What is a charter school? A charter school is a public school whose operation is autonomous from the local school district and based on a contract with the State Board of Education. It is funded by the government in much the same way other public schools are. Charter schools typically focus on a special curriculum approach, a new school organization approach or some other feature that sets them apart from local district school offerings.
Why do we need charter schools? People need choice in education to address the different learning needs of their children. For most families, local district schools work well for them, however there are many who need something different but may lack the resources to pursue other options such as private schools and home schools. Charter schools are established to provide additional academic choices within the public school system. Their purpose is to continue to improve student learning, encourage the use of different and innovative teaching methods, create new professional opportunities, establish new models of schools and measurement tools, and provide greater opportunities for parental involvement.
Was Mountainville Academy created as a result of deficient public education? No. Mountainville Academy is a public school; its founders support public education and appreciate the dedication of every educator in the public education system. However, we recognize that all children learn differently and some may not respond to the educational approach that is offered in local district schools. Our purpose is not to compete with district schools, but to increase options for families within the public education system to pick the school that is most suitable for their child's educational well-being.
How do charter schools benefit the community? Besides offering choice in education, charter schools can help relieve some of the overcrowding in existing district schools without placing undue burdens on taxpayers. A charter school is one less school a district needs to bond for. Charter schools also contribute to the local levy by paying property tax, which remains with the school district since charter schools do not receive it as part of their funding. As schools of choice, charter schools provide a beneficial and healthy pressure within the public education system to be more responsive to parents and students, and evaluate improvement. The presence of charter schools in a community often results in increased performance across all surrounding schools.
Do charter schools take money from public schools? Charter schools are public schools. As a public school, charter schools receive revenue per pupil according to state guidelines. This per pupil state funding follows a child to the public school in which they are enrolled, whether it is a district school or a charter school.
Are charter schools subject to the same laws as other public schools? Yes. Laws regarding religion in schools, school fees and tuition, health and safety, civil rights, annual reports, and most other matters are the same as other public schools.
Are charter schools subject to state testing (RISE) and Annual Yearly Progress (AYP)? Yes. Like all public schools, charter schools participate in state testing and are responsible to meet AYP accountability requirements.
Does Mountainville Academy charge tuition? No. Charter schools are public schools and as such may not charge tuition or require students or parents to make monetary contributions (although donations are accepted and appreciated). Charter schools are subject to the same rules regarding school fees as other public schools.
Is Mountainville Academy's enrollment limited to certain types of students? No. A charter school is part of the public education system and is open to all students, without discrimination, on the same basis as other public schools. Like all public schools, charter schools are required to provide access and services to all students, including students with disabilities and those who are limited English proficient. If the number of applicants exceeds the available capacity of the grade levels within the school, students are selected at random by lottery.
How many children are in Mountainville Academy's classes? Mountainville Academy's class sizes average 25 students, however students attend smaller groups for math to be taught at their appropriate skill level. In addition, most classes have an Instructor present in the classroom with the teacher, bringing the teacher/student ratio down to about thirteen.
Are Mountainville Academy's teachers licensed? Yes. Charter schools may only employ educators who hold a valid teaching license or who meet state board requirements for alternative licensure or authorization.
Does Mountainville Academy require uniforms? Mountainville Academy believes a dress standard is a necessary element in promoting a healthy learning environment, including equality, citizenship and school pride. The school has adopted a uniform-style dress standard that attending students are required to abide by.
Is there bus service for Mountainville Academy students? Mountainville Academy's enrollment is open to students from communities near and far, subsequently transportation cannot be provided by the school or the local school district. With the exception of field trips, parents are responsible for the transportation of their children to and from the school and are encouraged to participate in carpool groups.