• columns What is a Charter School?

    What is a charter school?

    Charter schools are free public schools that have the flexibility to adapt to the educational needs of individual students. Charter schools vary in mission and model, serving a wide range of students, many with needs beyond the one-size-fits-all traditional public school. Often, charter schools provide a personalized learning environment that promotes greater student achievement. Although charter schools have some autonomy, they still must meet the rigorous academic standards dictated by the state for all public schools.

    How are charter schools funded?

    Charter Schools receive state funds based on the average daily attendance of students (same as traditional schools); however, they do not receive funds from local tax revenue and the majorities, including Texas charters, do not receive state facilities funding. Texas Education Agency (TEA) data indicated that charter schools receive approximately $1,200* less in total revenue per pupil than traditional public schools. (*Based on TEA Snapshot 2009)

    Charter Schools in Texas:

    Charter Schools were authorized by the Texas Legislature in 1995 to provide an alternative to traditional public schools. Currently, Texas has a 215 state cap on charters. In the state of Texas, charter schools operate under and receive academic accountability ratings from the Texas Education Agency. All charter students in Texas take the same Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test as traditional public school students.

    What is the purpose of charter schools?

    • Improve student learning
    • Increase the choice of learning opportunities within the public school system
    • Create professional opportunities that will attract new teachers to the public school system
    • Establish a new form of accountability for public schools
    • Encourage different and innovative learning methods