A basic element of the chartered public school model is a nonprofit corporation founded by teachers, parents and community folks is granted a "charter" or "public franchise" to operate a public school by a state approved entity known as an "Authorizer."
In Minnesota, an authorizer may be a traditional school district, a non-sectarian non-profit organization, a college or university, or a new nonprofit created for the sole purpose of authorizing schools (known as single-purpose authorizers). Click Here for a current list of Minnesota Authorizers.
The role of an authorizer is to ensure that the schools it authorizes fulfill the purposes for chartered public schools and that the agreed upon terms of the charter contract, in order to safeguard quality educational opportunities for students, and maintain public trust and confidence.
1] To review applications for new schools, grade and site expansions of current schools, and determine whether to approve or deny the applications based on sound criteria and need,
2] To negotiate and execute performance contracts with the schools it authorizes,
3] To conduct ongoing monitoring and oversight of the school's academic, operational and financial performance commensurate with the school's circumstance during the term of the charter contract, and
4] To evaluate the academic, operational and financial performance of the school as defined in the contract prior to the end of the contract term to determine the renewal status or the contract, or termination of the charter.
All authorizers must demonstrate to the State of Minnesota their capacity and ability to serve as an authorizer before authorizing schools. Information about the eligibility and approval process for authorizers, authorizer responsibilities, funding, and performance evaluation:
In Minnesota, the performance of authorizers is required to be evaluated at least every five (5) years. Authorizers must also submit an Annual Performance Report, and an Annual Financial Income and Expenditure Report to the MN Department of Education.
The Association compiles and publishes an Annual Report on Authorizer Income & Expenditures based on the reports authorizers are required by law to submit to MDE.