December 03, 2003

To all interested persons:

Pursuant to Iowa Code section 68B.32A(11) and rule 351—1.2, the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board takes the opportunity to issue its opinion on charter schools being considered public schools for the purposes of the ethics laws. We note at the outset that the Board’s jurisdiction is limited to the application of Iowa Code chapters 68A and 68B and rules in Iowa Administrative Code chapter 351.


The “ethics” laws in Iowa Code chapter 68B apply to the conduct of public officials and public employees. The issue has been raised concerning whether or not charter schools are subject to the ethics laws.

After reviewing the legislation that created “charter schools” (2002 Iowa Acts, Ch. 1124) and confirming with the Iowa Department of Education its interpretation of the new statutory provision, the Board believes that a “charter school” is a “public school” and officials and employees of a charter school would be subject to the applicable provisions of Iowa Code chapter 68B.

In closing, as a “charter school” is a public governmental entity, the prohibition on the use of public resources for a political purpose in Iowa Code section 68A.12A 1 would also apply to officials and employees of a charter school.


James Albert, Board Chair
1st Vice-Chair Geraldine Leinen
2nd Vice-Chair Gwen Boeke
Mark McCormick
Bernie McKinley
Phyllis Peters

Submitted by: W. Charles Smithson, Board Legal Counsel

1 Effective July 1, 2003, the campaign finance laws were renumbered from Chapter 56 to Chapter 68A.


*rule 5.3