WHAT IS A CHARTER SCHOOL?
In what way are charter schools a benefit to the community? | Charter schools can relieve some of the overcrowding in existing public schools. class sizes can shrink in regular public schools as well as providing smaller class sizes in the Charter School itself without placing undue burdens on taxpayers.
Charter schools often better meet the needs of students because they are smaller schools. They are governed by a board of parents, business leaders, and educators who can be more responsive to individual needs due to the smaller number of students and parents involved. Research amply demonstrates that optimal school size is between 200 and 400 students, and charter schools are much more likely than neighborhood schools to fall into this ideal range.
What are the most common reasons charter schools are started? | The biggest reason charter schools are started is because parents want an alternative to their child's current education or to meet a specific need. The second most frequent reason is to allow for more parent involvement in their child's education. The last reason is to gain more autonomy, both for parents and teachers. Because of streamlined, community-based operations, charter schools are able to educate students well in spite of receiving far less funding per pupil than neighborhood schools.
How can charter schools help taxpayers? | Charter schools function differently from public schools. In order to have a new public school, a bond election must be held to raise money for a new building. To start a new charter school, founders must find a suitable existing structure that can be modified to the school's needs. No new taxes are needed to do this. Often charter schools will exist in storefronts of other unrented facilities, allowing for a rejuvenation of business in that area.
How are charter schools funded in Utah? | Charter schools are funded by the taxpayers. For this reason, charter schools are public schools. But charter schools receive only 75% of the PPR (Per Pupil Revenue) that is given to public schools. Regular public schools are funded at 100% PPR.
Charter schools are also able to offset the costs of operations through fundraising and grant applications.
What if charter schools fail to provide what they promise? | A charter school is allowed three years to produce what it promised in its charter. If it fails to live up to the charter, the State School Board has the power to shut it down. To date, the failure rate of charter schools is very low. Only 4% of all charter schools nationwide closed their doors in the past 9 years.
In addition to standardized tests, most charter schools (70%) use five or more assessments to measure school progress. These reports include parent surveys, demonstrations of student work, and student surveys.
Is it true that charter schools don't provide the same academic opportunities as public schools? | No. Often charter schools provide more educational opportunities. For example, charter schools offer 10 per student as compared to 8.9 per student in public schools, according to national studies. More charter schools offer foreign languages to students, especially in elementary grades, than do public schools.
If Utah allows more charter schools, won't they replace our public school system? | No. Even in states that allow for unlimited charters to be granted like Arizona, charter schools make up only 4% of all public schools, and in colorado they only make up 2% of all public schools.
How can my child attend a charter school? | If you are on the committee to start a charter school, then your child is guaranteed a space. The children of the committee can make up no more than 20% of the schools population. All others are admitted on a first come, first served basis until the school reaches capacity. If a waiting list is formed, students are granted a space on a lottery basis.
Can any child attend a charter school? | Yes. Charter schools may not discriminate. Children cannot be refused on the basis of color, race, religion, or disabilities.