What is a charter school?

Charter schools are independent public schools of choice. They are independent because they are not part of a local school district. Each school sets its own curriculum and hires its own teachers.

They are public because:

1. they must accept all students who wish to enroll (subject to space availability);
2. they are free, charging no tuition to families; and
3. they are non-sectarian.

Charter schools have the flexibility to innovate in staffing, structure and mission in exchange for greater accountability. The "charter" establishing each school is a legal agreement detailing the school's mission, programs, methods of assessment, finances, and measures of success. Each school is regularly audited and measured based on student performance.

What will it cost me to send my child to a charter school?

Charter schools are free and open to all.

Are charter schools selective of students?

No. charter schools want ALL students in Philadelphia to have opportunity and choice. We are not selective of students. Students are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Most schools conduct an open lottery every year.

Do I have to live in the neighborhood where the charter school I would like to attend is located?

No. Charter schools are open to students from throughout Philadelphia. Some charter schools give preference to students within their neighborhood.

What about transportation to and from school?

Bus transportation, in most cases, is provided by the school district.

How many charter schools are there in Philadelphia?

There are presently 86 charter schools including 20 Renaissance charters.*

How many students attend charter schools in Philadelphia?

As of 1/7/2015, there are 64,301 students enrolled in Philadelphia charter schools.*

How many standalone charter schools are there in Philadelphia?

There are 52 charter schools in Philadelphia not affiliated with multi-campus Charter Management Organizations.*

What year was the first charter awarded in Philadelphia?

September 1, 1997 following passage of the Pennsylvania Charter School Law Act 22 in 1997.*



* Information provided by the Philadelphia Charter School Office on January 7, 2015.