New Hampshire Alliance for Public Charter Schools

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 U.S. News and World Report (2015), there are now more than 6,500 chartered public schools operating in the United States. Together, these public schools serve about 6% of the U.S. public school population. New Hampshire currently has 25 operating public charter schools, serving approximately 2.5% of all public school pupils.

Charters are granted for a period of 5 years in New Hampshire. At the end of their term, the entity authorizing the charter may renew the school's contract. Charter schools are accountable to their authorizing entity 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.

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 more authority to make decisions than traditional public schools. Instead of being accountable for compliance with rules and regulations, they are accountable for academic results and for upholding their charter.

Do charter schools take money from public schools?

Charter schools are public schools. When a child attends a charter school the state portion of adequacy aid (about $3,600) is sent directly to the charter school, local taxpayer dollars remain in the district and do not forward to the charter school. Because New Hampshire charter schools do not receive local tax dollars, the state legislature provides charter schools with an additional $3,036 per pupil. Fiscally, charter schools have demonstrated greater efficiency.

Who can start a charter school?

1. a nonprofit organization including, but not limited to, a college, university, museum, service club, or similar entity,
2. a group of 2 or more New Hampshire certified teachers,
3. a group of 10 or more parents

Who can authorize a charter school to open?

New Hampshire currently has 2 charter school authorizers.

1. the local legislative body (For towns this would be the voters, and for cities it would be the city council.)
2. the State Board of Education

Can charter schools charge tuition?

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?

New Hampshire’s State Authorized charter schools are funded directly by the state at approximately $6,636 per student. This is far less than the statewide average expenditure of $15,000-$16,000 per student.
Locally authorized charter schools are funded at approximately 80% of the average cost per pupil by their local district. Example – Average cost per pupil is $10,000 per student, locally authorized charters would receive $7,000-$8,000 per student.

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. 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.



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