Virtual Charter Schools, School Choice, Legislation, Statute, Governance


This study examined the legal, statutory, and governance issues facing virtual charter schools. Virtual models of schooling have the potential to change the face of public education as such schools challenge traditional forms of education. Legislators, policy makers, and school boards must carefully consider existing charter school legislation and determine whether such language is applicable to virtual charter school models. As virtual forms of schooling increase, and choice options for parents become more readily available, the challenge is to develop statutory language that is not overly restrictive but provides a framework from which authorizers and governing boards may operate to ensure the quality, equity, and fiscal responsibility of virtual charter schools. The focus of the study was on the existing legislation in the 19 states with current virtual charter school statutes. The qualitative examination of case law, combined with a review of statutory language, provided the sources of data. Recommendations for policymakers, legislators, departments of education, and school boards were developed to ensure the instructional quality control, the compliance with state and federal statute, and the financial security of virtual charter schools. In an era where choice in education has become mainstream, monitoring the quality of choice options becomes paramount. The development of policies and laws relative to the careful operation of virtual charter schools, from authorization, to governance, to appropriate funding is in the purview of the state. Case law developed in states such as Pennsylvania and Wisconsin where the legality of virtual charter schools has been challenged provides the legal standards for other state legislatures. The establishment of carefully worded legislation that addresses the issues inherent in the next version of school choice is critical to the successful operation of virtual charter schools. Oversight for funding, attendance, curriculum and instruction, and teacher certification is critical in both the authorizing and governance of such schools. Legislation that details the process for enrolling district and out of district students, the process for how the funding flows from the state, to the district, to the virtual charter school, and how the students will be counted for accountability purposes is critical to the successful implementation of virtual charter schools.


If this is your thesis or dissertation, and want to learn how to access it or for more information about readership statistics, contact us at

Graduation Date



Murray, Barbara A.


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


College of Education


Educational Research, Technology, and Leadership

Degree Program

Educational Leadership








Release Date

August 2010

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)