(1) The state board of education must establish an annual statewide timeline for charter application submission and approval or denial that must be followed by all authorizers.
(2) In reviewing and evaluating charter applications, authorizers shall employ procedures, practices, and criteria consistent with nationally recognized principles and standards for quality charter authorizing. Authorizers shall give preference to applications for charter schools that are designed to enroll and serve at-risk student populations. However, nothing in this chapter may be construed as intended to limit the establishment of charter schools to those that serve a substantial portion of at-risk students, or to in any manner restrict, limit, or discourage the establishment of charter schools that enroll and serve other pupil populations under a nonexclusive, nondiscriminatory admissions policy. The application review process must include thorough evaluation of each application, an in-person interview with the applicant group, and an opportunity to learn about and provide input on each application in a public forum including, without limitation, parents, community members, local residents, and school district board members and staff.
(3) In deciding whether to approve an application, authorizers must:
(a) Grant charters only to applicants that have demonstrated competence in each element of the authorizer's published approval criteria and are likely to open and operate a successful charter public school;
(b) Base decisions on documented evidence collected through the application review process;
(c) Follow charter-granting policies and practices that are transparent and based on merit; and
(d) Avoid any conflicts of interest, whether real or apparent.
(4) An approval decision may include, if appropriate, reasonable conditions that the charter applicant must meet before a charter contract may be executed.
(5) For any denial of an application, the authorizer shall clearly state in writing its reasons for denial. A denied applicant may subsequently reapply to that authorizer or apply to another authorizer in the state.