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Charter Schools

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In May 2021, Governor Reynolds signed two bills into law that affect the establishment and operations of new charter schools in Iowa. House File (HF) 813 establishes, and HF 847 amends, procedures for new charter schools effective July 1, 2021, under Iowa Code chapter 256E. A charter school may be established by either a district school board’s founding group (i.e., School Board-State Board Model) or an independent founding group (i.e., Founding Group-State Board Model). Iowa Administrative Code 281-19 gives further guidance and direction for the establishment, general operating powers and duties, funding, performance, and oversight of charter
schools.

Existing charter schools (those established prior to July 1, 2021) are not subject to the new laws but will continue to operate under the former regulations for charter schools. While chapter 256F remains in effect for charter schools established prior to July 2021, no additional charter schools may be established under 256F.

Submitted Application for the 2023-24 School Year

The following application was received before the Nov. 1, 2022 deadline with a potential opening in the fall of 2023. The Iowa State Board of Education will consider this application for approval, approval with conditions or denial during the Jan. 12, 2023 board meeting. In accordance with Iowa Administrative Code 281-19.2(2), the state board of education shall be the only authorizer of charter schools under this chapter.

Horizon Science Academy Des Moines Charter School Application

Applications and Guidance

School Board-State Board Model Application and Guidance

This application is to only be submitted by a local school board founding group wishing to establish and operate a School Board-State Board model charter school within and as part of the school district. For an application to be reviewed, the local school board founding group must complete and submit the application form with all its required attachments.

For school years on or after the school year beginning on July 1, 2023, applications submitted to the Iowa Department of Education on or before Nov. 1 of the preceding school year shall be considered for approval for the establishment of the charter school for the next school year.

Application Guidance to Create a School Board-State Board Model Charter School

Charter School Application: School Board-State Board Model

Founding Group-State Board Model Application and Guidance

This application is to only be submitted by an independent founding group wishing to establish and operate a Founding Group-State Board model charter school independently from the school district. For an application to be reviewed, the independent founding group must complete and submit the application form with all its required attachments.

For school years on or after the school year beginning on July 1, 2023, applications submitted to the Iowa Department of Education on or before November 1 of the preceding school year shall be considered for approval for the establishment of the charter school for the next school year.

Application Guidance to Create a Founding Group-State Board Model Charter School

Charter School Application: Founding Group-State Board Model

Reports to the Legislature

Charter Schools and Innovation Zone School Report

Charter Schools Program Finding and Recommendation Report

Authorized Charter Schools Prior to July 1, 2021

Storm Lake / Iowa Central / Buena Vista Early College Charter High School (Grades 9-12)
Storm Lake Community School District
P.O. Box 638
Storm Lake, Iowa 50588-0638
Phone: 712-732-8065 ext. 2116
https://www.storm-lake.k12.ia.us/

Northeast Iowa Charter High School (Grades 9-12)
West Central Community School District
P.O. Box 54
Maynard, Iowa 50655-0054
Phone: 563-637-2283
https://www.w-central.k12.ia.us/

Authorized Charter Schools After July 1, 2021

Choice Charter School (Grades 9-12)
P.O. Box 193
Union, Iowa 50258
Phone: 515-850-2545
https://choicecharterschool.org/

Hamburg Charter High School (Grades 9-12)
Hamburg Community School District
309 S Street
Hamburg, Iowa 51640
Phone: 712-382-201
https://www.hamburgcsd.org/

Charter School Finance