The hot topic in my world lately has been charter school waivers. Waivers are the technical means by which charter schools operate. For example, a charter school may request waiver from using only licensed teachers. Charter schools, with this waiver, have the flexibility to hire someone who is new to the state or doesn't hold a valid license.
There are two types of waivers for charter schools: delegatory and substantive. Delegatory waivers are the statutes written for local boards of education and the charter school wants to assume the power or authority at their level instead. A good example of this is the authority to set the school calendar. The charter school board determines their calendar, but still meet the minimum number of hours requirement in the statute. So they're doing the same thing a local board of education would do, just at the charter school level.
The other type of waiver is substantive. This is when the charter school does something completely different. In these situations, the charter school must clearly define their replacement plan, why they need this particular waiver and how it will be evaluated. Because charter schools employ their own staff, many of the state laws pertaining to employment don't suit the charter school model. In fact, the teacher employment act is a good example of this and many of these statutes are on the list of waivers that can be automatically waived by the State Board of Education.
A charter school requests waiver from state statutes and rules via their authorizer (school district or the Charter School Institute). The State Board grants waivers to the district on behalf of the charter school. It is the responsibility of the authorizer to ensure the charter school is in compliance with the laws, even if they waive some of them. Often this is done through the contract, but accountability is also through periodic renewal of the charter, annual Accreditation, onsite visits and other means.
In Colorado, there are currently 13 statutes that the State Board will automatically waive, upon request. The CDE keeps track of which waivers are requested and granted and that information is available online.
Charter school applications, and renewal applications, are required to include a request for waivers, which includes a rationale, replacement plan and expected outcome. In addition to requesting waiver from state law and state board rules, the charter school may request waiver from school district policies. Again, some of the district policies aren't suited to charter schools and instead pertain only to the school district. This would include policies related to the teacher collective bargaining agreement.