What is a charter school?

Charter schools are independent, tuition-free public schools, serving students from kindergarten to 12th grade. The “charter” establishing each school is a contract, which states the school’s mission, program and measurable goals. Charter schools may be authorized by the State Department of Education or a local school district. They are accountable to their authorizer, parents and the public. Charter schools are different from traditional public schools in that they can only remain open as long as they deliver the results that they promise.

  • What makes charter schools different?

    A board of directors, made up of parents, teachers and community members, governs and makes decisions for the school. Each charter school has its own academic program and unique character.

  • Why were charter schools created?

    Delaware’s charter school law was passed in 1995 so parents would have more public education choices for their children. Since every child is different, each one should have an opportunity to attend a school that best matches the way he or she learns.

  • Where do charter schools get money to operate?

    Delaware’s charter schools get operating money from the state as well as from local school districts. Funding is allocated based on the number of students enrolled. However, Delaware currently does not provide money for charter school facilities, so each school must find and pay for its own building.

  • How do students attend a charter school?

    Any child may attend a charter school. Students are not assigned to charter schools based on neighborhoods or where they live. Parents must choose to send their child to a charter school.

  • What about standards and testing?

    Although each charter school has its own academic program, their curriculum must align with the Delaware Content Standards. Like all other public school students, charter school students participate in the Delaware Student Testing Program.

  • Who starts charter schools?

    Delaware’s charter schools have been started by parents, teachers, and community members. All share a common goal to create new choices in public education.