Ferris State University (FSU) is granted oversight authority for Public School Academies (PSA's) by Part 6A, Part 6E and Part SDA of the Revised School Code, Act 451, of 1976. Authorization of a PSA is accomplished through a contract between the authorizer and school academies. In 1997, the FSU Board of Trustees conditionally authorized its first PSA. The University currently authorizes academies around the State of Michigan, excluding the Upper Peninsula.
As an authorizing body, Ferris State University provides oversight through its Charter Schools Office (CSO). The CSO is responsible for monitoring compliance in accordance with the terms and conditions of the contract, all applicable state and federal law, and to assist academies in all aspects of their operations, planning, and development. To accomplish this, the CSO uses a comprehensive oversight system that includes the following:
The Charter Schools Office staff makes periodic visits to the Academies and/or meetings of the Academies Board of Directors. In addition, the CSO utilizes Field Representatives who serve as the "eyes and ears" for the office. Each Field Representative is assigned to an academy and serves as a liaison between the Academies and the CSO. Field Representatives are required to visit each assigned Academy a minimum of five times per year, and must also attend all meetings of the Academies' Board of Directors. In addition to Field Representative visits, CSO staff also complete formal Mid-Contract and Reauthorization visits. These formal visits include classroom visits and stakeholder interviews and are followed by a final report. Three times a year, CSO staff or a contracted vendor visits the Academies to verify their staff certification and criminal background check procedures.
Other visitations are made as needed by CSO staff and/or Field Representatives throughout the term of the contract.