Charter School FAQ


What is a charter school?

Charter schools are public schools that provide parents a choice in the public education of their children. Public tax dollars are the primary funding sources for charter schools. Local, state, and federal dollars follow the child to a charter school. The schools have open enrollment with no discrimination, no religious associations, and no tuition.


How do I enroll my student in a charter school?

Parents must contact each individual school to see if they have openings. If a charter school has more applicants than available slots, an open lottery must be held to fill the spots. View a list of charter schools here.


Aren’t some charter schools impossible to get into unless you know someone who already attends?

Admission to charter schools is by application and lottery if there are more applicants than open spots. Admission preferences may be given to younger siblings of currently enrolled students. Children of teachers and administrators at a charter school may also be given admission preferences at that school. If a school has more applicants than openings, the remaining openings are filled in an open lottery.


What are the residency requirements to attend RTHS?

Students who live in North Carolina are eligible to attend a North Carolina charter school. There are no restrictions about county of residence. Families do need to be in their NC residence at the time of application in order to be placed in the lottery.


How much does it cost to attend a charter school?

Charter schools are tuition-free. They are public schools and funding for the schools come from federal, state, and local allotments.


Are charter school teachers licensed?

Yes, but there is more latitude in charter schools than in conventional public schools. The state requires 50% of charter high school teachers to be licensed. This allows charter schools to be more innovative in seeking out teachers from unique backgrounds. 


Do charter schools take the state-mandated  accountability tests?

Yes. All charter schools are required to take the state mandated End-of-Grade and End-of-Course Tests. View test results of charter schools.


What are the requirements for acceptance into a charter school?

Charter schools typically have a specific mission or focus that defines what students will experience at that school and what will be expected of them as part of that educational community. The only requirement to get into a charter school is the availability of a seat in the requested grade at the school.


Are charter schools associated with the local school systems?

At this time, no charter schools in North Carolina operate under the auspices of a local school system. All charter schools report directly to the State Board of Education instead of their local county. All charter schools in Durham County, for example, operate independently of the Durham County Public School System.


What is the schedule for a charter school?

A charter school’s board of directors defines the start and end of the school year and the time of the school day. Like all public schools in North Carolina, charter schools must hold classes for a minimum number of days or hours.  See the school year calendar for RTHS.


Are charter schools run by large corporations?

Some charter schools in North Carolina are operated by corporations or educational management organizations (EMOs). Some rely on corporations to administer finances and operations. Some charter schools operate independently of external corporations. All charter schools are governed by a board of directors of a nonprofit corporation. RTHS is run by a Board of Directors.


How can I learn more about charter schools?

North Carolina’s charter schools

National Alliance of Public Charter Schools