“What’s a Charter School?” And Other Frequently Asked Questions

“What’s a Charter School?” And Other Frequently Asked Questions

While public charter schools are common in the United States, there are still misconceptions about what exactly they are, how they operate, and what they offer.

Athlos schools are charter schools. At Athlos Academies, we support communities looking to offer multiple schooling choices. As school boards, parents, and other interested parties research charter schools as viable options for education, we have collected frequently asked questions about charter schools as a resource.

Interested in opening a charter school in your community? Fill out our interest form.

Hallway inside a charter school with character traits on the wall.

Q: What is a charter school?

A: Charter schools are tuition-free, public schools that focus on an innovative teaching method or program of instruction. Charter schools are granted greater flexibility than traditional schools, in exchange for higher accountability.

Q: What makes a charter school different from a traditional school?

A: Charter schools are schools of choice, meaning families choose the charter school for their child rather than attending a traditional public school based on location. While traditional public schools must adhere to specified regulations, charter schools can operate with more flexibility.  Charter schools are accountable to achievement goals set in their charter and can be closed if they do not meet these measures.

Q: Who can attend a charter school?

A: Like traditional public schools, charter schools are open and tuition-free to any student. There are no admission requirements or entrance exams. Charter schools do not discriminate based on race, gender, or disability.

Three little girls hugging each other on a playground, smiling and laughing.

Q: Are charter schools nonprofit?

A: Yes. Charter schools are non-profit organizations and are tuition-free. Some states allow outside organizations to manage charter schools, but this only accounts for 12% of charter schools in the U.S. Athlos Academies is an education service provider dedicated to student success, and is contracted by and accountable to the non-profit, independent governing board.

Q: How are charter schools funded?

Like traditional public schools, charter schools are tuition-free. They, like traditional public schools, receive state and federal funding based on enrollment. These resources differ from state to state, learn about charter school laws in your state here.

Q: Why would a governing board contract with an education service provider?

A: Charter school governing boards contract with education service providers for a number of reasons:

  • Athlos Academies can leverage economies of scale through centralized services that a charter school alone would not be able to access.
  • We can alleviate day-to-day management pressures school leaders are faced with, allowing them to focus on being the instructional leader and collaborate with other leaders in the network.
  • Schools are able to direct more resources into the classroom when they take advantage of innovative financing models like the one we offer.
A few educators sitting in a meeting together on computers. One of the computers has a sticker on it that reads hashtag team Athlos.

Q: What role does Athlos Academies play, and how does it interface with the local charter school board?

A: The local school board contracts with Athlos Academies for the management of the school’s day-to-day operations. The local school board is responsible for governing the school, including providing leadership, making strategic decisions, and holding the education service provider accountable for the performance of the school.

Q: How can I start a charter school?

A: Charter schools are often started by interested parties such as parents, community members, teachers, school administrators, and others. With more than 10 years of experience in the charter school space, Athlos Academies can assist in the development of charter schools in all stages of formation and operation.

If you are interested in opening a charter school in your community, fill out our interest form.

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