Our Practice

Charter Schools

Taylor Porter attorneys represent and advise charter schools, charter school boards, and charter school advocacy organizations in the emerging and developing, but yet challenging and complex field of charter school law.

More than 3 million students attend, and more than 129,000 teachers are employed at 6,900 charter schools nationwide. There are 44 states, including the District of Columbia, that have enacted a charter school law, and there is a total of $333 million in federal funding that has been dedicated to those schools, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. 

Charter schools are independently-operated public schools that operate under a contract with a charter school authorizer, typically a nonprofit, government agency, or university that holds them accountable to standards outlined in their charter. Louisiana’s Charter School Law was enacted in 1995 (Act 192), and since the law went into effect, 146 schools have been classified as charter schools with 84,400 students attending those schools.

Although charter schools are exempt from many of the requirements imposed by state and local boards of education, charter schools must comply with state laws governing public entities, including the Code of Ethics, Open Meetings Law, Local Government Budget Act, Public Records Act, and Public Bid Law, among others. Charter schools must also comply with policies set by their authorizer. Taylor Porter attorneys, therefore, represent and advise charter schools regarding board governance, ethics, and open-meetings, and work with charter school administrators to review and negotiate contracts and operating agreements with businesses, vendors and state and local education agencies.

Our additional practice area representation and experience in charter school law includes:

  • Charter school application and renewal process
  • Proper formation of a legal entity
  • Acquisition, construction, and equipping of facilities utilized by charter schools
  • Monitoring and analyzing federal, state and local laws and regulations that affect charter schools
  • State and federal civil litigation
  • Lobbying at the local and state level
  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Compliance
  • Open Meetings, Open Records, and Freedom of Information Act
  • Civil Rights Litigation and Constitutional Claims

In addition to following policies set forth in their charters, charter school administrators are often faced with a myriad of other legal concerns crossing over into other practice areas, and Taylor Porter’s charter school attorneys work with and consult with representatives from our multidisciplinary base of practice areas to ease and resolve those matters. These representative matters can include:

  • Education issues, including faculty, staff and student relationships, civil service, procurement, public financing contracts, property, contract confection and negotiation, campus records, research confidentiality, claims under Title VII, Title IX and the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, church/state relations and free speech issues, technology transfer and numerous other public law issues regarding elementary, secondary, and higher education.
  • Labor and Employment issues, and staffing concerns, including hirings, wage issues, overtime policies, dismissals, and working with administrators to develop manuals and handbooks, including affirmative action plans and sexual harassment policies and procedures, and drug-testing policies and procedures.
  • Taxation, financing and bonding issues, including charter school tax-exempt status, filings with the IRS, and private donations, bank loans, and tax credit, and bond opportunities.
  • Real estate, land use and facility-use arrangement issues, including negotiating of leases with property owners for commercial real estate and property
  • Construction issues for any new charter schools or renovations to existing charter schools, and working with general contractors on various contract concerns

In addition to practicing education law and representing our clients, Taylor Porter attorneys serve on boards for several schools and advocacy organizations. Taylor Porter is active in the community, giving back to the local school system. Taylor Porter is a community outreach partner with both Volunteers in Public Schools and the East Baton Rouge Parish School System, and has participated in several prior projects to assist area Baton Rouge schools.

In March, Taylor Porter, through its Diversity Committee's BUILD program and a partnership with VIPS, kicked off a
"Take the Lead" mentoring, reading, and leadership program for Glen Oaks Magnet High School in Baton Rouge. Over the next month, the "Take the Lead" program will guide high school students into becoming leaders and mentors through the reading and discussion of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, published by Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, and how the literature relates to the world today.

In February 2021, Taylor Porter participated in a
VIPS Partners in Education Roundtable Webinar - "Public Education: Then and Now, Is it Still the Path to Freedom?" The webinar, as part of a celebration of Black History Month and the continuation of the VIPS Partners in Education series, celebrated the achievements of African Americans, discussed the role education plays in the advancement of communities, and reflected on the history that African Americans endured to obtain an education, particularly in East Baton Rouge Parish. Last August, Taylor Porter participated in the "First Day Helpers" program to treat teachers and staff to breakfast at White Hills Elementary School in Baker. VIPS organizes the First Day Helpers program every year to welcome back teachers and school staff.

In 2019, Taylor Porter worked with VIPS and White Hills Elementary School for a community outreach project - “
Read for Success” - in which the school's fifth graders read five books in the months of September and October, and then visited the law firm for an end of the semester party, and a meet and greet with several of the firm's professionals who discussed their careers, education, and pathway to the workforce. 

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