Charter schools received such a name by creating a charter of subject matter that they were willing to teach. If you want to start a charter school there are few things you must know. First is it legal in your state? Is there a need for such a school? Do you have qualified teachers to teach the subject matter in your school? Lastly where would your pupils come from? These are your main obstacles when starting a charter school. Of course overcoming state regulations may hinder your chances of ever getting a charter school off the ground unless of course your state has bought into the idea of the value of charter schools.
When starting a charter school check out other states that have such schools. Learn from the mistakes they have made, and their successes as well. Charter schools can be the answer to the problems students have in the public system today, but if not set up properly a charter school could do more harm than good. Find out what is needed and where students are failing the most and create your charter around that type of curriculum. Make the classes informative, but make them fun so the kids want to be there. The fact is if a student is having fun in a classroom they are more likely to learn what they are being taught, and retain it longer. They are also more likely to stick it out rather than drop out.
The down falls to a charter school are many, and because of this the decision to start a charter school of any kind should take the short falls into consideration. First there is no athletics involved in a charter school, so you would have no sports of any kind. Your subject matter is specific to the charter, so there is no creating new curriculum unless of course you re-write your charter. You may find the pay and benefits are not enough to keep good quality teachers, however the state does have to pay per student to the charter school just as if it were a public school. Another problem you may run into is a building suited for your school, it is true the state has to pay per student, but it does not have to pay for a building as it would if it were a public school. This brings me to the greatest hurdle of them all, enlisting enough kids to make it worth the effort and the time involved in teaching the subject matter.
The idea of a charter school would be one that is geared toward specific curriculum such as technology, or business, or maybe just math. If this is done properly, you could minimize your expenses by only having to have one or two staff people on board to teach such classes providing there are enough students to justify the staff members. Administration would have to play a double or even a triple role to keep the charter school going in the direction of growth. As an administrator you would be principal, superintendent, and teacher all rolled up into one, and you may just have to be the business manager as well.
Your first step to start your charter school would be to find out if the state allow for charter schools. File a charter with the state board of education as to your type of school. I am sure there is some kind of licensing procedure you would have to go through to create your charter and license your school. All teachers would have to be certified in the subject areas you would be teaching, and you would need to show some sort of plan as to how you will proceed. This would be much like a business plan, but less in depth. You would also have to show your curriculum as it is written, not so much your approach to teaching it, but what you would be teaching. Once your charter is approved and you have found a building for your school your next step would be the hiring of teachers. This should be done on a part time basis first. Later when you have been operating for a while and you can predict numbers of students you may then want to proceed on a somewhat more permanent basis with your teachers. You will need to create a budget every year and calculate inventory of everything you use, and may use the following year. You may even want to create a 3 year and 5 year business and marketing plan just to have some kind of goal to shoot for and to keep you on track. Run it like a business and it will be less hassles for you and less confusing for the state. In the long run you may just find the success so many have been looking for.
Charter schools are not the easiest thing to keep afloat, especially in these recessive times, but they could be very beneficial to your students, parents, and the entire community if created properly and operated in a manner beyond that of a public school system. Just remember charter schools are special schools meant for students that do not fit the normal realm of the traditional education system. They need to be treated in a way that allows them to learn in their own special way. You may just find that your entire teaching paradigm may just have to be completely modified or changed to teach in such a school.