Frequently Asked Questions
- What are charter schools?
Charter schools are public schools; they are free and open to all students where they operate contingent on available space. Charter schools are responsible for advancing student achievement by meeting or exceeding state education standards.
Each charter public school is governed by an independent school board whose sole responsibility is oversight of that particular school. Each charter school has a sponsor, an organization with the authority to approve and oversee charter schools. A university, community college and other entities can be sponsors, if they meet the standards of accountability and performance set out by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The University of St. Louis (UMSL) is Tessera Hall’s sponsor.
- How do charter schools differ from private and public schools?
Private schools decide their own curriculum, staffing, organization, and budget. These institutions are funded by tuition payments and non-public contributions such as religious organizations, endowments, grants and charitable donations. These schools select from among students who apply for admission.
Traditional public schools do not charge tuition and receive their financing from local, state and federal government funds. They may not discriminate against students because of race, gender, or disability. In most cases, they must admit all students who live within the borders of their district and follow regulations established by the local school district.
Like traditional public schools, charter schools do not charge tuition or fees, and they may not discriminate against students because of race, gender, or disability. Charter schools determine their own curriculum, staffing, organization, and budget. In exchange for this autonomy, charter schools promise to educate pupils well by meeting or exceeding Missouri’s educational performance standards. If charter schools fail to meet performance standards, they will be closed.
- How is a charter school funded?
Charter schools receive funding like other public schools. They report their Average Daily Attendance and are funded based on that number. In Missouri, public charter schools receive approximately 75 percent of the funding received by traditional public schools. Charter schools receive no public funding to support start-up costs, capital needs or operational expense shortfalls and rely on individuals, fundraisers, corporate support, and grants to supplement public funding