About Charter Schools
Charter Schools--Basic Information
  • A charter school is a public school. It is open to all students and there is no tuition.
  • Every charter school has a "charter". This is a performance contract between the group operating the school and the State Board of Education that spells out the mission, program, academic performance goals and methods of assessment that will be used to measure academic performance.
  • Charter schools have an increased level of autonomy. They are in some instances granted waivers from state mandated laws and regulations.
  • Charter schools have a higher level of accountability than traditional public schools. In addition to being held to the same standards as traditional public schools, charter schools are subject to additional yearly evaluations. Charter schools are held accountable for the measurable academic performance goals established in the school's charter or contract.
Types of Charter Schools
  • Conversion charter schools: public schools that are converted to charter schools, or a charter school that is newly created to be part of an already established school district. Only students in the school district can attend the charter school. (e.g. Raider Open Door Academy)
  • Open-enrollment charter schools: public schools run by a government entity, an institution of higher learning or a tax-exempt, non-sectarian organization. Open-enrollment schools can draw students from across district boundaries. (e.g. Imboden Area Charter School)
Benefits of Charter Schools
  • Increased opportunities for learning and access to quality education for all students.
  • Creates choices for parents within the public school system.
  • Encourages innovative teaching techniques.
  • Creates new professional opportunities for teachers.
  • Encourages parental and community involvement in education.
  • Creates competition among public schools which stimulates improvement for all schools.
  • Slightly smaller class sizes.
  • Specialized curriculum.
  • Slightly lower student:teacher ratio.
  • Can target special populations of students.