As many schools address challenges with online learning, some point to charter schools as a solution. North Dakota currently has no charter schools, as one of just five states in the country without a provision permitting them.

Charter schools are publicly funded and privately run, with many in other states already operating online.

Proponents say they give parents more flexibility and better cater to students’ learning needs. Others say they divert funding from more traditional schools that most students utilize.

Director of the Center for Public Choice and Private Enterprise Jeremy Jackson says he thinks they would be beneficial for North Dakota, especially now.

“Charter schools give us an amount of flexibility that would allow us to react to the pandemic quicker and in ways that existing public schools might not be able to, or just might not have the vision and the entrepreneurial innovation abilities that charter schools can have,” Jackson said.

To have charter schools in the state, it would need to be passed through the legislature or a voter initiative ballot measure.