3 Reasons It’s Vital for a Charter School to Have Legal Representation

Charter schools are increasingly prevalent in the United States, and specifically the New York area, for many reasons. If you have just yourself in the process of opening such a school or have come to a position of responsibility in such a school, you may have many questions. 

A few of these questions probably revolve around the legal aspects of a charter school. Does a charter school require a legal team of legal representation? What’s the legal process required to open a charter school? What about maintaining the legal status of a charter school? 

According to a small law firm in NYC, “charter schools face a myriad of legal issues that call for the involvement of lawyers with a combination of legal skills.” This is true on multiple levels. 

Regarding Property

A big part of being successful as a charter school is having and maintaining a good location, and being able to pay for this location. This probably means leasing a property that has potential financially and for students. And it means getting a good rate. 

It is also important because, if a charter school is successful, a general goal should be to eventually purchase said property, reducing monthly payments and costs. This long term goal is also important to think about when arranging the initial lease agreement. 

Legal counsel can walk you and your school through this process, help with the load of paperwork, and make sure that you find a competitive option both for the present and future situations. 

Applying for, Receiving, and Maintaining a Nonprofit 501(c)(3) Tax Status

One of the most important early steps of opening any charter school is applying for and receiving 501(c)(3) status under federal tax law. This requires a strong understanding of nonprofit law and obtaining tax-exempt status. 

Once the status as a nonprofit has been received, it must also be maintained, and the proper yearly paperwork must be filled. This requires a certain level of financing knowledge and handling, which is best done by a professional. 

Proper representation can walk you through the complicated 501(c)(3) process in New York State. And they can help you with the paperwork every year during the tax filing process. 

Development and Implementation of Procedures and Policies

Legally, charter schools require a fair number of school procedures and policies to maintain their charter status, as well as to operate effectively as a school. The most basic of these is their application and eventual renewals as a charter school to the Board of Regents. 

However, this includes many other important forms that need to be created by a charter school. They include but are not limited to, employee conduct handbooks, student conduct codes, grievance, and release forms, etc. 

A lawyer can walk you through the process on all of these forms and make sure that all of the bases are covered. They can make sure that all of the necessary paperwork to run the school is present and accounted for. 

It’s Vital

These are only a few of the ways that having the proper counsel will help any charter school function and maintain its status. A school should create a proper relationship with a lawyer, and maintain it. They can take a lot of the weight off of your shoulders. 


Alex is a small business blogger with a focus on entrepreneurship and growth. With over 5 years of experience covering the startup and small business landscape, Alex has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, approachable and entrepreneurial-minded blogger. He has a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing small business owners, and is able to provide actionable advice and strategies for success. Alex has interviewed successful entrepreneurs, and covered major small business events such as the Small Business Expo and the Inc. 500|5000 conference. He is also a successful entrepreneur himself, having started and grown several small businesses in different industries.