AGENCY CONTACT INFORMATION
State Board for Charter Schools
See related histories: State Board of Education
The State Board for Charter Schools (Board) was established by Laws 1994, Ninth Special Session, Chapter 2. Current statutory authority is found at A.R.S. §§ 15-181 et seq. Administrative rules are found at A.A.C. §§ R7-5-101 et seq.
The Legislature authorized creation of charter schools to provide a learning environment to improve pupil achievement and provide additional academic choices. Charter schools are formed by a contract, or charter, between a sponsor and a public or private entity. A sponsorship can be obtained from one of four entities: the State Board for Charter Schools, the State Board of Education, state universities or community college districts. A charter school may either be formed as a new school or as all or part of an existing school. Statute outlines the application process and requirements to establish and operate a charter school relating to sponsorship; curriculum; instruction; and measuring progress toward student outcomes as required by the State Board of Education. Criteria for admission, employment practices, financial requirements, and compliance with federal and state laws are specified as well.
The Board exercises general supervision over charter schools, grants charter status to qualifying applicants and monitors schools for compliance with federal and state law. The Board consists of 14 members: the Superintendent of Public Instruction; ten members appointed by the Governor to four-year terms; and three legislators who serve as advisory members.
Laws 1994, Ninth Special Session, Chapter 2 prescribed a process to establish charter schools and created the State Board for Charter Schools. The measure included a purpose statement which explained that charter schools could be established to provide a learning environment to improve pupil achievement and provide academic choices for parents and students. An eleven-member Board was authorized to exercise general supervision over charter schools sponsored by the Board and to grant charters to qualifying applicants. The measure also established the Charter Schools Stimulus Fund and included an appropriation of $1 million from the state general fund in fiscal year 1994-1995. The fund was created to provide financial support for charter school applicants and charter schools, startup costs and costs associated with renovating or remodeling existing buildings and structures.
Laws 1995, Chapter 273 modified charter school application requirements, charter school financing provisions and employment benefits.
Laws 1996, Chapter 284 was a lengthy education omnibus measure that modified charter school requirements relating to fingerprinting, liability insurance, admission, financing and enrollment.
A second measure enacted in 1996 reduced the number of members on the Board to nine by removing the two board members of the State Board of Education. The measure also required the Auditor General to conduct a comprehensive review and revision of the uniform system of financial records relating to charter schools, addressed zoning and development fees for charter schools, and added requirements related to public bidding. Laws 1996, Chapter 356.
Laws 1997, Chapter 231 was a lengthy education omnibus bill that included provisions relating to charter schools. The measure increased the number of members on the Board from nine to twelve by adding three public members. The measure also addressed specific financial calculations based on student count for those school districts that sponsor charter schools.
Laws 1998, Chapter 212 allowed charter school governing bodies to opt into the state health insurance plan and allow its employees to participate in state health insurance plans.
Laws 1998, Fifth Special Session, Chapter 1 (Students FIRST) established a capital financing system for state schools and modified financing requirements for charter schools.
Laws 2000, Chapter 90 was a charter school reform bill that addressed charter sponsorship, operations, financial accountability and funding.
Laws 2004, Chapter 257 added two members to the Board representing charter schools, and required one of the six general public members to reside on an Indian Reservation.
Laws 2005, Chapter 156 limited fees that may be charged to a charter school by a sponsoring entity.
Laws 2009, Chapter 117 modified the renewal period for charter schools.
Laws 2010, Chapter 160 required the Board to charge a processing fee to a charter school that amends its contract to participate in an online instruction program. A second measure enacted in 2010 outlined factors for the Board to consider when reviewing an application for a charter school. See Laws 2010, Chapter 305. A third measure authorized state universities and community college districts to sponsor an Arizona charter school and allowed the Board to use the services of the Arizona Auditor General. See Laws 2010, Chapter 332.
Laws 2012, Chapter 78 established the Joint Legislative Study Committee on Charter School Funding Options to evaluate methods for school districts to transfer to a funding model that is similar to the model used by charter schools. A report of findings and recommendations was due by December 31, 2013.
Laws 2016, Chapter 124 eliminated the authority for a school district to sponsor a charter school and made related conforming changes.
Laws 2017, Chapter 146 eliminated the requirement for a charter school to admit students residing in the attendance area of school under a desegregation court order or agreement to remediate racial discrimination. A second measure enacted that year modified teacher certification requirements, outlined requirements to receive a Subject Matter Expert Standard Teaching Certificate, modified requirements related to alternative teacher and administrator preparation programs, and required the State Board of Education to revise relevant rules.
See Laws 2017, Chapter 245.
Laws 2018, Chapter 285 established budget and reporting requirements for charter schools.
Laws 2019, Chapter 191 required charter school governing bodies to establish a teacher performance evaluation system and policies to evaluate principals. A second measure enacted that year increased the amount of Charter Additional Assistance per charter student for fiscal year 2020. See Laws 2019, Chapter 265.
- Arizona Revised Statutes §§ 15-181 et seq.
- Arizona Administrative Code §§ R7-5-101 et seq.
- Session Laws
- Laws 1994, Ninth Special Session, Chapter 2
- Laws 1995, Chapter 273
- Laws 1996, Chapter 284 and Chapter 356
- Laws 1997, Chapter 231
- Laws 1998, Chapter 212
- Laws 1998, Fifth Special Session, Chapter 1
- Laws 2000, Chapter 90
- Laws 2004, Chapter 257
- Laws 2005, Chapter 156
- Laws 2009, Chapter 117
- Laws 2010, Chapter 160, Chapter 305 and Chapter 332
- Laws 2012, Chapter 78
- Laws 2016, Chapter 124
- Laws 2017, Chapter 146 and Chapter 245
- Laws 2018, Chapter 285
- Laws 2019, Chapter 191 and Chapter 265
Arizona State Board for Charter Schools website
Related Collections at Arizona State Archives
- Record Group 188 – Arizona State Board for Charter Schools, 1994-2016