What is a Charter School?

What Are Public Charter Schools?

Charter Schools are nontraditional public schools. One of the key differences between charter schools and traditional schools, or district schools, is the way they are governed. District schools are governed by a school district board while Charter Schools are governed by a board specifically for that school. As a result, these schools have more flexibility in their curriculum. This explains why you hear of some Charter Schools with a focus on the arts, science, technology, a certain culture, or a certain educational methodology (i.e. Classical, Montessori, Flipped Classroom). However, because Charter Schools receive public funds, they are still required to meet state testing requirements.

How Are Public Charter Schools Funded?

Charter Schools receive a per pupil allotment from the state, and they receive local funding from each student’s base school district.

Charter schools are eligible to receive funding for children with disabilities and limited English proficiency based on the actual population of such students in their school. Charter schools receive federal funds according to the same formulas as school districts. Unlike district schools, they receive no funding for facilities, buses, or food.

Report Shows Favorable Results for NC’s Charter Schools

The annual report on public charter schools published by the NC Department of Public Instruction found that charter school students outperformed their district school peers in several areas.*

  1. More than 70% of charter schools met or exceeded expected growth.

  2. A higher percentage of charter schools earned a School Performance Grade of an A or B.

  3. A higher percentage of charter school students scored a level three or above on the statewide assessments.

*NC Department of Public Instruction, Report to the General Assembly Charter Schools Annual Report, February 2018.


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