FAQ

FAQ

West Jordan
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South Jordan
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What is a charter school?
What is the educational difference between a charter school and a district school?
Can anyone attend a charter school?
How many charter schools are there in the United States?
Why would/should a parent choose a charter school for their child?
How are charter schools financed?
Where can I get additional information about charter schools?

What is a charter school?

A charter school is an independent, public school established and operated by a locally formed Board of Trustees pursuant to a charter issued by the State Office of Education. Charter schools allow parents the choice of a free, public education for their child within an environment centered on the needs of children in a particular school, rather than a school district at large.

The Board of Trustees is comprised of local community leaders and parents, who are solely focused on the well being and performance of their particular school, rather than a typical district that has stewardship over numerous schools. Charter Schools receive their funding from the State and Federal Governments in much the same way other public schools do.

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What is the educational difference between a charter school and a district school?

Charter schools are established by educators, community organizations, and/or parents, who can select from myriad available curricula an educational program that suits their one school. This permits a charter school to implement a cutting-edge educational plan, rather than follow a more generic, traditional approach. Moreover, educational quality and policy at a charter school can be monitored and improved on a hands-on, frequent basis, which is more difficult within a school district. Students who attend charter schools do so by choice, not by assignment; similarly, educators who teach at charter schools do so by choice. Of course, in exchange for greater autonomy, charter schools are expected to produce results superior to non-charter schools.

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Can anyone attend a charter school?

Yes. Like other public schools, charter schools must be open to every child regardless of race, religion, disability or academic ability. However, many charter schools have specific educational missions focusing on particular topics or students with particular needs. Also, charters have a cap on enrollment. They may need to hold an enrollment lottery if more students apply to a class that is already full. At Hawthorn Academy, the target class size is 25 students.

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How many charter school are there in the United States?

The first charter schools opened in Minnesota in 1991. In 1996, there were 250 charter schools nationwide. By 2005, almost 1 million students were enrolled in close to 3,300 charter schools nationwide. To date, forty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have passed charter school legislation.

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Why would/should a parent choose a charter school for their child?

Parents have innumerable reasons for choosing a charter school. Chief among these reasons are smaller class size, better student-to-teacher ratio, innovative curriculum and learning processes, well rounded education, greater accountability, and local control. Is Hawthorn Academy a good fit for your children? Come and see!

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How are charter schools financed?

Charter schools are funded on the principle that state funds follow the student. A differentiated WPU is applied to Charter School students. In distributing funds under the Minimum School Program Act, to charter schools, charter school pupils shall be weighted, where applicable, as follows:

The vast majority of funding comes through the WPU. In addition, the legislature appropriates funds each year to replace some of the local property tax revenues that are not available to charter schools. Charter schools may also apply for state and federal start-up funds and specialized funds if qualifying students are served in approved programs.

A charter school may not charge tuition or require students or parents to make donations and is subject to the same rules regarding school fees as other public schools.

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Where can I get additional information about charter schools?

Find more information on charter schools at:

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
Public School Review
US Charter Schools
Utah Association of Public Charter Schools
Utah State Office of Education

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