What is a Charter School?
- Charter schools are independent public schools operated by a non-profit organization.
- They hire their own teachers, design their own academic program, and control their own finances.
- They have their own board of directors that make decisions for the school.
- Some charter schools choose to hire a management company to support school functions.
What must a Charter School do?
- Ensure student health and safety is top priority.
- Provide a curriculum that meets the Florida Standards and Sunshine State Standards.
- Hire certified teachers.
- Assess students in accordance with Florida's accountability assessments.
- Safeguard taxpayer funding and exercise fiscal responsibility.
Who oversees Charter Schools?
- Charter schools are accountable to a Sponsor, which in Florida, is the local school district in which they reside.
- The Charter Schools Office, at the direction of the Superintendent and the Hillsborough County School Board, provide direct oversight of local charter schools.
- A charter school's non-profit Board of Directors is responsible for ultimate oversight and success of their school.
Hillsborough County's Charter Schools Office
The mission of the Charter Schools Office (CSO) is to develop, monitor, and support high performing charter schools through quality authorizing, oversight practices, and meaningful collaboration among all stakeholders.
The vision of the CSO is to provide families with choices by authorizing the highest performing charter schools in the state.
Applications for potential new charter schools have been received for the 2020 review cycle. Visit the Application Review section to learn more.
Apply to Attend a Charter School
Charter schools are open to all students in the state of Florida pending seat availability. Each charter school has its own application and enrollment process that is approved by its governing board. To find out about a specific school’s process, you must contact the school directly.
The charter school shall enroll an eligible student who submits a timely enrollment application, unless the number of applications exceeds the capacity of a program, class, grade level or building. In such cases, all applicants shall have an equal chance of admittance through a random selection process or lottery.
In order for students who reside outside of Hillsborough County to attend a Hillsborough County charter school, the Out of County Application to Enter Hillsborough County Form must be completed and returned to the Charter School to which you are applying.
The questions below can be used to assist parents/guardians in selecting a school for their child/ren. Responses to these questions, along with a school visit, can be helpful in the selection process.
- Does the school meet my family’s basic needs?
- What separates this school from others?
- How long is the school day/year?
- Am I comfortable with the physical environment?
- How are behavior problems handled?
- What role do parents/guardians play at the school?
- What does the school expect from every student?
- How does the school support children with different learning styles and needs?
- How are teachers supported and held to a high standard?
- How is the school performing and what are their goals?