What is a Charter School?
Charter schools are publicly funded and open to all students in New York State through a non-discriminatory admissions lottery. Each charter school is governed by a not-for-profit board of trustees which may include educators, community members, and leaders from the private sector. Charters have freedom to establish their own policies, design their own educational program, and manage their human and financial resources. Charter schools are accountable, through the terms of a five-year performance contract, for high student achievement.
Charter schools were established to:
- Provide families with an increased number of high quality school choices;
- Improve student achievement;
- Increase learning opportunities for all students, with an emphasis on at-risk students;
- Encourage use of innovative teaching methods/educational designs;
- Create new professional opportunities for teachers, administrators, school staff;
- Change from rule-based to performance based accountability
Enrolling your child in a Charter School
Any child eligible for admission to a traditional public school is eligible for admission to a charter public school. Admission to a charter school cannot be limited on the basis of disability, race, creed, gender, national origin, religion, ancestry, intellectual ability, measures of achievement or aptitude, or athletic ability. If the number of applicants exceeds the number of available seats, a random selection process, such as a lottery, must be used. However, charter schools do give preferences to “at risk” students, siblings of students already enrolled in the charter school, and students living in the charter school’s school district of location.
If you are interested in applying for admission to any charter school, you must contact the charter school directly to inquire about its application /enrollment timeline and process. Please look up our charter school directory page for the most up-to-date information on the location of charter schools, contact information, and grade levels served .
As of the 2020-21 school year, New York has 326 operating charter schools serving over 150,000 students. Since May 28, 2010, when Chapter 101 of the Laws of 2010 was enacted, the cap on the number of charter schools in New York State has been 460. Since their inception in 1998, public charter schools in New York State have benefited from a quality authorizing environment and rigorous monitoring, and oversight. The following resources provide additional information on charter schools in New York State.