Charter School 101* - An introduction to Charter schools

Charter schools are independent public schools that operate under a contract or charter. With their rigorous curriculum programs, and unique educational approaches such as longer school days and a longer school year, charter schools offer additional quality and choice in the public education system.

Charter schools trade operational freedom and flexibility for higher levels of accountability than traditional public schools. Charter schools are held accountable to the parents and students they serve based on how well they meet the academic performance goals established in their charter, and how they manage their fiscal and operational responsibilities.

How are students admitted to charter schools?

Any child eligible for admission to a traditional public school is eligible for admission to a public charter school. All charter schools must enroll students through a blind lottery.

Can charter schools charge tuition?

No. As public schools, charter schools cannot charge tuition.

How are charter schools funded?

As public schools, charter schools are funded by public tax dollars that pass through the student's school district of residence. A portion of the per ­pupil amount that a school district spends follows a student to the charter school. It is important to note that because not all monies received by a school district are included in the calculation, charter schools receive only 60­% - 80% of what school districts actually spend on a per ­pupil basis.

Do public charter schools receive state building aid or other public funds that public school districts receive for capital purposes?

No. State building aid is not included in the formula for identifying per pupil aid, nor are charter schools eligible to receive other public funds that school districts have access to for capital construction and renovation.

Is there a time limit to a charter?

Yes. Charters are issued for a period not to exceed five years. A charter may also be renewed for up to five years.

*Adapted from New York Charter School Association.

To learn more about charter schools in NYC, review the “10 Things Everyone Should Know About New York City Charter Schools” by the New York City Charter School Center by clicking here:

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