Public Charter Schools
Public charter schools are public schools of choice that operate with freedom from many of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools. The charter establishing each such school is a performance contract detailing the school's mission, program, goals, students served, and methods of assessment.
Applicants for a new public charter school must submit a Letter of Intent and follow the charter schools application process. If a charter school is approved, the initial approval is granted for a period of up to 5 years. At the end of the term, the State Board of Education may renew the school's contract after the public charter school has followed the renewal process. There is also a process by which a charter can be amended to add campuses, increase or decrease enrollment caps, change grade configurations, and/or request or rescind waivers. Public charter schools are accountable to the State Board of Education to produce positive academic results and adhere to the charter contract. Charter schools are also responsible for submitting both a First Quarter and Fourth Quarter Report.
In Arkansas there are two basic types of public charter schools. An open-enrollment charter school is a public charter school run by a governmental entity, an institution of higher learning or a tax-exempt non-sectarian organization. Open enrollment schools can draw students from across district boundaries.
A district conversion charter school is a public school converted to a public charter school. Conversion schools can only draw students from within the school district's boundaries.