What is a Charter School?

Charter schools are free public schools open to New Jersey students.  There are currently 89 charter schools serving 49,100 students in 40 cities and 17 counties throughout New Jersey. (Check out the most recent  Charter School Fact Sheet.)

Unlike traditional public schools, charter schools are governed by an independent non-profit board of trustees. Charter schools have freedom and autonomy to innovate to meet the needs of diverse learners but are ultimately held accountable for producing strong student outcomes. Charter schools run on performance contracts and are held accountable for providing a high-quality education to their students. If they do not meet performance goals, a charter school can be closed.

  • Publicly-funded Tuition-free and open to all students
  • Authorized by the Commissioner of Education (NJDOE)
  • Run on four to five-year performance contracts
  • Governed by an independent non-profit board of trustees
  • Subject to state laws related to health, safety, civil rights, certification, academic standards, and student assessment
  • Able to use increased autonomy and innovative teaching methods to meet the needs of all students

Read NJCSA’s 20-Year Charter Report to see the amazing results charters are getting for kids! Go to NJDOE’s Office of Charter Schools’ website to learn more about charter authorization.