This paper examines the policy context of charter school adoption and implementation in Indianapolis -- the only city in the U.S. with independent mayoral authorizing authority. The study identifies specific implications of this hybrid of mayoral control, including expanded civic capacity and innovation diffusion across Indianapolis area public school systems. This qualitative study utilizes over 30 in-depth interviews conducted with key stakeholders. Legislative, state, and school district documents and reports were analyzed for descriptive evidence of expanded civic capacity, school innovation, and charter/noncharter school competitive pressures. The case of Indianapolis reframes the mayoral role in education reform, and expands the institutional framework for charter school authorizing.