What is a Charter School?

Maine’s charter school law was passed in 2011 to give parents choices for their children’s education. The law is intended to:

•Improve student learning and achievement;
•Increase the availability of choice to parents and students when selecting a learning environment;
•Encourage the use of different and innovative learning methods;
•Establish a new system of accountability for schools;
•Make the school the unit for educational improvement;
•Establish new professional opportunities for teachers.

A charter school is a public school that operates independently of district schools and policies. It is managed by a board of directors under a charter granted by the Maine Charter School Commission. Charter schools are public schools open to everyone, free of charge. There is no tuition. Charter schools cannot, and do not select their students. If there are more students than available seats, public lotteries are held to determine who will attend.

Charters are funded by allocating a portion of education spending from districts based on how much money districts spent on each student. Since districts no longer educate these students, they no longer receive the funding for that child. The money for that child’s education is paid by the sending school administrative unit to the public charter school.

Additional information about Maine Charter Schools can be found on the Department of Education website: Maine Charter School Commission.  http://www.maine.gov/csc/index.html

For information about the Maine Association for Charter Schools, the nonprofit organization that worked diligently to bring public charter schools to Maine, please visit their website. http://www.mainecharterschools.org/