Charter School Authorization

Establishing a Public Charter School

Proposed charter applications will be reviewed at a regularly scheduled State Board of Education meeting twice per year, January and June or the next meeting with a quorum.

There are three (3) entities that are eligible to submit an application to establish a new public charter school:

  1. A nonprofit organization including, but not limited to, a college, university, museum, service club, or similar entity
  2. A group of 2 or more NH certified teachers
  3. A group of 10 or more parents

Proposed charter schools can be authorized two ways in New Hampshire: through a local authorization, or directly through the State Board of Education.

Comparison between local and state board authorization. Detailed explanation below.

Local Authorization

Local Authorization is where an existing school district directly supports the establishment of the charter school. Locally authorized charter schools receive approval to open from the local legislative body (voters or city council), and go through the following process:

  1. Proposed applications to establish a charter school are submitted to the prospective school board where the school intends to be located. Upon review, the local school board grants or denies the application.
  2. The proposed application is then forwarded by the local school, to the NH State Board of Education for authorization to establish a charter school.
  3. Upon receiving charter authorization from the State Board of Education, the local school board submits a warrant article to the school district legislative body for ratification or denial to fund the school.
  4. Funding for the new charter school is received directly from the school district. The amount of funding determined by an agreed upon contract between the charter school and the local school board.

State Board Authorization

Unlike Local Authorizations, State Board Authorization is where the proposed application is submitted directly to the State Board of Education, and goes through the following process:

  1. The Department of Education will acknowledge receipt of the application and notify the applicant of any missing information within 10 business days of the initial filing. The application will then be reviewed for State Board approval within 60 days after receipt of a completed application.
  2. A legal consultant, designated by the Office of Charter Schools, shall review the application to ensure compliance with NH Chapter 194-B, Chartered Public Schools, and Administrative Rules for Education, PART Ed 318, Chartered Public Schools.
  3. As part of the review process, the applicant will be provided with written comments, including suggested amendments or modifications if the Department determines they are needed. A committee of peers shall also evaluate the application, to determine the quality of the proposed school using criteria outlined in the evaluation scoring guide. The Summary of Charter School Criteria shall also be used as a guide. The applicant will then provide a written response.
  4. After the review process, the Department will inform the applicant in writing when they shall meet with the Commissioner of Education concerning the application to establish a charter school.
  5. Finally, the application is then submitted to the State Board of Education. The Charter Development Team will appear before the Board, where the Board will make a determination on approval or denial of the charter application.

Requirements for Submitting an Application

  • An applicant seeking State Board approval for a charter school would first submit a letter of intent to submit.
  • Applications should not exceed 50 pages; not including appendices (i.e., letters of support, proposed five-year budget). Letters of support are strongly encouraged.
  • Applications should follow the following format:
    • Table of contents
    • One-inch margins
    • 11-point font
    • All pages numbered
  • Applicants should submit an original copy, three (3) paper copies, and an electronic copy of the application to the Department for review.
  • An application cover sheet should also be included.
  • Please see the List of Requirements for Submitting an Application under Ed 318.08 for a complete list of additional submission requirements.

Tips for Submitting a Charter School Application