General Questions About Public School Academies (Charter Schools)
What is a public school academy (PSA)?
A PSA is a state-supported public school. According to Section 380.504(4) of the Revised School Code, “A public school academy may include any grade up to grade 12 or any configuration of those grades, including kindergarten and early childhood education, as specified in its contract.”
Who may apply for a charter?
Any parent, group or entity may apply for a public school academy charter, which are governed by publicly-appointed boards.
May a PSA be selective in their admissions policy?
A PSA may not be selective. It may not screen out students based on disability, race, religion, sex, test scores, etc. It may predetermine the ages, grades, and number of students it will serve.
A random selection process must be used if the number of applicants exceeds the school’s enrollment capacity.
Does a PSA have to use certified teachers?
Certification requirements for PSA teachers are identical to those of local school district teachers. Special exceptions are made for a PSA that is operated by a state university or community college that may wish to use collegiate staff to teach PSA students (refer to Section 380.505).
May a PSA be religiously affiliated?
No. A PSA must maintain the separation between church and state. If a PSA is utilizing a building that has religious symbols present, they must be removed or covered.
May private schools become PSA’s?
Private schools may become PSA’s only if they are reconstituted as public entities and accept the duties and responsibilities of becoming a public school academy.
I have heard that there are federal charter school dollars to help start an academy. Is this true?
Yes. There are three possible grants available for new academies. Grants are awarded to the Public School Academy Program (PSAP) from the federal Public Charter Schools office. The PSAP office then makes this grant money available to those academies that are in their first 36 months as an academy. In Michigan, you must be “authorized” and contract elements received before the MDE/PSAP releases grant funds. The PSAP has set a total of $150,000 per grant.
This, of course, is contingent upon MDE receiving federal grant dollars. The federal statute that accompany the grant require strict and full adherence to the PCSP “single grant standard.” This “single grant” provision says that if you receive a grant under this “planning phase” you are eligible for up to an additional twenty-four months of continuation funding during the thirty-six (36) months of total allowable funding.