We hope our Frequently Asked Questions page helps you better understand PUC Schools and Charter Schools in general. If you don’t find an answer to your question in our FAQs, please feel free to contact PUC Schools and we will be happy to answer your questions.

What is a Charter School?

A charter school is a nonsectarian public school of choice that operates with freedom from many of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools. The “charter” establishing each school is a performance contract detailing the school’s mission, program, goals, students served, methods of assessment, and ways to measure success. The length of time for which charters are granted varies, but most are granted for 3-5 years. At the end of the term, the entity granting the charter may renew the school’s contract. Charter schools are accountable to their sponsor-usually a state or local school board-to produce positive academic results and adhere to the charter contract. The basic concept of charter schools is that they exercise increased autonomy in return for this accountability. They are accountable for both academic results and fiscal practices to several groups: the sponsor that grants them, the parents who choose them, and the public that funds them.

The intention of most charter school legislation is to:

  • Increase opportunities for learning and access to quality education for all students
  • Create choice for parents and students within the public school system
  • Provide a system of accountability for results in public education
  • Encourage innovative teaching practices
  • Create new professional opportunities for teachers
  • Encourage community and parent involvement in public education
  • Leverage improved public education broadly
Why Are Charter Schools So Popular?

Proponents believe charter schools provide better opportunities for child-centered education and more educational choices for their children. Operators have the opportunity and the incentive to create schools that provide new and better services to students. And charters, bound by the high standards they have set for themselves, inspire the rest of the system to work harder and be more responsive to the needs of the children.

How Do Charter Schools Differ from Traditional District Public Schools?

Charter schools, including PUC Schools, operate from 3 basic principles:

Accountability – Charter schools are held accountable for how well they educate children in a safe and responsible environment. They are judged on how well they meet the student achievement goals established by their charter, and how well they manage the fiscal and operational responsibilities entrusted to them. Charter schools must operate lawfully and responsibly, with the highest regard for equity and excellence. If they fail to deliver, the authorizer may not re-issue their charter and close them down.

Choice – Parents, teachers, community groups, organizations, or individuals interested in creating additional educational opportunities for children can start charter schools. Local and state school boards, colleges and universities, and other community agencies can sponsor them. Students choose to attend, and teachers choose to teach at charter schools.

Autonomy – Charter schools are freed from the traditional bureaucracy and regulations that some feel divert a school’s energy and resources toward compliance rather than excellence. Proponents of charter schools argue that instead of jumping through procedural hoops and over paperwork hurdles, educators can focus on setting and reaching high academic standards for their students.

How Do Charter Schools Impact the Public School System?

Charter schools provide a variety of services to children that arguably place healthy pressure on the district to provide equal or better services. In 2001 the U.S. Department of Education released a major study called The Impact of Charter Schools on School Districts. They reported that more than half of traditional districts created new educational programs in response to charter schools. Proponents maintain that charters schools also increase accountability in many districts.

How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Charter School?

Charter Schools are tuition free. They are public schools and funding for the schools come from federal, state, and local taxes, just as traditional public schools are funded.