Charter schools are non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations that have a contract or charter to provide the same educational services to students as district public schools. They are nonsectarian public schools that operate with freedom from many of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools.
The “charters” establishing such schools are performance contracts detailing the schools’ mission, program, goals, students served, methods of assessment, and ways to measure success. The length of time for which charters are granted can vary from three to 15 years. At the end of the term, the entity granting the charter may renew the school’s contract.
Charter schools are accountable to their sponsor, usually a state or local school board, to produce positive academic results and adhere to the charter contract. The basic concept of charter schools is that they exercise increased autonomy in return for this accountability. They are accountable for both academic results and fiscal practices to several groups: the sponsor that grants them, the parents who choose them, and the public that funds them.
The Florida Charter School Statutes require charter schools to be guided by the following principles:
Additionally, Florida charter schools are authorized to fulfill the following purposes:
No, charter schools are public schools that receive public funds. They cannot charge tuition for the regular school day. They may charge fees for before and/or after school care.
In 2011-12, there were 519 charter schools serving 179,931 students in 43 of Florida’s 67 counties.
Charter schools must be open to any student covered in an inter-district agreement or residing in the school district in which the charter school is located. However, in the case of a charter lab school, the charter lab school shall be open to any student eligible to attend the lab school as provided in Florida Statute 1002.32, or who resides in the school district in which the charter lab school is located. Any eligible student shall be allowed inter-district transfer to attend a charter school when based on good cause. A charter school may limit the enrollment process in order to target the following student populations:
Such students shall include exceptional educational students, students enrolling in a charter school-in-the-workplace or charter school-in-a-municipality.
A charter school is required by the Florida statutes to:
Every charter school must be evaluated on academic progress and the outcomes agreed upon in the school’s binding contract. In addition, individual schools are evaluated and assigned a school grade using the same standards and criteria as traditional public schools.
Yes. Charter schools are generally exempt from the Florida K-20 Education Code. (Ch. 1000-1013, F.S.), except those statutes specifically applying to charter schools: pertaining to the provision of services to students with disabilities; pertaining to civil rights; and pertaining to student, health, safety and welfare. Charter schools are not exempt from any statute governing public records; public meetings; public inspection, and penalties. The sponsor’s policies shall not apply to a charter school.
Yes. Statutory provisions require teachers employed by or under contract with a charter school to be certified as required by current law.
Students enrolled in a charter school must be funded as if they are enrolled in a basic program or a special program at any other public school in the school district. Each charter school must report its student enrollment to the school district and the school district must include each charter school’s student enrollment in school district’s report of student enrollment that is submitted to the state.
According to s. 1002.331, F.S., a high-performing charter school is a school that has met each of the following criteria:
A high-performing charter school is authorized to:
A high-performing charter school must notify its sponsor, in writing, by March 1 if it plans to increase enrollment or expand grade levels for the next school year.
A high-performing charter school may submit an application in any school district in the state to establish and operate a new charter school that will substantially replicate its educational program. A high-performing charter school may not establish more than one charter school within the state in any year. A high-performing charter school system may also replicate one of its high-performing charter schools in the same manner.