What Are Charter Schools?
Charter schools are tuition-free public schools of choice financed through local, state, and federal funds which are operated independently of the local school boards. Each charter school has its own unique mission that reflects the vision of the school’s founders. Charter schools must meet the educational needs of their students, and must achieve the goals laid out in their charter.
They are open to all students, who typically are selected by lottery.
- They are pioneers and innovators – they are mission driven schools created by educators who envision a school committed to a particular purpose and philosophy.
- They are appealing to teachers because they can harness the often stifled energy of innovative and experienced educators.
- They are meeting parent’s needs by providing education CHOICE. Charter school legislation honors the right of parents to make informed choices about their child’s education by tying state education money to the child, not to the neighborhood school.
- They play an important part in school reform by serving as research and development centers for the public education system.
- They have a record of high student achievement. Most charter schools are succeeding in their mandate. When they fail, they are closed, not unlike a business. To date, less than 9% of charter schools have been closed nationwide. The majority of charter schools that close have done so primarily due to lack of funding, not lack of interest or academic success.
- They are committed to improving public education.
- They are part of the public education system and are free to their students.
How Are Charter Schools Funded?
At North Star we have the benefit of operating under our own standards of conduct and curriculum. We have the freedom through our charter to establish our methods of education and operations, similar to how many private schools operate, but without charging any tuition.
As referenced in ‘What is a Charter School’, charter schools are tuition-free public schools, financed through local, state, and federal funds which are operated independently of the local school boards.
There are some critical distinctions between traditional public schools and public charter schools:
- Many assume we are part of the Meridian School District, but this is not the case. Charter schools are not connected to local geographic school districts. By statute, North Star is a public school within its own school district.
- North Star does receive funding from the Idaho Department of Education. However, unlike traditional public schools, which receive local property tax revenue in addition to state funding, North Star gets no local property tax revenue. Nor does North Star have the ability to generate supplemental tax levy revenue.
- Although we do receive funds from the state, we receive less funding than schools in our local school district.
- To supplement North Star’s budget, we conduct fundraisers throughout the year. They can vary from individual student fundraisers, to school-wide events, to requests for private and corporate sponsorship.