CCSA Answers: Nonprofit Board Member Serving on the Charter School's Board
March 30, 2012
Question: Can a nonprofit board member also serve on the charter school's board?
Answer: Often, charter schools are operated as or by nonprofit corporations. In these cases, the board of the nonprofit corporation serves as the governing board of the charter school. In some cases, as with larger charter management organizations, there may be a nonprofit corporate board overseeing several schools, with each charter school having its own nonprofit corporate board or, at the very least, separate advisory boards, site councils or committees. Many charter schools which are also governed as or by nonprofit corporations also are supported by companion nonprofit corporations, often referred to as foundations, which engage in fundraising or capital campaigns to support the charter school. An individual who sits on a governing nonprofit board of the charter school and also sits on these other boards or committees must carefully review the school's charter petition, agreements with the school's authorizer, relevant California laws and applicable IRS requirements, to ensure that any potential conflicts of interest are addressed and resolved.
There is nothing in the Charter Schools Act itself which would completely prohibit an individual from serving in these dual roles. However, we advise charter schools to adopt and adhere to strong conflict of interest policies regarding how to address and resolve potential conflicts of interest arising from these arrangements, and to seek legal counsel if they are in doubt about how to proceed.