A charter school is a public school and may provide instruction in any of grades K-12. A charter school is usually created or organized by a group of teachers, parents, community leaders, or a community-based organization and is usually sponsored by an existing local public school board or county board of education. Specific goals and operating procedures for the charter school are detailed in an agreement (or “charter”) between the sponsoring board and charter organizers.
A charter school is generally exempt from most laws governing school districts, except where specifically noted in the law. California public charter schools are required to participate in CAASPP (California Assessment of Student Performances and Progress) program. The law also requires that a public charter school be nonsectarian in its programs, admission policies, employment practices, and all other operations, and prohibits the conversion of a private school to a charter school. Public charter schools may not charge tuition and may not discriminate against any pupil on the basis of ethnicity, national origin, gender, or disability.