Charter schools are innovative public schools, offering choices for families and providing greater accountability for results. Charter schools are widely diverse in philosophy, mission, and style of instruction. Every charter school reflects the vision of its founders: the arts, technology, basic skills or exploratory learning, for example.
Charter schools are intensely independent. They are sponsored by districts but operate free from many of the regulations that are inherent in district schools. The charter is a performance contract with a school district. Each contract spells out the mission and goals of the school and its areas of accountability to the district. Instead of being accountable for compliance with rules and regulations, they are accountable for academic results and for upholding the terms of their charter. A charter may run for at little as one year or as long as five years before it must be extended or renewed.
Public charter schools are funded by Oregon tax dollars, although at a lower level than district schools. They do not charge tuition. They do not discriminate in either admissions or programs. They participate in statewide testing at appropriate grade levels.They are accountable annually to their sponsoring school boards for student growth and for fiscal responsibility.The most important commonality among public charter schools is that parents make the decision to apply for their children. Parents know what their children need, and charter schools provide options to meet those needs.