A charter school is a public school that operates as its own Local Education Agency (LEA) under a charter granted by the Commissioner. The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) is the sole charter school authorizer in New Jersey.
The NJDOE authorizes charter schools consistent with national best practice in charter school authorizing*, offering school operators autonomy and opportunities for innovation in exchange for accountability for student outcomes.
NJ Charter School Fact Sheet
Charter schools are:
- Public schools.
- Open to all students from the charter school's district or region of residence on a space-available basis.
- Free. They cannot charge tuition.
A charter school operates under a charter granted by the Commissioner of Education and is independent of the local school district's board of education. It is governed by an independent board of trustees.
The state's charter school law was passed to give parents choices for their children's education. The law is intended to:
- Improve student learning and achievement;
- Increase the availability of choice to parents and students when selecting a learning environment;
- Encourage the use of different and innovative learning methods;
- Establish a new system of accountability for schools;
- Make the school the unit for educational improvement; and
- Establish new professional opportunities for teachers.
Founders of a charter school can be teaching staff members, parents with children attending schools in the district or a combination of both. Founders can also include institutions of higher education or private entities located within the state in conjunction with teaching staff members and parents.
- As of June 2021, there are 91 charter schools currently operating in New Jersey.
- As of June 2021, there are approximately 57,453 students enrolled in public charter schools across the state.
*NACSA's Principles and Standards