Authorizers are entities approved by state legislatures to evaluate new charter school petitions and subsequently oversee the compliance, effectiveness, and viability of approved schools. Authorizers work to protect the interest of students by holding schools accountable to performance outcomes. They work to protect taxpayer dollars by holding schools accountable to operational and financial outcomes. And they work to support school board autonomy by refraining from dictating inputs or controlling school boards’ processes. Instead, they establish a consistent standard for performance outcomes while freeing charter school governing boards to manage their operations as needed, within the bounds of the law, to meet or exceed that standard.
Non-sectarian institutions of higher learning, school district governing boards, and the PCSC may authorize public charter schools in Idaho. As of 2018, 73% of the charter schools in the state are authorized by the PCSC.
Authorizers review new charter petitions, provide oversight for operating schools, and conduct charter renewal processes. They provide annual reports to schools and the public that outline each school’s performance outcomes, and they work to protect student and taxpayer interests while upholding the autonomy of public charter school boards.
The PCSC establishes standards of quality and evaluates new charter petitions (applications). Once a school is approved, the PCSC and the school execute a performance certificate that outlines the rights and duties of each party, as well as the performance outcome expectations.
Throughout each school’s five-year performance certificate term, the PCSC annually reviews each school’s performance against outcome-based quality standards, provides reports to the school and the public, and monitors the school’s compliance with rules and regulations.
At the end of each school’s five-year performance certificate term, the PCSC reviews data and collects contextual information. A school that does not meet established performance standards may be non-renewed or renewed with conditions intended to support the school’s focus on key areas in need of improvement.