Charter School FAQS
Charter schools are public, tuition-free schools that are open to all students. One way public charter schools differ from traditional schools is that they have greater flexibility to nurture students' interests and put their unique needs first.
In exchange for that freedom, the State of California holds public charter schools accountable to higher standards for academic, financial, and managerial performance. Public charter schools are governed by oversight boards made up of parents and community members.
1. Are charter schools for-profit schools?
All California public charter schools are not-for-profit schools. Though for-profit charter schools are allowed in some other states, they are not allowed here.
2. How much do charter schools cost?
California public charter schools provide tuition-free public school options to students and families. That’s why they’re often called “open-enrollment” charter schools—because they are open to all students.
3. Are Charter Schools free?
Yes. Public charter schools provide a tuition-free education option for students and their families. Since charter schools are free and open to all students, they are often called “open-enrollment” charter schools.
4. Who can attend a charter school?
Public charter schools allow any school-aged children to attend if they live within the charter school’s geographic boundary, which is approved by the state.
5. Can charter schools cherry-pick students?
No. Public charter schools do not cherry pick students and are legally prohibited from selecting students based on academic ability or other preferences.
If the number of applications exceeds the number of available seats at a public charter school, the charter school holds a random lottery to fill seats. Therefore, charters by law may not choose high-performing students to fill their classrooms.
6. Do charter schools hurt traditional public schools?
Public charter schools do not have any overall negative impact on the enrollment, budgets, or academics of traditional public schools. Charter schools ARE public schools. They are simply another option for families within the public education system.
7. Do charter schools enroll all students?
Yes, public charter schools enroll all students. In fact, charter schools enroll higher percentages of underserved students across all demographics.
Additionally, public charter schools are helping historically-underserved students achieve at a higher level. Low-income students, students of color, special education students, and English learners all attend college at significantly higher rates when they attend a charter school.
8. Do charter schools serve students with special needs?
Yes, public charter schools offer services for students with special needs. In fact, 11% of students in Kairos Public Schools are students with special needs—a similar rate as traditional public schools.
9. Do charter schools serve English Language Learners?
Yes, public charter schools enroll ELLs just like traditional public schools. Charter schools are particularly well-equipped to serve these students. Thanks to their autonomy, flexibility, and resources, charter schools can adapt to meet the English language instruction needs of students and their families.