Charter schools are public schools that operate on a performance contract, or “charter,” with the Duval County School Board and are intended to expand school choice options for students. Charter schools are freed from many of the regulations that govern traditional public schools, but they are held accountable for academic and financial results. Charter schools must hire certified teachers, and they are evaluated and assigned a school grade using the same standards and criteria as traditional public schools. The contract between the charter school’s governing board and the sponsor (DCPS) details the school’s mission, program, goals, students served, types of assessments and ways to measure success.
Charter schools are open to all students in the District but may target specific students such as a specific age group or grade level; students at-risk of dropping out of school; students residing within a reasonable distance of the school; students who meet reasonable academic, artistic or other eligibility standards; or students articulating from one charter school to another. A lottery is used for admission when applications exceed available openings. Charter schools must ensure that transportation is not a barrier to equal access for all students residing within a reasonable distance of the charter school.
Duval County has 35 charter schools serving grades kindergarten thru twelfth. Each charter school has its own governing board and is operated by independent contractors and Educational Management Organizations (EMOs).