What is a Charter School?


Charter school benefits

  • The educational program is uniquely tailored to each school and community it serves. 
  • All budget and personnel decisions are made at the school level. 
  • Charter schools have a multi-tiered accountability system that includes parents, authorizers, the state, and lenders. 
  • Charter schools thrive with an active community of parents. 
  • Teachers at charter schools are not unionized. 

Charter school facts

  • There are more than 5,000 charter schools nationwide educating more than 1.6 million children. 
  • The Charter Schools Act was passed in 1999, in Colorado. 
  • There are more than 160 charter schools in Colorado educating more than 66,000 children (8.2 percent of total K-12 enrollment).
  • There are approximately 40,000 students on charter school wait lists statewide. 
  • There are eight charter schools in Douglas County. 

Charter school myths

MYTH: Charter schools “drain money” from district public schools.
FACT: Charter schools are public schools.  The money that follows the students.
who choose to attend charter schools remains in the public education system.  In Douglas
County, a portion of the per pupil revenue passed along to a charter school
remains with the school district.
 
MYTH: Charter school teachers are not licensed.
FACT: The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) does not require that a
charter school teacher have a teaching license, but charter schools are required to
comply with all other NCLB requirements regarding “Highly Qualified Teachers.”
This provides charter schools the freedom to hire the most qualified and
committed teachers who come from diverse professional backgrounds and are
passionate about teaching.
 
MYTH: Charter schools accept only the “cream of the crop” and reject under
performing students.
FACT: Charter schools may not limit admission to pupils on the basis of ability.
Charter schools are open to all and cannot require entrance exams.  When
enrollment requests exceed the number of seats available, most charter schools
hold a public lottery to determine who will attend (others have first come/first
served waiting lists).
 
MYTH: Charter schools endanger the public school system.
FACT: Charter schools are a relatively new and innovative part of the public
school system.  The entire public school system is strengthened when choices such
as charter schools are available to students and families.  When families are
empowered to make decisions about their child’s education, ownership, parental
involvement and accountability are increased.  Having a choice is beneficial for all.
 
MYTH: Charter schools are not open to all students.
FACT: Charter schools serve a broad range of diverse students, including low income,
racial and ethnic minorities, and students with disabilities or other special
needs.