What is a Charter School?

What is a charter school?

A charter school is a tuition-free public school that offers parents a choice. Like district public schools, charter schools are required to adhere to all federal, state, and local education, health, and safety rules and regulations. 

Who can attend a charter school?

Any student who meets the proper age and residency requirements can apply to attend. Please be aware it is customary for charter schools to hold random, public lotteries to accept students if they receive more applications than they have seats available.

How are charter schools different from public schools?

Charter schools are held to the same standards as other district schools. Charter schools also report to an authorizer who determines if the school is meeting the goals in its charter. 

What are authorizers?

An authorizer is an entity that monitors the performance, finances, and organizational stability of charter schools, and has the authority to close schools that don’t meet required standards. Charter schools can be authorized by a state board of education, county board of education, a state university, community college or local district.  Because Hickman is an all-charter district, it's charter is authorized by the State Board of Education. 

How are charter schools created?

When individuals want to provide an alternative to district public schools, they may opt to propose a charter to their state authorizing agency. These community leaders, parents, teachers, principals or businesses create a charter that outlines the following: 

  • Their program of study
  • The students they will to serve
  • Performance goals
  • The methods of assessment they’ll use to measure these goals

They then submit this charter to the state authorizing agency who either approves or denies their application.

How are charter schools managed?

Charter schools can operate alone or be run by a management organization. On a local level, individual schools can be managed by their own Board of Directors who provide guidance and oversight to the principal.  In Hickman's case, we are managed by our Board of Education. 

How are charter schools funded?

Charter schools are tuition-free. They receive public funding based on their number of students, and may receive grants to help with some start-up costs. Many charter schools raise funds to help with other expenses. Charter schools are also eligible for federal funding for programs like Title 1 and Special Education.