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Charter Schools

Charter Schools

Steps for Applying to Open a Charter School

Charter schools may be started by an individual or group of parents, community leaders, teachers, businesses, municipalities, community colleges, or other legal entities organized under the laws of the state.

  • Under s.1002.33, F.S., the district school board, in which the charter school is located, is the sponsor or authorizer. District staff provides support and monitors compliance of schools.
  • In Hillsborough County, the School Board of Hillsborough County is authorized to sponsor charter schools.
  • It is the responsibility of the charter school applicants to request technical assistance from the Florida Department of Education or the assigned designees (Charter Schools Office) of the School Board of Hillsborough County.
  • Acceptance of an application for review does not imply or ensure approval of the application.
  • Approval of an application does not authorize the operation of the charter school. Approval of an application authorizes the parties to negotiate a contract to operate the school.

The District's Potential Applicant Orientation was held on October 10, 2019 in Room 164 at the Instructional Services Center (ISC) located at 2920 North 40th Street, Tampa FL, 33605 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This orientation is designed to advise potential charter applicants of the application process aligned with Florida Statutes and includes tips on applying for a charter within Hillsborough County.

For technical assistance or to request a Potential Applicant Orientation packet, please contact the Charter Schools Office at 813-272-4049.

Please find information presented at the District's 2020 Potential Applicant Orientation below:

  • New Applicant Orientation Powerpoint 2020 (pdf)
  • F.S. 1002.33: Charter School State Statute

  • Applicant submits a Letter of Intent to Jenna Hodgens, General Director of Charter Schools, declaring the intent to submit a charter school application for the February 3rd deadline. Letter may include the intended name of the school, the name of board chair, the identified management company (if applicable), enrollment projections, grade configuration, educational program focus, and the location, if known. Notice of intent to apply is not required by statute but aides the review process for planning purposes.

    The applicant will deliver the application produced on the Model Florida Charter School Application (according to the Application Instructions) to the Charter Schools Office. Staff will assure application instruction requirements were adhered to and the application will be accepted for review.

    Model Applications and Evaluation Forms

    • Florida Charter School Application Evaluation Form (2019) - Word | PDF
    • Model Florida Charter School Application (2019) - Word | PDF
    • Florida Virtual Charter School Application Evaluation Instrument - Word | PDF
    • Model Florida Virtual Charter School Application - Word | PDF

    Model Florida Charter School Application Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    Applicants are invited to present their school proposal to the Application Review Team assigned to their application. This is an optional presentation opportunity for the applicant and review team to meet face-to-face, it is not a required part of the review process. A presentation is not required by statute.

    Following review of the application, an applicant interview is held with the applicant to clarify questions arising out of the review. Board members and persons contributing to the application are requested to attend. The interview is not required by statute.

    School Board Decision:
    The recommendation of the Superintendent will be voted on by the Hillsborough County School Board. *Timeline based on use of waiver as allowed by statute.

    Section 1002.33(6)(f)2., F.S., requires a charter school applicant to participate in training provided by the Department of Education after approval of an application but at least 30 calendar days before the first day of classes at the charter school.  Training is required for approved applicants only (or those pending approval or are in the process of an appeal).

    If you have not yet submitted an application, please do not register for this training.  However, we encourage you to explore the FDOE Charter School website for additional resources or contact FDOE if you have any questions.

    Post-approval trainings have not yet been scheduled for charter schools approved or pending approval to begin classes in fall 2020.

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