Charter Schools and School Innovation

Charter schools and other innovative new public and private schools are cropping up across the U.S. These public elementary or secondary schools are answering a call from parents for educational options for their children. Barnes & Thornburg attorneys have experience in education law and in charter school compliance, and have assisted many charter schools with the legal services necessary for getting students and teachers in the classroom.

The attorneys in Barnes & Thornburg’s Charter Schools and School Innovation Practice Group advise school operators and education service providers at each step in the process. We are experienced in helping operators establish new schools around the country.

We advise on preparing and filing an application for a charter and on compliance with state and local regulators. We assist clients with filing for nonprofit status, completing incorporation documents and negotiating financing and leases. Clients also turn to us for guidance on complying with authorizers’ requirements. We also work with authorizers on developing their documentation and processes related to charter schools.

Additionally, we are assisting schools in creating and developing partnerships to serve the educational needs of students. In Indiana, for example, we are assisting a number of clients to negotiate School Innovation Network Agreements with Indiana’s public schools.

We have experience helping charter schools with:

  • Preparing board governance documents 
  • Securing state and federal 501(c)(3) status 
  • Tax law questions and filings 
  • Negotiating a charter with the authorizer 
  • Negotiating a management agreement 
  • Real estate matters 
  • Facility financing 
  • Grant application review and implementation 
  • Labor and employment matters 
  • Litigation matters 
  • Public records requests and open meetings 
  • General school law assistance 
  • School funding questions and assistance 
  • Working with departments of education and regulators 
  • Working with charter authorizers 
  • School safety matters 
  • Development of school handbooks 
  • Serving as general counsel for charter schools

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