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					In February of 1996, the Texas Legislature authorized the creation of state charter schools. These schools are independent public
schools and are required to meet state accreditation requirements. Charter schools are designed and managed by concerned
teachers, administrators, parents, and community members. After the charter is created, it is submitted to the State Board of
Education for approval, and is thereby granted a 502 ( c) (3) non-profit organization. The non-profit organization governing our
school is Alpha Academy, Inc. A Board of Directors has been established to create and implement the policies and procedures of
the charter school. Charter schools are accountable to the state Board of Education and are monitored by the Texas Education
Agency (TEA) to ensure that they meet both state and federal guidelines. Many rules and regulations that apply to traditional public
schools have been removed from charter schools; yet with this freedom come fiscal and student academic accountability.

Our School Policy: We accept students from diverse economic and social backgrounds, providing them with a safe, structured
learning environment. All students will be expected to possess and display ethical and appropriate social behaviors, demonstrating
respect for self, respect for others, accountability for their actions as well as their academic success.

According to the Texas Education Code, the purposes of charter schools are to (1) improve student learning; (2) increase the choice
of learning opportunities within the public school system; (3) create professional opportunities that will attract new teachers to the
public school system; (4) establish a new form of accountability for public schools; and (5) encourage different and innovative
learning methods.

1. What is a charter school?
A charter school is a public school of choice that operates independently under a charter agreement with the State of Texas and the
Texas Education Agency. Parents can opt to enroll their children in a charter school without paying tuition, since charter schools are
supported with state tax revenue. Charter schools are subject to the same state and federal academic accountability standards as
traditional public schools and are guided by their own unique mission statements.

2. What are the purposes of charter schools?
The purposes of charter schools are to: (1) improve student learning; (2) increase the choice of learning opportunities within the
public school system; (3) create professional opportunities that will attract new teachers to the public school system; (4) establish a
new form of accountability for public schools; and (5) encourage different and innovative learning methods.

3. How long have charter schools been in existence?
The Texas Legislature authorized the establishment of charter schools in 1995, and some of the “first generation” charter schools
have been in operation since the fall of 1996.

4. Are there different types of charter schools?
Yes. Four classes of charters are authorized by the Texas Education Code: (1) home-rule school district charters; (2) campus or
campus program charters; (3) open-enrollment charters; and (4) college or university charters. There are currently no schools
operating under home-rule school district charters. The boards of trustees of several independent school districts have granted
campus or campus program charters. Most of the charter schools in Texas operate under open-enrollment charters which are granted
by the State Board of Education. Two charters have been awarded to a senior university. The remainder of these FAQs will focus on
open-enrollment charters, as the Texas Education Agency is more directly involved with these charters.

5. Who may be granted an open-enrollment charter?
The State Board of Education may grant an open-enrollment charter to one of the following types of entities: an institution of higher
education; a governmental entity; or a non-profit corporation that has tax exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal
Revenue Code

A majority of the open-enrollment charters that have been granted are held by non-profit corporations; however, several open-
enrollment charters have been awarded to universities and governmental entities. (Note: Senior public universities may also apply for
college or university charters under Chapter 12, Subchapter E).

This information came from http://www.tea.state.tx.us/charters.aspx

				
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posted:12/1/2011
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