Steps involved in starting a charter school with SC non-profit status:

  • Read Charter Act
  • Form a diverse planning group and conduct initial community needs assessment.
  • Develop a vision for the school and a name.
  • File for Federal Tax ID number - Click Here to File.
  • File SC Articles of Incorporation with SC Secretary of State - ($25 filing fee) - Click Here to File.
  • Draft and Adopt Bylaws at Initial Meeting of Charter Committee:
    • (do not need to be attached to Articles of Incorporation)
      • From SCSOS:
        2.7 THE INITIAL MEETING OF YOUR NEWLY ESTABLISHED CORPORATION Minutes of all meetings of nonprofit corporations must be recorded and maintained by the organization at its principal place of business. In the corporation's first meeting the following actions, at minimum, should be taken:
      • Either the incorporators or the directors will, at minimum, elect officers, adopt bylaws and carry on other business brought before the meeting.)
  • SC Application for Exemption
  • This must be filed annually. Click Here for File.
  • Draft Charter Application and supporting documents (3 to 5 months) - Click Here for Application.
  • Document likelihood you will meet student enrollment projections. This is critical since your entire budget is based on you student enrollment projections.
  • Submit completed Charter Application by deadline - Click Here.
    • Abbreviated Application Checklist:

    • Application Cover Page
    • Table of Contents
    • Application Narrative
    • Student Enrollment Projection
    • Budget
    • Documentation from State Department of Education of estimated revenues
    • Articles of incorporation, bylaws, and proof of South Carolina non-profit corporation status
    • Documentation of insurability and estimate of cost of insurance
    • Statement of Assurances
  • Charter Reviewed by the Charter School Advisory Committee within 60 days of submission. Either certified in compliance with law or not. Planning Committee may appeal.
  • Sponsoring District has 30 days to then hold a public hearing. Charter must meet the spirit and intent of the law and must not adversely impact students. Planning Committee may appeal.
  • Apply for Planning and Implementation Grant Funds - a federal subgrant through the state of SC.
  • Carry out all pre-operation planning stages including hiring administration, faculty, staff, facilities development with OSF, student enrollment, and governance requirements. (6 to 12 months)
  • File for Federal Non-Profit Status once everything is approved
  • Open School
  • Elect first Board of Directors


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