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What is a NC Public Charter School?

  • Charter schools are PUBLIC SCHOOLS of CHOICE that are authorized by the State Board of Education and operated by independent non-profit boards of directors.

  • Charter schools are TUITION-FREE, independent PUBLIC schools.

  • A charter school is considered its own Local Education Agency (LEA).

  • State and local tax dollars are the primary funding sources for charter schools - “the money follows the child”. Funding for the schools come from federal, state, and local taxes.

  • Charter schools DO NOT receive funds for CAPITAL expenses (building a school building, renovations, etc.)

  • They have open enrollment and CANNOT discriminate in admissions, associate with any religion or religious group, or charge-tuition.

  • Charter schools can only serve students in grades K-12, so if it has a pre-K, it must be separate from the approved public school (with no preference to get into the lottery).

  • They must admit any child residing in NC who is qualified to attend NC schools regardless of which school district where the child resides.

  • Charter schools are REQUIRED to participate in the state’s accountability program and administer end-of-grade and end-of course tests, and provide data needed for NC School Report Cards.

  • ACS will follow the NC Standard Course of Study.

  • Charter schools can provide increased choice and learning opportunities.  ACS is a Project Based Learning school and will also use Responsive Classroom.

  • They can encourage creative teaching methodsACS will use a workshop model for teaching reading, writing, and math.

  • Charter schools and traditional public schools can and should share best practices to benefit ALL NC public school students.

  • Charter schools may provide transportation for students enrolled at the school, but are not required to do so. The charter school must develop a plan so that transportation is not a barrier to any student who resides in the local school district in which the school is located.

  • They may provide, but are not required to provide free and reduced price lunches for students living in poverty.  ACS will provide free and reduced lunches to students that qualify.  However, we are not participating in the federal free and reduced lunch program, at this time.

  • They can modify their academic calendar, but must have a minimum of 185 days or 1,025 instructional hours. The ACS calendar will have a minimum of 1,025 instructional hours (and not necessarily 185 days).

  • Charter schools are PUBLIC schools, they must provide special education and related services to all eligible students. Charter schools must provide all special education supports identified through the Individual Education Plan (IEP) process to students with disabilities determined eligible for EC services.  ACS will have highly qualified special education teachers.

  • When a child enrolls in a charter school with an IEP from a previous school, the charter school must follow that IEP until the charter school's IEP team meets to review and revise the IEP or develop a new IEP.

  • The North Carolina Policies Governing Services for Children with Disabilities are applicable for ALL public school administrators and staff. Pursuant to charter school law and the general statutes governing the education of children with disabilities, a charter school is considered an LEA for purposes of providing special education and related services to children with disabilities.

  • Charter schools are obligated to identify, locate, and evaluate all students who are in need of or suspected of being in need of special education and related services.

  • They are REQUIRED, by law, to do criminal background checks for employment in a fashion similar to that of the district in which the charter school is located. The policy shall be applied uniformly as a requirement for all applicants before an unconditional job offer is made.

  • Charter schools can offer new professional opportunities for educators to innovate and improve instruction.  ACS will release 2 hours early EVERY Wednesday for staff professional development and planning to ensure that our teachers and staff continue to grow as educators and are life-long learners.

  • They do not have to pay into the NC State Retirement system.  ACS will pay into the NC State Retirement system.

  • They do not have to pay employees at the same rate as the state salary scale (and/or local supplement).  ACS will offer competitive salaries for their employees.

  • The law requires 50% of charter school teachers to be licensed. However, charter school teachers must follow No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements for highly qualified staff. All teachers who are teaching in the core subject areas of Math, Science, Social Studies, and Language Arts shall be college graduates. Exceptional Children (EC) teachers must be licensed in NC with a specialty in the EC service area of delivery.  ALL ACS Core General Education and EC teachers will be licensed and highly qualified.

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