Prior to starting the application process, all applicants must familiarize themselves with ICSB's Charter Application FAQ document. Then an applicant must determine which type of application it will submit. The ICSB has three different applications:
- An Application for New School Operators;
- An Application for Experienced Operators; or
- A Change in Authorizer Request Application.
An applicant group should file an Application for New School Operators if the group has not previously operated a charter school or is not planning to contract with an Education Service Provider (“ESP”) for education management services. Per IC 20-24-1-6.1, an ESP is defined as a “for profit education management organization, nonprofit charter management organization, school design provider, or any other partner entity with which a charter school intends to contract for educational design, implementation, or comprehensive management.”
The only time an applicant group who is contracting with an ESP should submit a New School Operator Application is if the ESP has never provided educational design, implementation, or comprehensive management services anywhere in the United States (e.g., it is a newly formed entity). Note that the fact that a member of the proposed governing body has formerly served on the board of another charter school does not disqualify an applicant group from applying as a New Operator.
An applicant group should file an Application for Experienced Operators if either: (a) the group has previously operated a charter school or a network of charter schools; or (b) the group has not previously operated a charter school but intends to contract with an ESP. The Application for Experienced Operators focuses on an evaluation of the existing school or schools currently managed by the applicant group or ESP, specifically academic and financial performance, and the capacity of the existing governing board to replicate.
An applicant group should file a Change in Authorizer Application if it is the governing body of an existing charter school currently not authorized by the ICSB. There are two types of change in authorizer requests: 1) requests from schools in good standing who have not received a notice of termination or nonrenewal of a charter agreement by the charter school’s current authorizer; and 2) requests following notice of termination or nonrenewal of a charter agreement by the charter school’s current authorizer. Applicants seeking to change Authorizers please contact Charterfirstname.lastname@example.org.
- STEP 1: Letter of Intent
All applicants seeking to submit a proposal during an application cycle are required first to submit a non-binding Letter of Intent (“LOI”) indicating their interest in applying to the ICSB. Information contained within the LOI will be utilized for planning purposes by the ICSB, and the legal name of the applicant group will be posted on the ICSB website. The LOI must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EST by the LOI deadline using the following email address: Charteremail@example.com. Please refer to the ICSB Calendar for relevant dates and times. Applicants seeking to submit a proposal are required to use the templates provided below. IMPORTANT: Please download and open files in Acrobat prior to typing into the documents.
Letter of Intent Templates
- STEP 2: Application Submission and Evaluation
Once the LOI deadline has passed, ICSB staff will contact the applicant groups with information on how to submit a complete application. All applicants that submit a fully completed LOI by the LOI deadline are eligible to submit an application during the applicable cycle. Please note that all submissions are final. All complete application submissions will be posted on the ICSB website.
An evaluation team, consisting of ICSB staff and independent evaluators with expertise on the operation of successful charter schools, conducts an assessment of the merits of the Application based on three primary areas of plan development, including, but not limited to:
Evidence of Capacity: Evidence that the governing board possesses the wide range of knowledge, skills, and commitment needed to actively and effectively oversee a successful charter school, including monitoring and holding accountable an ESP, if applicable. Appropriate qualifications of the school’s leadership/management team.
Education Plan: Evidence that the education plan, including the curriculum, instructional practices and use of student assessments, is rigorous, data-driven, reflects the needs of the school’s target population, and will ensure all students meet or exceed the expectations of Indiana’s College and Career Ready Academic Standards. A demonstrated understanding of – and capacity to fulfill – state and federal obligations andrequirements pertaining to students with disabilities, english language learners, and other special student populations.
Business Plan: Evidence of need and/or demand for the proposed school; evidence of community engagement, including local partnerships; a solid plan to market, recruit, and enroll students, a facility and staffing plan; and a complete, realistic, and viable start-up and 5-year operating budget that aligsn with the educational and organizational plans described in the Application.
In the case of experienced operators, or applicants proposing to contract with an ESP, the application process includes due diligence to assess the applicant’s or ESP’s record of performance and financial and operational capacity to replicate or expand. Due diligence includes reference checks with other authorizers and state educational agencies, if appropriate.
- STEP 3: Capacity Interview
After ICSB staff and external experts evaluate the full applications, applicant groups that submit complete applications will be interviewed to explore questions and concerns raised by the applications and to assess founding team capacity to implement the proposed program effectively. Interviews will be scheduled following the application deadline. Applicants will be required to provide a list of attendees and their role prior to the interview.
ICSB staff reserves the right to ask for additional information to clarify and/or support specific answers given in the capacity interview. The requested information must be submitted within five business days from the time of the request. No extensions will be granted.
- STEP 4: Public Hearing
As required by Indiana law, a public hearing will be held to allow for comments from community members about full application submissions. The ICSB hosts regional public hearings, which are attended by ICSB staff and Board members. Hearings are held within either the county or the school corporation where the proposed charter school would be located. Prior to the public hearings, community members may download Full Application submissions from the ICSB website. Copies of Full Applications will not be distributed at public hearings.
The purpose of the public hearing is for ICSB representatives to receive comments from community members about the potential impact of the proposed charter school(s) upon the community. The hearing is not a question and answer session with ICSB representatives or applicant groups.
At the public hearing, an applicant representative is offered the option to provide a brief overview of their proposal. Members of the public are invited to make comments to ICSB representatives about the application. All individuals who wish to make comments during the hearing must sign in prior to the start of the hearing. Public comments are limited to three (3) minutes, but may be shortened based on the number of individuals signed up.
In addition to, or in lieu of, attending public hearings, community members may submit public comments via email to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that all emails are subject to Indiana's Public Access Laws including public records requests. Those submitting public comment are asked to provide their name, the name of the proposed charter school that the comment regards as well as the substantive comment. All public comments will be transcribed into a singular document and given to Indiana Charter School Board Members.
- STEP 5: Public Board Meeting
Based on the submitted application, capacity interview and public comment(s), ICSB staff creates a recommendation for Indiana Charter School Board Members. At least one day prior to the ICSB Board Meeting, ICSB staff will contact the designated representative for each applicant group to inform them of the staff recommendation for the proposed school. At this time, the applicant group may choose to “withdraw” its application from consideration which means that, while ICSB board members have been provided with a copy of the staff recommendation for the school, no discussion or vote will occur with respect to the application. Applicants who withdraw because the staff recommendation is declination or who are declined by the ICSB board are free to reapply in a later application cycle or to another authorizer.
During the meeting, ICSB board members conduct a question and answer session with each applicant group, hear ICSB staff recommendations, and hold individual votes whether to approve or decline each application. Following the meeting, all decisions of the ICSB board are posted on the ICSB website. The ICSB meeting is open to the public and streamed live over the internet.