CCSA Answers: Charter School Employees Serving on the Charter School's Board
April 6, 2012
Question: Can a charter school employee serve on the charter school's board?
Answer: It depends on what restrictions are contained in the school's charter petition and any agreements between the school and its authorizer. California nonprofit corporate law allows up to 49% of the board members to be "interested directors," including directors who are employed by the nonprofit. However, charter schools which are tax-exempt nonprofit corporations must follow IRS requirements and California nonprofit corporate laws regulating how conflicts of interest, including those arising from employment, should be addressed and resolved.
Additionally, the school may be constrained by its charter petition or some other agreement with its authorizer that would prohibit employees from serving on the charter school's board. For example, if a charter school agreed to abide by Government Code Section 1090, this could effectively exclude any paid staff of the school from serving on the charter school's board. CCSA recommends that all charter schools, regardless of their governing structures, 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 as they develop their governance structures.