Charter schools are tuition-free public schools of choice that operate independently of the local school district. Charter schools are deregulated and non-sectarian public schools that provide more freedom and more responsibility and involvement for parents, teachers and educational leaders to make decisions on how the school is operated than does a local traditional school. They are designed to promote innovation and reform in public education.
Charter schools have been in operation in the United States since 1991 and in North Carolina since 1996. North Carolina currently has 160 charter schools that serve over 78,000 students. The number of charter schools is increasing every year since the NC Legislature lifted the cap in 2011 on the number of charters they would issue.
Charter schools receive local, state and federal government funding and are monitored closely by the state to make sure they are accountable both fiscally and educationally. Annual audits and state testing are required.
Admission is granted on a lottery basis irrespective of gender, race, religion or national origin.
For legislative news regarding charter schools, visit the Center for Education Reform