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How to Start a Charter School

Ashwini Kulkarni Sule
The procedure for starting a charter school differs from that of a public school, due to the variations in the regulating laws.
Charter schools are specialized schools for average or below average performing students. They are regulated by a particular school district. Initially, charter schools are started as a part of existing school district before they can be run as a full-fledged charter schools. This is because starting a new charter school needs years of planning and implementation.

How to Start a Charter School?

Develop a Mission Statement

Developing a mission statement is important to get a clear vision of the ultimate mission of the charter school. Although, education forms the crux of this mission, there are several other factors that cannot be ignored.
These include, understanding what are the expectations of parent community, the kind of expertise required for the faculty members etc. This enables to fulfill the expectations of the targeted section of the society.

Expertise in All areas

Since, chartered schools are started with a certain mission, it is imperative that they are equipped with necessary expertise to carry out the mission. This includes expertise of staff, faculty members as well as the school board members. Expertise is mandatory at all personal levels. Similarly, all the state as well as district school laws must be strictly observed. All the regulations and requirements must be fulfilled meticulously.

Form a Committee

An administering or a governing body consisting of people having an expertise in various areas is to be formed. The committee must be capable of successfully implementing the ideas and beliefs of the charter school.
The committee should ideally comprise the representatives of all the sections that are involved in starting a charter school. These include members of state department, local school district officials, administration, faculty, politicians, concerned citizens, parents and even students.

Formulate Policies

The committee needs to formulate policies and devise techniques to implement them. The policies regarding building and maintenance of the school, discipline, admission of students, security issues, hiring of staff are of utmost significance.
The committee members may take a cue from other charter schools while formulating the policies. The policies may have to be reevaluated from time to time depending upon the problems encountered while actually running the school.

Gather Funds

This is the most important phase of starting a charter school. A separate committee can be formed that will look into the financial matters of the charter school. The main aim of this committee would be to obtain grants from the Federal Government and also apply for loans from private corporate firms. Also, the committee needs to explore the options for low interest loans.

Deal with Special Issues

Certain issues may arise while actually implementing a charter school. Such issues must be handled with special care. These issues are likely to arise when the entire public school is to be converted into a charter school. During such time, the infrastructure and staff is in place, but the approach of running the school has to be changed drastically. This can lead to certain administration issues.
Starting a charter school involves lots of money and efforts but if you have right people at right places, you can expect the things to go smoothly.