About Charter Schools

In California, all charter schools are public schools. And like all California public schools, California charter schools are funded by public taxes and are always authorized and overseen by public bodies (local school boards, County Boards of Education or the State Board of Education) that are either elected or appointed by elected officials.

Charter schools are tuition-free, public schools open to all students that wish to attend, space permitting, with no selective admissions process. If more students apply than a charter school can accommodate, there will be a random public lottery.

There are currently 1,230 charters educating 581,100 students in California.

In California, charter schools receive the same state funding per student as all schools in the public system.

Charter schools are accountable for maintaining education achievement standards in two important ways: 1) Charter school petitions must be reviewed and renewed by the school district or authorizer every five years; and 2) the school must sustain enrollment by satisfying families enough to continue to choose this alternative option.

Charter schools can establish governance structures that include the teachers, parents and administrators together to offer more flexibility and freedom of control over the curriculum, budget and staffing.

Charter schools offer the full range of counseling and special education services available in the school district in which they operate.

Charter schools include the full range of diversity reflected in the local community with respect to race, socio-economic standing, English language learning ability, student aptitudes, special needs, and family structures.

In California, charter schools are required to hire credentialed teachers for core subjects, just like all other public schools.

For more information about charter schools, visit the California Department of Education website here.