What Is a Charter School?
A charter school is a public school and may provide instruction in any of grades K-12. A charter school is usually created or organized by a group of teachers, parents and community leaders or a community-based organization and is usually sponsored by an existing local public school board or county board of education. Specific goals and operating procedures for the charter school are detailed in an agreement (or “charter”) between the sponsoring board and charter organizers.
A charter school is generally exempt from most laws governing school districts, except where specifically noted in the law. California public charter schools are required to participate in the statewide assessment test, called the STAR (Standardized Testing and Reporting) program. The law also requires that a public charter school be nonsectarian in its programs, admission policies, employment practices, and all other operations, and prohibits the conversion of a private school to a charter school. Public charter schools may not charge tuition and may not discriminate against any pupil on the basis of ethnicity, national origin, gender, or disability.