What is a charter school?

Charter schools are public schools of choice. They are granted a specific amount of autonomy to make decisions concerning the structure, curriculum, and educational emphasis of the school. Charter schools are held accountable for the academic achievement of the students in the school.

Can anyone attend a charter school?

Yes. Like other public schools, charter schools are open to every child regardless of religion, race, disability, or academic ability. However, many charter schools have specific educational missions focusing on particualar topics. Charter schools have an enrollment capacity which limits the number of students the school can enroll.

What are the difference between charter schools and traditional public schools?

A charter school functions as its own district, which provides greater flexibility in curriculum adoption, increased opportunity for local input, more parental involvement, and a ability to specialize in the school’s area of chosen focus.

Students tend to be motivated by an interest in the focus or teaching method of the school instead of proximity to the nearest traditional public school.

Do charter schools charge tuition?

No. Charter schools are public schools and may not charge tuition or require students or parents to make monetary contributions (although donations are accepted and appreciated). Charter schools are subject to the same rules regarding school fees as other public schools.

How are charter schools funded?

Charter schools are funded on the principle that state funds follow the student. A differentiated weighted pupil unit (WPU) is applied to charter school students. In accordance with the provisions of the Minimum School Program Act that govern distribution of funds to charter schools, the vast majority of funding comes through this WPU calculation. In addition, the legislature appropriates funds each year to replace some of the local property tax revenues that are not available to charter schools. Charter schools may also apply for state and federal start-up funds and specialized funds if qualifying students are served in approved programs.

A charter school may not charge tuition or require students or parents to make donations and is subject to the same rules regarding school fees as other public schools.

How much parent involvement is required?

Parent involvement is a crucial element in student success. AAI asks that families volunteer a minimum of 35 hours per academic year. Please note that this expectation is per family and not based on the number of students per family.

Do charter schools have the same testing requirements as traditional public schools?

Yes. Charter schools are public schools and have the same requirements as all Utah public schools in regards to student testing. For more information, learn about SAGE, Utah’s computer adaptive assessment system aligned to the state’s core standards.

What are the credential requirements for charter school teachers?

Consistent with all public schools in Utah, all of AAI’s teachers will be licensed, certified teachers. They may alternatively be qualified to teach under the Utah State Office of Education’s Alternative Route to Licensure Program, or otherwise authorized through the Utah State Office of Education.

Where can I get additional information on charter schools?

Further information about charter schools can be found at the following websites:
Utah State Office of Education
Utah Association of Public Charter Schools