Pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated (T.C.A.) § 49-1-614 (k) (2) (B), select Achievement School District public charter schools may apply directly to the Tennessee Charter Commission for authorization. Below you will find information regarding the application process and rubric for schools proposing to apply to the Charter Commission .
If deemed eligible by the Tennessee Department of Education, an Achievement School District charter school may submit a letter of intent by October 15. Once a letter of intent has confirmed receipt, a completed application can be submitted and is due November 15. Both the letter of intent and application should be emailed to CharterSchool.Appeals@tn.gov.
- ASD Letter of Intent
- ASD Application
- ASD Rubric
- ASD Application Process Guidance Document
- ASD Application Decision History
Please reach out to CharterSchool.Appeals@tn.gov if you have any questions.
1. If an operator applies to the Charter Commission, are operators applying for the duration of the current agreement with the ASD or a new ten-year agreement?
a. Yes, operators will be applying for the remaining portion of their term. If no years remain on their agreement with the ASD, then the operator would be applying for a new ten-year term. After the ten-year term ends, operators would go through the renewal process with the Commission as outlined in Policy 3.600.
2. What are the avenues for ASD schools to get to the Charter Commission?
a. There are currently two avenues: Priority Exit Status which is designation that comes from the Department of Education and Commissioner Designation. Additionally, an operator can decide to apply to the home district if they choose not to apply to the Commission.
3. Timelines for completing: the parent petition, Charter Commission application, and applying to the local LEA may overlap—how does this impact an application to the Charter Commission?
a. Operators can submit a letter of intent to the Commission and ultimately not apply. Also, operators have an opportunity to apply to their home district first and appeal to the Commission if denied.
b. The Commission’s application/rubric is only for operators directly applying to the Commission. The TDOE’s application and rubric would be used for any operator applying to their local district.
4. As operators think about finding a location and the tight timeline for opening—what is the requirement about finding a facility? Is the home LEA required to lease back?
a.. Yes, according to statute the local district is required to lease back the facility during a 3-year grace period.
i. TCA 49-1-614(k)(2)(B) The ASD-authorized charter school may apply to the Tennessee public charter school commission for a new charter agreement with a term not to exceed the term of the initial ASD charter agreement. If the commission grants the ASD-authorized charter school a new charter agreement, then the commission may agree to the assignment of all rights and obligations of the ASD, including, but not limited to, the rights and obligations provided in subsection (f) relating to the use of school buildings and facilities, for the duration of the new charter agreement, and the charter school has the right to continue to use the LEA's school building for the duration of that charter agreement. Upon the expiration of the initial charter agreement with the commission, the charter school may apply to renew the charter agreement with the commission or apply to the LEA for a charter agreement.
5. Is there anything that precludes an operator from attempting the parent petition and also going through the Charter Commission application process if deemed eligible to apply?
a. If an operator completes both processes, the Charter Commission would plan to move forward with the application regardless of the parent petition results.
6. What is the bandwidth of the Charter Commission as it relates to LEA functions and school support?
a. The Charter Commission has a team that solely works on LEA duties and have hired additional staff for the growing district. We send a biweekly school-facing newsletter, complete annual site visits, and regularly receive feedback on how we can best support our schools. We also proactively reach out to the TDOE on behalf of our schools to advocate for grant related opportunities.
7. Operators understand that enrollment is different under the Commission. What kinds of lottery preference options might we be able to propose in our charter agreement in respects to guarantees? What are we able to articulate to the neighborhoods of the schools?
a. The TDOE certifies the lottery so this is a question best suited for the department.
8. If an authorizer has multiple schools, (one with ASD and the other school with the LEA) will both campuses go to the Charter Commission?
a. Only schools that apply and are approved by the Charter Commission will be recognized as authorized schools. At this time, there is no process to transfer a school currently authorized by a local district to the Commission.
9. What is the Charter Commission policy regarding Federal funds distributed at the school level?
a. The Charter Commission will allocate to schools and then roll those funds into one allocation. Schools get one large pot of funds and are given flexibility to spend that money as they see fit. Specifically, you can find the Commission's LEA policy 2100.
10. Does the Charter Commission audit school policies? How often?
a. Yes, the Charter Commission audits school policies annually.
Cornerstone Prep Denver
Libertas School of Memphis