Charter schools are public, state-funded schools. First created by legislation in 1994, charter schools are established to provide a learning environment that will improve pupil achievement and additional academic choices for parents and students. Since they are state funded, charter schools cannot charge tuition.
Structure – Charter schools are organized and operated in a variety of ways, but they are structured similar to a district public school with an administrative team and a governing board. A charter school must comply with all applicable state, federal and local laws and regulations along with state testing standards. Charter schools can be non-profit corporations or for-profit corporations.
Enrollment – Charter schools must serve all students, including those with special needs. They may limit class size based on their contract. If there are more applicants than seats available, the school will hold a lottery to determine which students are accepted. You can learn more about attending a charter school by viewing the school’s admissions policies and procedures, researching how the school meets the needs of all students, and reviewing the marketing materials used to recruit students.
Mission – Every charter school has its own individual mission. As a parent, you and your child should understand and share the vision of the school you select. Learn more about the school’s mission by visiting with the school’s administration, sitting in on a class or attending a board meeting.
Parents and Charter Schools – As a parent, you are making a choice to participate in your child’s education. Most charter schools provide opportunities for parental involvement ranging from volunteering in the classroom to serving on a parent committee. Learn more about your role in your child’s school by attending parent meetings, observing classrooms with parent volunteers, asking other parents about the school.