Charter school application process

School districts throughout the state receive charter school applications. The process for how to approach a charter school application is fairly regimented and dictated by law. The synopsis below will simplify the process. The requirements below are statutory, but check board policies, as they can alter some of time limits and information required. 

downloadable application chart (51kb This file is in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. Click here to download.) takes you through the steps required during the charter school application process.  


  • Apply - A charter group develops an application with all the information required by law. The application is submitted to the district.
  • Determine Completeness - Within 30 days of receipt of an application, the district must determine whether the application covers all required content.
  • Public Meeting - The school board holds a public hearing to discuss the proposed charter school. The purpose of the hearing is to receive public input on the proposed charter school. The hearing must be held within 60 days after receipt of the application.
  • Evaluate - The school board evaluates the application. The evaluation criteria are prescribed by law. The school board must accept or deny the application within 30 days of the public hearing.
  • Approve - If the school board approves the application, then a Charter Agreement is negotiated.
    • Negotiate - The school board and the charter group negotiate a Charter Agreement.
    • Deny - Notice of denial is sent to the charter group. The notice must contain suggestions for improvement. The charter group may resubmit the application.
      • Resubmit - The board must approve or deny the resubmitted proposal within 20 days after receiving it.


      The law recommends that charter groups consult with the school district before submitting an application. The proposal shall be submitted by the date identified by the district and be at least 180 days prior to the date the charter school wants to begin operation.

      Determine Completeness

      An applicant seeking to start a public charter school must submit a written proposal. The proposal must be submitted to the school district and the State Board of Education. The school district must notify the applicant about the completeness of the proposal within 30business days of receipt of the proposal. Proposals that inadequately address required components are not complete and may be returned to the applicant. (ORS 338.045(1); OAR 581-020-0301(1)). At a minimum, the proposal must: 

      • Identify the applicant,
      • State the school’s name and location,
      • State the term of the charter,
      • Describe the governance structure,
      • Describe the school’s philosophy and mission,
      • Describe distinctive learning and teaching techniques,
      • Describe the curriculum,
      • Describe the expected results of the curriculum,
      • Identify measuring and reporting that will evidence educational growth,
      • Project the enrollment,
      • Identify the target population and admission policies,
      • Include applicable laws and rules,
      • Include disciplinary standards and procedures,
      • Include a budget and financial plan,
      • Include a financial management system,
      • Include the proposed school calendar,
      • Describe proposed staff and required qualifications,
      • Include a beginning operating date,
      • Include arrangements for special education and related services,
      • Describe the procedure for community involvement,
      • Identify a plan for bonding and insuring,
      • Propose a plan for employee and student placement upon dissolution,
      • Describe the review and fiscal audit. (ORS 338.045(2)(a-x); OAR 581-021-0333(1)), and
      • Include arrangements for students and staff when a district is converting to charter status.

      Public Meeting

      Within 60 days after notification of a complete proposal, the school board must hold a public hearing about the provisions of the proposal. (ORS 338.055(1); OAR 581-020-0301(3)).


      The board’s evaluation assesses established criteria. The following criteria must be evaluated:

      • The degree of support from charter school teachers, parents and students,
      • The financial stability of the charter school, including the demonstrated ability to have a sound financial management system in place at the time the school begins operations, that is compatible with the sponsoring school's accounting system and complies with OAR 581-023-0035,
      • The applicant’s ability provide comprehensive instructional programs pursuant to the proposal,
      • The applicant’s ability to provide instructional programs to academically low-achieving students,
      • The proposal’s inclusion of required criteria set out above, and any extra requirements your district policy requires charter applications to include as well,
      • The school’s adverse impact on the quality of public education offered to students in the district,
      • The arrangements for special education and related services,
      • The alternative arrangements for students and employees who choose not to attend the charter school (ORS 338.055(2)(a-h), (3); OAR 581-020-0301(4)(a-h), (5); OAR 581-021-0333), and
      • The prior history, if any, of the applicant in operating a public charter school or in providing educational services.

      The school district board must approve or deny the proposal within 30 days after the public hearing.

      Approve and Negotiate

      If the proposal is approved, then the board must notify the charter group in a written notice. After notice of approval, the school board and the charter group negotiate a Charter Agreement. (ORS 338.055(3); OAR 581-020-0301(5)).

      A Charter Agreement is a contract between the school board and the charter school. It establishes the rights and obligations of both parties.

      Deny and Resubmit

      If the proposal is denied, then a written notice of denial must be sent to the applicant. The written notice must state the reasons for denying the proposal. If the district advises remedial measures for the applicant to follow, then the remedial measures must be stated in the writing. (ORS 338.055(3),(4); OAR 581-030-0301(5)).

      After denial, the applicant may resubmit a proposal. The resubmitted proposal must be sent to the school district and the State Board of Education. The resubmitted proposal should address: (1) the board’s reasons for denial and (2) the board’s suggested remedial measures. The board must take action on the re-submission within 20 days after receiving it. If the re-submission is denied, then the applicant can appeal the decision with the State Board of Education. (ORS 338.055(4); OAR 581-020-0301(6),(7),(8)).

      Charter schools frequently asked questions

      View resources related to:
      1. Charter schools
      2. Legal