THE PROCESS

New Schools for Alabama is first and foremost a charter school support organization. We provide expert technical assistance to charter schools throughout the application process to ensure that promising applicants gain approval and are able to implement their school models for the students who need them most. 

But the process of opening a charter school is far more complex than simply submitting a compelling application. The following list represents—at a minimum—the steps we believe aspiring charter founders must complete (not necessarily in sequential order): 

01

Draft a 1-page concept paper crystalizing your mission and educational model.

02

Obtain federal 501(c)3 nonprofit status for your organization.

03

Identify a geographic location.

04

Find a building (not required, but encouraged).

05

Understand your funding (state, local, federal, and philanthropic).

We strongly encourage applicants to reach out early and often in the process. Thinking about launching a charter school? 

TYPES OF CHARTER SCHOOLS

The School Choice and Student Opportunity Act of 2015 allows for the creation of two distinct types of charter schools in Alabama: startup charter schools and conversion charter schools.

Startup charters.

A startup charter school is a new public school established by a nonprofit organization to operate independently from any traditional school districts.

Conversion charters.

A conversion charter school is one in which a traditional district identifies one of its existing schools to be converted into a charter school that will operate with an independent board but will remain a district school.

STARTUP APPLICATION TIMELINE

Groups applying to open a charter school in a district that has registered as an authorizer must first apply to the district. Should the district deny the application, applicants can appeal to the Alabama Public Charter School Commission (APCSC). The decision of the APCSC is final. Groups applying to open in a district that has not registered as an authorizer must apply directly to the APCSC. Each application timeline is outlined below. Note that there are two opportunities (cycles) each year to apply.

Applications to open Fall 2021.

Local district applications.

CYCLE 1

NOV. 1

Authorizer releases RFP for applications.

NOV. 30

Applications due.

JAN. 27

Decisions due from authorizer.

CYCLE 2*

JAN. 14

Authorizer releases RFP for applications.

MAR. 13

Applications due.

MAY. 12

Decisions due from authorizer.

*Districts may choose to issue 2nd cycle.

Commision applications.

CYCLE 1

SEPT. 2

Application available.

NOV. 1

Official application released.

DEC. 17

Applications due to APCSC.

FEB. 11

Decisions due from APCSC.

CYCLE 2

JAN. 14

Application available.

MAR. 13

Applications due to APCSC.

MAY. 12

Decisions due from APCSC.

Appeals.

STEP 1

Authorizers submit decisions to APCSC within 30 days of denying application.

STEP 2

Appeal can be filed by applicants.

STEP 3

Appealing party submits materials to APCSC.

STEP 4

APCSC notifies authorizer of appeal; authorizer appoints 11th member to APCSC.

STEP 5

APCSC schedules open meeting to hear appeal.

STEP 6

Consideration of appeal.

For more application details visit the ALSDE website.

Have questions? Get in touch.