to sit as a non-voting member of the Charter School Accountability Committee.
The materials from CSAC’s review, including minutes and reports, are considered part of the record that the State Board of Education may consider in making its decision.
Information to guide decision-making:
- The State Board of Education approves the Delaware Performance Frameworks which are used to make decisions related to charter schools.
- The Delaware Department of Education provides the following information annually:
- State Charter School Reports
- Performance Framework Reports
- Charter School Annual Reports
Public Input or Comment
All decisions on charter schools, including new applications, renewals, major modifications, and formal reviews have a public comment period. Public comment may be provided in writing via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via comment at a public hearing – information and deadlines can be found on the Department’s website. Public hearing dates will be posted on the public meeting calendar, under the Department of Education.
By State law, in order to be considered in the State Board’s decision-making, comment is required to be submitted in writing or via a public hearing, within the comment period established by the Department. Public comment on these matters is closed when the record is brought to the State Board of Education for a decision and public comment is not permitted at that time.