What is a Charter School?

A charter school is a public school that receives its operating authorization and funding from the State Board of Education, the State Board for Charter Schools, or any school district that chooses to charter a school under the charter school law passed in 1994. The "Charter" is a contract with the chartering body that allows a private entity to operate a "public" charter school in accordance with a specific program outlined in the charter. The following is a description of charter schools given by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS):

"Charter schools are public schools operating under an independent contract or “charter” with an authorizing agency—typically a non-profit organization, government agency or university. The charter provides the school with operational autonomy to pursue specific educational objectives regarding curriculum, staff, and budget. It also holds them accountable to the same (often higher) standards of their district public school peers."

- National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

Did you know that all charter schools are public schools? Just like traditional public schools, public charter schools are tuition-free and open to all students, non-sectarian and do not discriminate on any basis, publicly funded based on enrollment, and are held accountable to state and federal standards. Charter schools are here to serve all students, they do not have any selective admissions requirements and they must accept all students. If there are not enough available seats in a school to meet demand, charter schools hold lotteries to enroll students. 

Do you have more questions about charter schools? Take a look at the NAPCS's website, you'll find a helpful list of frequently asked questions