The authorization of New Mexico charter schools is governed by the Charter Schools Act, Chapter 22, Article 8B of the New Mexico Statutes Annotated (NMSA) 1978. NMSA 22-8B-5.3(H) requires all chartering authorities to “develop and maintain chartering policies and practices consistent with nationally recognized principles and standards for quality charter authorizing in all major areas of authorizing.”
As the authorizer of state charter schools, the Public Education Commission (PEC) has developed policies and processes in each area of the charter school cycle. Section 6.2.9 of the New Mexico Administrative Code (NMAC) governs the PEC’s processes regarding the schools it authorizes.
The charter school cycle begins with an application to open a new charter school. The application is submitted to an authorizer, either the PEC or a school district.
If a charter application is approved by the PEC, the proposed school enters its implementation year or planning year. During which time the school team completes a checklist of required steps before the authorizer approves the school to open.
The contract is for a maximum of five years but can be for fewer years at the discretion of the authorizer. The contract includes a performance framework by which the school is evaluated during its contract term.
If a school’s governing board wishes to amend the terms of the contract during the contract term, it must submit an amendment request found on the amendments and notifications page. Notifications are to inform the PEC of changes in key personnel or other changes that are not material terms of the contract.
MONITORING AND SUPPORT
The PED Charter Schools Division provides staff support to the PEC, which includes the annual monitoring of all PEC-chartered schools. Schools are evaluated according to the performance framework in their contracts, and the CSD provides an annual report that is posted on the State Charter School Contracts and Annual Reports web page.
The Charter Schools Division (CSD) also provides training and technical assistance to charter schools, including statutorily mandated training for governing boards of all charter schools (district as well as state), trainings to support new school applicants, schools in their implementation year, and schools seeking to renew their charter contract. 126.96.36.199-13 NMAC governs the process for the annual site visit and annual report, and any corrective action require as a result.
During the final year of its contract, the school submits a renewal application to its authorizer (or to a different authorizer). If the application is approved, the school signs a new contract with the authorizer. 188.8.131.52 NMAC establishes the renewal process for schools applying for renewal with the PEC.