What is a Charter School?}
Charter schools are nonsectarian public schools. They are not private or “voucher” schools. Charter schools are publicly funded and are open to all students. They do not charge tuition and have no admission testing or screening.
They differ from private or regular public schools by virtue of being chartered. The charter is a performance contract with the entity that charters it. The charter details the school’s program, goals, and methods of assessment. Charter schools operate with increased autonomy (from the rules of a public-school board, for instance) in exchange for accountability. They are accountable for both academic results and fiscal practices to several groups: the authorizer that grants the charter, the parents who choose to send their children, and the public that funds them. Charter schools in Wisconsin give their students the state’s standardized tests and report results publicly.
Capitol West Academy is chartered by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and funded by the State of Wisconsin and local taxes. Charter schools receive significantly less per-pupil funding than do public schools.
*Information taken in part from the Maryland Charter Schools Network
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