What is a charter school?
Charter schools are public schools that provide parents a choice in the education of their children—and it is a public choice. Public tax dollars are the primary funding sources for charter schools. Local, state, and federal dollars follow the child to a charter school. The schools have open enrollment with no discrimination, no religious associations, and no tuition.
How do I enroll my student in a charter school?
Parents must contact each individual school to see if they have openings. If a charter school has more applicants than available slots, an open lottery must be held to fill the spots. For a list of charter schools, please visit North Carolina Office of Charter Schools.
Aren’t some charter schools impossible to get into unless you know someone who already attends?
Admission preferences may be given to younger siblings of currently enrolled students. Children of teachers and administrators at a charter school may also be given admission preferences at that school. If a school has more applicants than openings, the remaining openings are filled in an open lottery.
What are the residency requirements to attend a charter school?
Students who live in North Carolina are eligible to attend a North Carolina charter school. There are no restrictions about county of residence.
How much does it cost to attend a charter school?
Charter schools are tuition free. They are public schools and funding for the schools come from federal, state, and local taxes.
Are charter school teachers licensed?
Yes, but there is more latitude than conventional public schools have. The state requires 75% of charter school teachers in elementary school to be licensed (certified), while 50% in middle and high school must be licensed. However, all charter school teachers must follow NCLB requirements for highly-qualified staff.
Do charter schools take the state-mandated ABCs tests?
Yes. All charter schools are required to take the state mandated End-of-Grade and End-of-Course Tests. For test results of charter schools, please visit The ABCs Accountability Model.
What are the requirements for acceptance into a charter school?
Charter schools have missions that define what students will do. The only requirement to get into a charter school is the availability in the requested grade at the school.
Are charter schools associated with the local school systems?
At this time, no charter schools in North Carolina operate under the auspices of a local school system. All charter schools in Robeson County, for example, operate independently of the Robeson County Public School System.
What is the schedule for a charter school?
A charter school’s board of directors defines the start and end of the school year and the time of the school day. Like all public schools in North Carolina, charter schools must hold classes for 185 days or 1,025 hours in a school year.
Are charter schools run by large corporations?
Some charter schools in North Carolina are operated by corporations, educational management organizations (EMOs). Some rely on corporations to administer finances and operations. Some charter schools operate independently of external corporations. All charter schools are governed by a board of directors of a nonprofit corporation. Check with the individual charter school.
How can I learn more about charter schools?
To learn about North Carolina’s charter schools, please visit North Carolina Office of Charter Schools.
To learn about the League of Charter Schools, please visit The League of Charter Schools.
To learn about charter schools from a national perspective, please visit US Charter Schools.