Brighter Georgia

Charter Schools

What is a charter school? 

Charter Schools have autonomy from many state regulations in return for increased accountability for their performance.

A charter school is a public school that operates with freedom from many of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools. In exchange, the school must have a “charter,” or performance contract, detailing the school’s plan for success. Charter schools are accountable for positive academic results, sound fiscal practices, and adherence to the charter contract to several groups:  the sponsor that grants them (usually a state or local school board), the parents who choose them, and the public who funds them. The length of time for which charters are granted varies, but most are granted for 3-5 years. At the end of the term, the entity granting the charter may renew the school’s contract. Charter schools are public schools of choice, meaning teachers and students choose them.

Who can start a charter school?
Parents, community leaders, businesses, teachers, school districts, and municipalities can submit a charter school proposal to their state’s charter authorizing entity.

Who attends charter schools?
Nationwide, students in charter schools have similar demographic characteristics to students in all public schools. In Georgia, charter schools serve higher percentages of minority or economically disadvantaged students than traditional public schools.