Public Charter Schools

Senate Bill 75, signed into law by Governor Ehrlich, provides for public charter schools in Maryland. Public school staff, parents or guardians of public school students, nonsectarian, nonprofit entities, or nonsectarian institutions of higher education in the State can apply to establish a public charter school.

Private, parochial, or home schools are not eligible to become a public charter school. Public charter schools must be nonsectarian and open to all students on a space-available basis. Public charter schools cannot discriminate in their enrollment policies or charge tuition to students and must comply with all applicable health and safety laws.

A public charter school must comply with the provisions of law and regulations governing other public schools. A public charter school may seek a waiver of these requirements through an appeal to the State Board. A waiver may not be granted relating to audit requirements, student assessments, or health, safety and civil rights.

Charters may not be granted to schools whose operation would be inconsistent with any public policy initiative, court order, or federal improvement plan governing special education that is applicable to the State.

The State Board must provide technical assistance to the operators of a public charter school to help the school meet the requirements of federal and State laws. Professional staff members of a public charter school must hold the appropriate Maryland certification. Public charter school employees remain public school employees.

If a collective bargaining agreement is already in existence in the county where a public charter school is located, the employee organization and the public charter school may mutually agree to negotiate amendments to the existing agreement to address the needs of the particular public charter school.

Additional information starting a public charter school in Carroll County is available from the Office of Research and Accountability.