What is a Charter School?

Q: What Are Public Charter Schools?

Charter schools are independent public schools that are free to innovate and are held accountable for student performance. They are publicly funded, tuition free, and nonsectarian. Like traditional public schools, they are open to all DC residents and receive public funds according to how many students enrolled. A public charter school exercises exclusive control over its expenditures, administration, personnel, and instructional methods. (Taken from http://www.dcpcsb.org/)

Q: How do public charter schools differ from traditional public schools?

Public charter schools can differ from traditional schools in several ways:
1. Public charter schools are governed by a non-profit Board of Trustees
2. The school leaders are able to select its own curricula and teaching methods; as well as, enter into its own contracts (i.e. staff, services)
3. In DC, charter schools may be exempt from DCPS rules
4. Charter schools typically have greater financial control at the school level

Q: Where do public charter schools get their funding?

In DC, funding comes directly from the DC government through the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula. There is a per-student allowance from the DC government for facilities and private donations from community members and corporations.

Q: How many public charter schools are there in DC?

As of May 2016, there are 114 public charter schools in Washington, DC, operated by 62 nonprofits, located in 102 separate facilities around the City.

Q: How many students attend public charter schools in DC?

DC public charter schools serve 45% of all public school children in Washington, DC.

Q: How much does it cost to go to a public charter school?

All public charter schools are free to students who are DC residents.

Q: Where can I learn more about DC charter schools?

District of Columbia Public Charter School Board: http://www.dcpcsb.org.

Information regarding public charter schools was provided by Friends of Choice in Urban Schools (FOCUS) and from the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board website.