Frequently Asked Questions

What is a public school academy?

A PSA is a state supported public school. A PSA may include grades K-12 or any combination of those grades.

What law governs the establishment and operation of a PSA?

The Revised School Code, 1995 Public Act 291, Part 6A.

Is a PSA considered a local school district?

"Sec. 501. (1) A public school academy is a public school under section 2 of article VIII of the state constitution of 1963, is a school district for the purposes of section 11 of article IX of the state constitution of 1963 and for the purposes of section 1225, and is subject to the leadership and general supervision of the state board over all public education under section 3 of article VIII of the state constitution of 1963. A public school academy is a body corporate and is a governmental agency. The powers granted to a public school academy under this part constitute the performance of essential public purposes and governmental functions of this state."

For the purpose of state aid and federal funding, a PSA is considered a local district. For the purpose of the Revised School Code and federal mandates, a PSA is also considered a public school building.

What does the term "authorizing body" mean?

An authorizing body is a public educational institution that has been granted the power to issue contracts to those interested in establishing and operating a PSA. Authorizing bodies include boards of:

  • public state universities,
  • intermediate school districts,
  • community colleges, and
  • local school districts operating grades K-12.

What are the major responsibilities of an authorizing body?

  • To thoroughly review the applicant's educational plan. The plan must address the educational needs of the students, curriculum goals and objectives, teaching methods, and student assessment.
  • To determine if all fire, safety, and health codes are met.
  • To review and approve the PSA bylaws.
  • To set and enforce the terms of the authorizing contract.
  • To recommend PSA status to the State Board of Education within ten days of granting an applicant a contract.
  • Continuously monitor the PSA for compliance with all state and federal regulations.
  • Ensure the school's board of directors operates with high standards and in good faith on behalf of the school.

May a PSA be selective in their admissions policy?

"Sec. 504. (2) A public school academy shall not charge tuition and shall not discriminate in its pupil admissions policies or practices on the basis of intellectual or athletic ability, measures of achievement or aptitude, status as a handicapped person, or any other basis that would be illegal if used by a school district. However, a public school academy may limit admission to pupils who are within a particular range of age or grade level or on any other basis that would be legal if used by a school district."

Must a PSA use certified teachers?

Certification requirements for PSA teachers are identical to those of local school district teachers. Special exceptions are made for a PSA that is operated by a state university or community college that may wish to use collegiate staff to teach PSA students.

May a PSA be religiously affiliated?

No. A PSA must maintain the separation between church and state.

How is a PSA funded?

A PSA is funded through the State School Aid Act. A PSA receives funding through the per pupil base foundation. By law, this amount may not exceed the per-pupil base foundation received by the local school district where the PSA is geographically located.

Do local public school districts have the responsibility for transporting PSA students to and from school?

No. The transportation of students is the responsibility of the PSA.

If a student voluntarily leaves a PSA must the student=s resident school district enroll the student?

Yes, the only exception is in the case of an expulsion. Expulsions should be handled on an individual basis.

If a student voluntarily leaves a local school district must a PSA enroll the student?

Yes, the only exceptions are when a PSA has reached their enrollment capacity or in the case of an expulsion. Expulsions should be handled on an individual basis.

Do PSAs offer special education?

Charter public schools are required to offer services to students with special needs and may operate the special education program or service, contract with another public education entity, and/or contract with the outside companies for the provision of instructional services.

How are PSAs different from traditional public schools?

Charter public schools are independent schools districts with autonomy in choosing curriculum, teaching styles and missions. Charter public schools receive increased autonomy in exchange for stricter accountability to a variety of sources including the authorizing body that sponsors them, the parents that choose them, and the public that funds them.