One of the basic components of public charter schools is that they are granted a "charter" or "franchise" by an approved entity known as an "authorizer." In Minnesota, an authorizer may be a traditional school district, a traditional non-profit organization, a college or university, or a nonprofit organization created for the sole purpose of authorizing schools (these entities are known as single-purpose authorizers). All authorizers must demonstrate their capacity and ability to serve as a authorizer before authorizing schools.
The relationship between an authorizer and a school development group begins before the school is granted a charter. The granting of a charter by an authorizer enables the school developers to open and operate a charter school. The authorizer and school enter into a legally binding written charter contract that outlines the agreed upon goals and performance of the school. Throughout the course of the charter contract, the authorizer monitors and evaluates the performance of the school and, at the end of the contract, makes a decision on whether to renew the charter with the school.
Learn more about the various organizations and institutions eligible to authorize schools in Minnesota, the role and responsibilities of authorizers, how authorizers are funded, and how authorizing organizations are approved and evaluated by the Minnesota Department of Education.