Charter Schools FAQ
What is a charter school? A charter school is a public school that essentially operates as its own one-school public district, giving it greater independence from the district board of education. The school’s charter plan is written by people that may include educators, parents, community leaders and others. This plan covers the school’s guiding principles, administration, and discipline. Once approved by the state, the school receives state funds on a per-student basis — so tuition is not charged.
What are the key advantages of a charter school such as the Arthur Academy schools? Charter schools often offer improved opportunities for child-centered education, as well as enhanced educational choices. School operators set high standards for success, and are driven to provide new and better services to students.
How are charter schools different from traditional public schools?
Charter schools operate on 3 key principles:
Accountability — Charter schools are held accountable for how well they educate children in a safe and responsible environment — rather than for compliance with district and state regulations. They must meet the student achievement goals established by their charter, and manage their fiscal and operational responsibilities. If they fail to deliver, they can be closed.
Choice — Charter schools can be established by virtually anyone interested in offering new educational opportunities — including parents, teachers, community organizations, etc. They can be sponsored by school boards, colleges/universities, and others.
Autonomy — Charter schools have freedom from the usual bureaucracy and regulations that can sometimes result in emphasis and resources being placed on compliance instead of excellence. This gives administrators and teachers the opportunity to focus on educating their students.
Do charter schools choose who attends?
Charter schools are legally required to have a fair and open admission process, and to recruit from all segments of the community they serve. Because they are public schools, they cannot "choose" which students they accept — which means students are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis. In some cases, a lottery may be used when the number of applicants exceeds the number of available slots.
How are charter schools funded?
As public schools, they are funded according to enrollment (also called average daily attendance, or ADA). Funding is received from the district and the state. Oregon Law states that charter schools must receive at least 80% of general funds received by their sponsoring district. Charter schools generally do not receive any federal funding, bond monies or funding to cover the cost of securing a facility.
Do charter schools take money from public schools?
No. Because, charter schools are public schools, funding follows students when they leave traditional public schools to attend a charter school. Many feel this system benefits traditional public schools by instilling a sense of accountability in providing quality services to students and parents.