Understanding Charter Schools
Understanding Charter School Funding

Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy is a North Carolina Charter School. Charter Schools receive a specified amount of public money for each enrolled child. Unlike other public schools, however, Charter Schools do not receive capital funding to cover the cost of obtaining or leasing a building or a school bus. Charter Schools also receive no additional funding for specialized programs or for teachers with advanced degrees.

This method of funding leaves Charter Schools at a financial disadvantage as compared to other public schools. Therefore, Charter Schools depend upon private donations of time and money to meet their financial and other program needs. Historically, the Scholars Academy has depended on parents and other friends of the school to fund approximately 20% of its budget and has benefitted from countless hours of volunteer time donated by parents.

The Scholars Academy welcomes all intellectually qualified children admitted through its admissions lottery. No parent is legally obligated to make any contribution to the school, financial or otherwise. However, we ask parents to understand that the unique program that we have is only able to continue through the generous contributions of parents and others interested in advancing education for highly gifted children and that they will be asked to contribute. We also ask that all parents seriously consider what financial gift they are able to make to the school to ensure the continued success of their child’s distinctive educational environment. We sincerely appreciate all levels of support provided by the members of our school community.

About Charter Schools

What is a charter school in North Carolina?
  • A charter school is a public school, which is operated under a written contract with the state with the state board of education.
  • This contract, or charter, describes how the school will be organized and managed, what students will be expected to achieve and how success will be measured.
  • Required to meet state and federal laws and to participate in North Carolina standardized testing.
How is a charter school created and governed?
  • Charter schools are created by a group of parents, teachers, community leaders and/or a local community-based organization who apply for permission to open a school.
  • Many charter schools are focused on a specific population, such as at-risk or disadvantaged children. A school may also be organized around a particular model for curriculum delivery, such as the Basic School Model or the Expeditionary Learning Model.
  • In North Carolina, a charter school is governed by a private nonprofit board of directors.
How is a charter school different than a regular public school?
  • In North Carolina, charter schools receive exemptions from several state codes and district rules regarding curriculum, instruction, budget and personnel as incentives to create these schools.
  • As part of the agreement, charter schools must meet state accountability requirements in order to continue to operate. Charter school must demonstrate student achievement, financial stability, and parent satisfaction.
  • Traditional public schools do not have these requirements for continued operation.
Why does North Carolina have charter schools?
  • The Charter Schools Act of 1996 is part of a statewide initiative to reform education in North Carolina public schools.
  • The charter school concept is designed to foster innovation and creativity, and bring accountability, choice and competition, and increase awareness about quality education.
  • Allow charter schools to provide opportunities for teachers, parents, pupils, and community members to establish and maintain schools that operate independently of existing schools.
How is a charter school financed?
  • Charter schools receive the same per-pupil funds that traditional schools receive.
  • However, charter schools do not receive funding from school bonds. Public funds must be used for capital needs as well as operations. Many charter schools have targeted fund-raising activities to bridge the funding gap created by unfunded capital needs.
  • The Charter Schools Act of 1996 states that private persons and organizations are encouraged to provide funding or other assistance to the establishment or operation of charter schools.
For other questions about State Charter School policies got to the Office of Charter Schools website: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/charterschools/