What is a charter school?
Charter schools are public schools of choice that operate with freedom from many of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools. Charter schools are independent, tuition free to in state students and highly accountable. Charter schools are operated in accordance to a specific mission or "charter". The "charter" establishing each school is a performance contract detailing the school's mission, program, goals, students served, methods of assessment, and ways to measure success.According to U.S. News and World Report (2015), there are now more than 6,500 chartered public schools operating in the United States. Together, these public schools serve about 6% of the U.S. public school population. New Hampshire currently has 25 operating public charter schools, serving approximately 2.5% of all public school pupils.
Charters are granted for a period of 5 years in New Hampshire. At the end of their term, the entity authorizing the charter may renew the school's contract. Charter schools are accountable to their authorizing entity to produce positive academic results and adhere to the charter contract. The basic concept of charter schools is that they exercise increased autonomy in return for this accountability. They are accountable for both academic results and fiscal practices to several groups: the sponsor that grants them, the parents who choose them, and the public that funds them.
What is the difference between a charter school and a traditional public school?
Charter schools are public schools of choice, meaning teachers and students choose them. They operate with freedom from many regulations that apply to traditional public schools. They generally offer teachers and students more authority to make decisions than traditional public schools. Instead of being accountable for compliance with rules and regulations, they are accountable for academic results and for upholding their charter.
Do charter schools take money from public schools?
Charter schools are public schools. When a child leaves for a charter school the state portion of aid (about $5,600) is sent directly to the charter school, local taxpayer dollars however remain in the district and do not forward to the charter school. This benefits the public school system by instilling a sense of accountability into the system regarding its services to the student and parents and its fiscal obligations. Fiscally, charter schools have demonstrated greater efficiency.
Who can start a charter school?
Who can authorize a charter school to open? New Hampshire currently has 2 charter school authorizers.
Can charter schools charge tuition?
No, charter schools are public schools and tuition-free for residents of New Hampshire. Out-of-state students may be charged tuition. While there is no charge for tuition, schools may charge small fees for specific services and support.
How are charter schools funded?
How many states have charter schools?
As of 2015, 43 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have passed charter school laws.
Do charter schools have admissions policies?
By law, charter schools must have a fair and open admissions process, conducting outreach and recruitment to all segments of the community they serve. When more students apply than can be accommodated, charter schools must use a lottery to randomly determine which students are accepted. Many charter schools also have waiting lists.
Is transportation provided for students?
No, transportation is provided only if students are coming from the school district in which the school is located and request it. Most charter schools help maintain a student directory of contact information so that parents can work out car pooling arrangements among themselves. Quite a few families do carpool.
What kind of federal support is there for charter schools?
Through the Public Charter Schools Program, the U.S. Department of Education offers grants to states, which then award subgrants to individual schools to assist them in planning, design, and initial implementation of new charter schools. Dissemination grants are also available to successful charter schools with three or more years of experience. These grants are used to support activities through which they help other groups improve existing public schools by sharing successful practices. Charter schools are also eligible for funding under other federal programs.