Charter School Information

What is a Charter School?

Starting a Charter School


Charter Schools in Maryland

Fact Sheet


Local School System Contact Information

Charter School Job Opportunities

History of Maryland Legislation


How many states have charter school legislation?

Forty- two states, and Washington, D.C., have charter school laws in place.  The Maryland General Assembly passed charter school legislation during the 2003 session.

Why should Maryland authorizers grant charters to founding groups?

Maryland children and families need the best public education that we can provide.  What is a charter school? Charter schools are independent public schools that are allowed to be more innovative and are held accountable for improved student achievement.

  • Increase opportunities for learning and access to quality education for all students
  • Create choice for parents and students within the public school system
  • Provide a system of accountability for results in public education
  • Encourage innovative teaching practices
  • Create new professional opportunities for teachers
  • Encourage community and parent involvement in public education
  • Leverage improved public education broadly

Who attends charter schools?

Across the country, charter schools are serving the same students as traditional public schools.  In some states charter schools serve significantly higher percentages of minority or economically disadvantaged students than the traditional public schools. 

How much will it cost for a child to attend a charter school?

Charter schools are publicly funded and therefore do not charge tuition.  All students attend free of charge.  The charter schools receive funding based upon the number of students who enroll. 

How do charter schools choose their students?

Charter schools must have a fair and open admissions process.  When more students apply than can be accommodated, many charters use a lottery to randomly determine which students are accepted.  Many charters have waiting lists.

What is the difference between charter schools and other public schools?

Charter schools are schools of choice, meaning teachers and students choose them. They operate with freedom from some regulations that apply to traditional public schools. They generally offer teachers and students more authority to make decisions than most traditional public schools. They are accountable for academic results and for upholding their charter.

What kind of federal support is there for charter schools?

Through the Public Charter Schools Program the U.S. Department of Education offers grants to states, which then award subgrants to individual schools to assist them in planning, design, and initial implementation of new charter schools. Dissemination grants are also available to successful charter schools, with three or more years of experience, to support activities through which they help other groups open new or improve existing public schools. Maryland was awarded a three-year Federal charter school grant in 2004, that was not renewed in 2008. Charter schools must now apply directly to the Federal Charter School Program (CSP) for funding for planning , design and implementation grants.