Frequently Asked Questions
1. If an operator applies to the Charter Commission, are operators applying for the duration of the current agreement?
a. Yes, operators will be applying for the remaining portion of their term. After the term ends, operators would go through the renewal process.
2. Once authorized by the Commission, what data will the Commission review in a renewal?
a. We will take a holistic view of the available data and review the application based on the school’s specific situation.
3. What are the avenues for ASD schools to get to the Charter Commission?
a. Two avenues: Priority Exit Status and Commissioner Designation.
Additionally, an operator can decide to apply to the home district if they choose not to apply to the Commission.
4. The timelines for completing the parent petition, applying to the Charter Commission, and applying to the home district 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.
5. 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. Our goal is to support you and to ensure a smooth transition so that normal operation continues as much as possible.
b. Yes, according to statute they are 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.
6. 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.
7. 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 are hiring 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. Does the Charter Commission have any openness to operators who would like to attempt collective engagement for contracts and services?
a. We have engaged with the home district on behalf of operators on a variety of topics and would work with operators to support with services as needed.
11. The use of the School-Wide Pool for federal funds is interesting. Is the Charter Commission bundling monies at a school level and then distributing?
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. Allocation is driven by school-level counts.
12. Does the Charter Commission audit school policies? How often?
a. Yes, the Charter Commission audits school policies annually.