What is a Charter School?
Charter schools are unique public schools that are allowed the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement.
• Charter schools are public schools.
• Charter schools do not charge tuition.
• Charter schools do not have special entrance requirements.
• Charter schools do not discriminate.
• Charter schools accept students with disabilities and/or special needs.
• Charter schools do not teach religion.
• Charter school students must take state assessment tests.
• Charter school teachers must be "highly qualified" under the No Child Left Behind Act.
• Charter schools are bound by federal and state public school laws.
• In 2014-15, there are over 101,000 students attending 214 charter school campuses in Colorado. This represents 11.7% of total K-12 public school enrollment in the state.
• Charter schools differ from neighborhood public schools in 3 primary ways:
- Charter schools are allowed more autonomy in governance1, which includes greater control over hiring of teachers and staff.
- Charter schools are allowed the freedom to manage their own finances2.
- Charter schools have the freedom to decide on their own curriculum3.
• Charter schools are accountable to their authorizer. In the case of Lincoln Academy, our authorizer is the Jefferson County Board of Education.
• Each charter school is governed by its own board of directors, whose sole employee is the principal (sometimes titled “executive director” or “head of school”).
• The charter school principal/executive director/head of school is responsible for the hiring and management of the school’s teachers and staff.
• Charter schools are financially accountable to their authorizer as well as state and federal governments.
• Charter schools are public schools, thus they are funded with state taxpayer dollars in the form of "per-pupil operating revenue" or PPR.
• School districts finance their facilities using property tax, mill levies, and taxpayer-backed bonds. Charter schools generally do not receive a proportionate share of these monies. As a result, money often comes out of the classroom to pay for buildings.
• On average, charter schools in Colorado spend $606 per student from designated per-pupil operating revenue on facilities costs.
3Curriculum: Lincoln Academy uses the Core Knowledge Curriculum.
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