Board and Governance

California's diverse and energetic charter school movement is comprised of a broad range of charter school types, organizational and programmatic models, and governance and funding structures. State and Federal laws and regulations that allow for that diversity can also lead to some lack of clarity, especially as charter schools are concurrently governed by corporate not for profit laws and are public entities under Government and Education Codes.

It is critical that all charter schools fully understand and commit to the responsibilities, transparency and stewardship required to operate public schools, to receive and administer public monies, and to prove themselves deserving of the public trust. This section is intended to help charter leaders understand their various legal roles and responsibilities when governing a charter school and to provide samples of sound board policies.

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Information and Resources on Board and Governance

  • Incorporating Your Charter School
    An overview of the process for incorporating a charter school, including information on how to obtain tax exempt status
  • Charter School Governance
    Overview of the state and federal laws, including conflict of interest laws and criminal statutes, impacting the governance of charter schools and regulating the conduct of charter school board members and high-level employees
  • Charter School Autonomy
    One of the earliest and most important crossroads in charter school development is determining to what degree, and for what purposes, a charter school will be "dependent" upon its authorizer or "independent" of its authorizer.
  • Understanding the Brown Act
    Brief overview of the purpose of the Ralph M. Brown Act, which addresses the balance between public access to meetings of legislative bodies and the need for confidentiality by legislative bodies Recent California legislation clarified that nonprofit corporation boards (including those for charter schools) cannot include a "non-voting" member.
  • Resource Guide for Improving School Climate and Discipline Resource guide to assist states, school districts, charter school operators, school staff, parents, students, and other stakeholders who are seeking to develop school climate and school discipline policies and practices that are both locally tailored and grounded in recognized promising practices and research.
  • Decision-Making Matrix
    Sample charter school decision-making matrix defining the role of each member of the YES community with regard to decisions and policies of the school.

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