A charter school is a public school of choice that operates under the terms of a charter, or contract, with an authorizer, such as the state and local boards of education. Charter schools receive flexibility from certain state and local rules in exchange for a higher degree of accountability for raising student achievement. Charter schools are held accountable by their authorizer(s) for upholding the terms of their charter. The Board of Public Education has authorized five Charter Schools operating within the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System.
Charter schools are public schools. As such they receive public funding, cannot charge tuition, must have fair and open enrollment, must be secular, and are required to serve all student populations, including students with disabilities and English language learners. Charter schools are governed, not by a local board of education, but by an autonomous non-profit board of directors, and they receive flexibility from certain state and local rules and regulations in exchange for a higher level of accountability.
Is there an admissions process for charter schools?
The typical admissions process for a charter school is as follows:
- Application – can require information regarding contact information, residency and grade level. The application to a charter school should NEVER include information that screens applicants such as: prior test data, letters of recommendation or special services, gender, race, language spoken at home.
- Enrollment preferences are then applied to the pool of applicants.
- If the number of applicants exceeds the number of spaces, then a random selection (lottery) will be held. The lottery must be open to the public.
Student registration - admitted students submit information that is excluded from the admissions application. Enrollment procedures for charter schools are the same as those for traditional public schools. To read these requirements, see SBOE Rule 160-5-1-.28.
Do charter schools have an attendance zone?
Yes, charter schools define their own attendance zone within their contract. Enrollment preference is given to students who live within the charter school's defined attendance zone. If seats are not filled after students within the attendance zone are admitted, the school may open up enrollment to any student living within the school district in which the charter school is located.