What is a charter school?
Charter schools are public schools of choice that operate with freedom from many of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools. Charter schools are independent, tuition free to in state students and highly accountable. Charter schools are operated in accordance to a specific mission or "charter". The "charter" establishing each school is a performance contract detailing the school's mission, program, goals, students served, methods of assessment, and ways to measure success.According to a report published by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (March 2018), there are approximately 7,000 charter schools operating in the United States. Together, these public schools serve about 6% of the U.S. public school population. New Hampshire currently has 24 operating charter schools. Together these public schools serve approximately 2% of all public school pupils in New Hampshire.
Charters are granted for a period of 5 years in New Hampshire. In its forth year of operation a public charter school must notify its authorizing entity (State Board of Education or Local District) of its intention to apply for renewal. Charter schools are accountable to their authorizing entity to produce positive academic results and adhere to their charter contract. The basic concept of charter schools is that they exercise increased autonomy in return for this greater accountability. They are accountable for both academic results and fiscal practices to several groups: the authorizing entity that grants them, the parents who choose them, and the public that funds them.
What is the difference between a charter school and a traditional public school?
Charter schools are public schools of choice, meaning teachers and students choose them. They operate with freedom from many regulations that apply to traditional public schools. They generally offer teachers and students greater flexibility to make decisions than traditional public schools. Instead of being accountable for compliance with an increasing litany of rules and regulations, they are accountable for academic results and for upholding their charter.
Who may authorize a charter school to open in New Hampshire?
New Hampshire has two types of charter school authorizers, (State & Local). There are important differences between the two types of charter school authorization. Groups should understand these differences prior to moving forward with any application.
Who can apply to open a State Authorized charter school?
1. a nonprofit organization including, but not limited to, a college, university, museum, service club, or similar entity;
No, charter schools are public schools and tuition-free for residents of New Hampshire. Out-of-state students may be charged tuition. While there is no charge for tuition, charter schools (like all public schools) may charge small fees for specific services and support.
How are charter schools funded in New Hampshire?
State Authorized charter schools are funded directly by the state (no local funding) at approximately $7,100 per student. This is considerably less than the statewide average expenditure of $15,000-$16,000 per student. (RSA 194-B:11 I.(b)(1)(A))
How many states have charter schools?
As of 2017, 44 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have passed charter school laws.
Do charter schools have admissions policies?
By law, charter schools must have a fair and open admissions process, conducting outreach and recruitment to all segments of the community they serve. When more students apply than can be accommodated, charter schools are required by state and federal law to use a lottery to randomly determine which students are accepted. The one caveat is in the case of a locally authorized charter school which the law allows to give absolute enrollment priority to in-district students. Most New Hampshire charter schools have waiting lists.
Is transportation provided for students?
No, transportation is provided only if students are coming from the school district in which the school is located and request it. Most charter schools help maintain a student directory of contact information so that parents can work out car pooling arrangements among themselves. Quite a few families do carpool.
What kind of federal support is there for charter schools?
Through the Public Charter Schools Program, the U.S. Department of Education offers grants to states, which then award sub-grants to individual schools to assist them in planning, design, and initial implementation of new charter schools. Dissemination grants are also available to successful charter schools with three or more years of experience. These grants are used to support activities through which they help other groups improve existing public schools by sharing successful practices. Charter schools are also eligible for funding under other federal programs.