- Business Models: For charter networks and charter management organizations trying to decide how they will organize themselves and operate, this page provides a framework and some questions for thinking about the range of choices.
- For-Profit versus Not-for-Profit? For charter networks and charter management organizations trying to decide whether to incorporate as a for-profit entity or a not-for-profit entity, this page provides some pros and cons for each side.
- Site Advisory Council: For individual charter schools or charter networks, this page describes the structure and role of the Site Advisory Council at Aspire schools.
Organizations that operate multiple public schools both regionally and nationally can take several different operational approaches. Aspire has developed a framework to describe the key differences between the approaches being used by the current players in the industry. Many of these organizations operate in multiple locations, and several operate in multiple-state locations. All the models are viable, but have different advantages and require different strengths to execute well. Also, an organization's business model may evolve over time. Aspire is honored that many of its pioneering operational and educational systems have been adopted by charter organizations throughout the country.
For-Profit versus Not-for-Profit?
Nationwide, most education management organizations (i.e. companies that run multiple schools) are for-profit. Edison, Chancellor Beacon and Victory are among the biggest. In contrast, Aspire Public Schools is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation.
For many entrepreneurs, the decision to be a for-profit or not-for-profit is a philosophical one. However, there are also several practical business considerations:
Some organizations use a hybrid structure, in which local not-for-profits are affiliated with or sign a management contract with larger for-profit organizations, in an attempt to capture the best of both approaches.
School Site Governance
Although Aspire is organized as a single 501c3 with a single Board of Directors, each individual Aspire school has an Advisory School Council (ASC) with decision-making authority over site-based decisions. The Council:
- acts as an initial discipline review board;
- addresses school safety issues;
- reviews parental concerns;
- determines budget priorities; and
- sets policies that are unique to the school.
The ASC consists of the principal, two teachers, two parents, one member of the chartering district’s Board, and one community member at large. The principal is responsible for communicating all ASC policy decisions to the Aspire Board of Directors. An Ombudsman serves as an objective, third party resource for parents or community members who wish to express a grievance to the Aspire organization about a particular charter school. Each Aspire charter chooses its Ombudsman, a respected community leader from each school’s local community. The Ombudsman uses his/her discretion to ameliorate specific parental concerns, and may choose to discuss the problem with the Aspire Board of Directors in serious cases.