Are charter schools public schools?
Yes, charter schools are free, public schools. There is no tuition to attend a charter school.
What makes charter schools different from other public schools?
Charter schools are mission focused.
They are governed by their own school board which is answerable to the parents and the State Board of Education.
Public charter schools control their own curriculum, staffing, organization and budget.
Students who attend public charter schools do so by choice; likewise, educators who teach at public charter schools elect to teach at that school.
Charter schools can be closed for producing unsatisfactory academic outcomes or failing to maintain sound financial management.
Are charter schools part of the local school district? If not, to whom are they accountable?
No, public charter schools are their own school district or local education agency (LEA).
If not, to whom are charter schools accountable?
Charter schools are most answerable to the parents. If parents withdraw their children from a charter school, the funding is withdrawn, also. If there are no students, there are no funds; and the school must close.
As with other public schools in North Carolina, public charter schools must be non-religious in their programs, admissions policies, governance, employment practices and all other operations. Unlike other public schools, however, public charter schools may enter into partnerships with any community group for secular purposes. Public charter schools must sign off yearly that they are not religious-based entities.
North Carolina's public charter schools are subject to all of the same federal constitutional, statutory and regulatory requirements applicable to the state's other public schools, including laws governing special education, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the provision of instruction to students who have limited English proficiency, and federal desegregation orders. Public charter schools must comply with the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Public charter schools, however, have freedoms in personnel laws specific to public charter school law.
Do charter schools receive the same funding as other Public Schools?
Unlike traditional public schools that receive 100% of their funding from federal, state, and county governments, charter schools do not get funding for transportation, facilities, or meals.
Charter schools do not receive local bond funds or NC State funds for buildings.
There’s a 28% gap in funding between charter schools and other public schools that must be bridged through fundraising.
How are Two Rivers finances managed and does anyone make a profit from it?
Two Rivers is incorporated as a non-profit, tax-exempt (501-c3) organization that is governed by a local board made up parents, members of the local community, and representatives from staff.
There is no third-party management organization involved as is the case with some charter schools.
Charter schools do have more financial flexibility than local schools. For example, they are allowed to move funds if there are overages in specific budgeted item where traditional public schools may not.
State law does subject public charter schools to annual financial audits and audit requirements adopted by the state board of education.
Is enrollment to Two Rivers open to everyone?
Any student who is a resident of North Carolina may enroll in Two Rivers Community School. There are no admission tests.
All students are accepted up to the size limit per classroom established by the board and approved by the state.
If there are more applicants than available classroom slots, selection is made by lottery. A waiting list is made for those that do not get in with ranking on the list also being set by lottery.
Parents may withdraw their children from the charter school at any time.
Like all public schools in North Carolina, public charter schools are required by law to provide equal access to all, including students with disabilities and those who are limited English proficient.
Except as provided by law or the mission of the school as spelled out in its charter, admission cannot be limited on the basis of "intellectual ability, measures of achievement or aptitude, athletic ability, disability, race, creed, gender, national origin, religion or ancestry" (NCGS 115-238.29F(g)(5)). Preference can be given to siblings of students who are currently enrolled in the school and to the children of staff members.
Public charter schools must serve any child that enters the school with an individual education plan (IEP).
Does Two Rivers use the standard public school curriculum?
While North Carolina's public charter school law does not mandate that charter schools follow the standard course of study, the state board of education does require that they to participate in the North Carolina Testing Program (see htttp://ncpublicschools.org/accountability/testing/generalinfo for more information). The state assessment model includes both performance and growth standards. Some public charter schools have chosen to use nationally recognized assessment instruments in addition to their participation in the state tests.
Does Two Rivers have the same teacher accreditation standards as other public schools?
State public charter school legislation requires state certification by at least 75 percent of teachers in elementary schools and 50 percent in middle and high schools. Public charter school teachers must follow ESSA requirements for highly-qualified staff, which include a bachelor's degree and demonstrated subject-matter competence.
Are charter schools held to same academic standards as other public schools?
Public charter schools are held to higher academic accountability standards than are traditional public schools.
Charter schools can be closed for producing unsatisfactory academic results.
Two Rivers is among the top performing schools academically in Watauga county and the state of North Carolina.
Do charter schools take money from other public schools?
Public charter schools are funded through state and federal funds. Public charter schools receive funding for each student enrolled in the school, based on the county where the student lives. The state allocates to each public charter school the same average per-pupil allotment that is given to the local district in which the public charter school is located. Additional funds are granted for children identified with special needs and for children with limited English proficiency.
When local students choose public charter schools over the district school, the local funding is reallocated to the public charter school serving the child and vice-versa.
Local districts are not required to provide facilities for charter schools. Public charter schools are restricted to using state funds for leasing facilities or making loan payments and that money must come out of the general operating budget of the school.