Jun. 17, 9:00 AM
The Education Interim Committee of the State Legislature holds a public meeting.
Feb. 23 - Mar. 22
Comcast Newsmakers interviews Robyn Bagley about www.Utah-EducationFacts.com
watch the video>>
The 2009 Legislative Session concluded on Thursday, March 12th at midnight
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the landmark report, A Nation at Risk.
In the 2007-08 school year, Utah spent $8,224 per public school student.
Charter schools are independent public schools run by parents or non-profits.
The average class size in Utah is 22.2
High school students can graduate with an associate's degree and a scholarship worth 75% of college tuition.
Charter Schools are public schools that are created by a group of parents, teachers, or community leaders. Charter Schools are governed by a charter or contract with the government rather than being operated by a school district. In this way, Charter Schools have more freedom than the traditional public school to innovate while being held accountable to the obligations and performance standards in their governing charter. In addition, since Charter Schools have no boundaries, they must be responsive to the families they serve or risk losing them.
The first charter schools in Utah opened in 1999. 67 charter schools will be operating in the 2008-09 school year all across the state and along the Wasatch Front, including one online charter school. Each charter school is headed by a Governing Board who appoints the school’s director, the equivalent to a principal in a traditional public school. Since they are public schools, charter schools cannot charge tuition and must be non-religious.
Charters schools offer parents and students additional choices about where students attend school and the school’s curricular emphasis. They allow educators freedom to try new strategies to inspire students and to experiment with innovative ways of educating students. Also, charter schools allow individuals and organizations outside of the traditional education system to create and run public schools.
Charter schools have almost all of the same accountability and performance standards as public schools. There are some key differences. One is that charter schools have an additional accountability plan in their charter, or performance contract with the state, that sets high standards for schools to meet. The other is that charters don’t have boundaries, which means that every child who attends a charter school has chosen to go there, and can choose to leave if they or their parents aren’t satisfied. Those differences make charter schools generally more responsive to parents and more focused on results.
Any group of individuals or non-profit organization can apply to create a charter school. The application must be approved by either the State Charter School Board or a local school board. Applications approved by the State Charter School Board must also be approved by the State Board of Education. Charter school enrollment is only allowed to increase at an annual rate of 1.4% of the total public school enrollment. This limits the number of new charter school approved each year.
Once a charter school application is approved, the group organizing the charter school then works with the entity that approved their application (either the State Charter School Board or a local school board) to set the terms and conditions of the school’s governing charter. The charter is a contract with the government that outlines how the charter school will operate and what its educational goals will be. The charter school must report back regularly to the entity that approved its charter to show that it is meeting its obligations and educational goals. Charter schools that fail to meet the terms of their charter can be shut down.
Charter schools are operated by a Governing Board. ¼ of the members on the Governing Board must be parents from the school. The number of board members and the method for selecting them depends on each school’s charter although at least 1 parent board member must be elected by parents at the school. The Governing Board hires a director who is the top administrator of the charter school and oversees its operation and staff. The Governing Board and director are responsible for making sure that the charter school meets the obligations of its charter.
Charter schools are subject to the same state laws and regulations as traditional public schools and school districts, and must file the same reports to the Utah State Office of Education to show compliance with state laws and regulations. However, charter schools are not bound to the policies set by the local school board. Instead, the Governing Board of each charter school sets their own policies under the terms of their charter.
Charter Schools cannot charge tuition and must accept any student that applies so long as there is space, including students with disabilities. If more kids apply than there is room, which is often the case, the charter school uses a lottery to enroll kids at random. Preference can be given to children who were enrolled the previous year or who have siblings already at the school. Most established charter schools have waiting lists of kids wanting to attend. Some charter schools have over 1,000 students on their waiting list.
Charter schools receive most of their funding directly from the state like school districts. Although a large percentage of the funding from the state comes with specific guidelines on how it should be spent, the majority of state funding is left to the charter school’s discretion on how to spend it.
Charter schools cannot raise their own property taxes or issue bonds. To make up the difference, charter schools receive extra money from the state as well as some property tax revenue from the school district in which they are geographically located. They also work with private investors to raise enough money to construct their own school buildings or rent school space.
Charter schools can apply for Federal grants and must use the money according to Federal regulations.
Charter schools are public schools and do not charge tuition. Like all public schools, Charter Schools are funded by tax dollars.
Charter schools employ certified teachers, and make decisions locally about who to hire and how much to pay their employees.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE
All school-aged children, grades K through 12. Some of these schools have a special focus such as performing arts or science. All charter schools are focused on the academic achievement of their students. Because charter schools are public schools they must accept all students as long as there is space.
HOW TO ENROLL
To enroll in a charter school parents must fill out an application for enrollment at their preferred school by the enrollment deadline. To find out when the deadlines are, please contact the school or visit their website (See a list of charter school contact info>>).
Often, there are more applicants than spots. In these cases, applicants enter a lottery and are chosen at random. Preference is given to current students as well as siblings of current students. Each year, more charter schools open their doors to students and more seats become available.
| Charter Schools Opening in Fall 2009|
|Name||Website||Apply for Enrollment||Location||Grades |
|American Preparatory Academy-The School for New Americans||www.americanprep.org||Now thru end |
of Nov. 30 online
|The Early Light Academy at Daybreak||www.earlylightacademy.org||Begins in November||South Jordan||K-9|
|Emerson Alcott Academy||www.ea-academy.org||Now online||Roosevelt||K-8|
|Excelsior Academy||www.excelsior-academy.org||Now thru Feb. 20, online||Tooele||K-8|
|Hawthorn Academy||--||Coming Soon||West Jordan||K-8|
|Open High School of Utah||www.openhighschool.org||Now online||Statewide online||9 |
|Oquirrh Mountain Charter School||www.oquirrhmountain.org||Begins in December||Farmington||K-8|
|Vista at Entrada, School of Performing Arts & Technology||--||Coming Soon||Washington County||K-8|
| Charter Schools Opening in Fall 2010|
|Name||Website||Apply for Enrollment||Location||Grades |
|American Preparatory Academy (satellite campus)||www.americanprep.org||--||Midvale/Sandy||K-9|
|Maria Montessori Academy||--||--||Weber||K-8|
|Quail Run Primary School||--||--||North Utah County||K-8|
|Weilenmann School of Discovery||--||--||Park City||K-8|