Charter Schools - FAQs

This page contains frequently asked questions about charter schools.

  1. Are charter schools permitted to charge tuition and fees?
  2. Must a charter accept any student?
  3. Are charter schools required to provide meals or transportation to students?  
  4. Are charter schools required to provide a certain number of days or hours of instruction?   
  5. What are the requirements for student/teacher ratio and class size for charter schools?
  6. How do I obtain records from a closed charter school?
  7. Are the teachers at open-enrollment charter schools required to be certified?
  8. Is a charter school required to have a full-time school nurse?
  9. Must charter schools provide a teacher planning period like traditional public schools do?
  10. Must open-enrollment charter schools have written employment contracts?
  11. What are the procedures for filing a complaint against a charter school?
  12. Can my child enroll in a virtual charter school?
  13. Is K-12 a charter operator in the state of Texas?

  1. Are charter schools permitted to charge tuition and fees?
    An open-enrollment charter school may not charge tuition (except for certain prekindergarten classes). A charter school may only charge the same fees that a traditional public school may charge. lists allowable fees.
  2. Must a charter accept any student?
    As a general rule, charter schools are open enrollment and must accept any student who applies. There are exceptions though. A charter is only allowed to serve students in the grades in its approved charter. The school may also only accept students who live in the charter's approved geographic boundary. A charter also will have a cap on the total number of students it may serve.
  3. Are charter schools required to provide meals or transportation to students?
    The charter must provide meals if 10% of the students qualify for free or reduced breakfast. requires the school provide a breakfast program for qualified students.

    A charter school does not have to provide transportation for students unless it is a condition in a student's Individualized Education Program (IEP). 
  4. Are charter schools required to provide a certain number of days of instruction?
    House Bill (HB) 2610, passed by the 84th Texas Legislature, amends Texas Education Code (TEC), §25.081, by striking language requiring 180 days of instruction and replacing this language with language requiring districts and charter schools to provide at least 75,600 minutes of instruction, including intermissions and recess. 
    Charter schools are subject to the 75,600 minutes requirement. To receive full funding, a charter school must offer 75,600 minutes of instruction, including intermissions and recess, minus any minutes waived by the TEA in writing.
  5. What are the requirements for student/teacher ratio and class size for charter schools?
    Charter schools are not subject to that state such guidelines for districts. Instead, the charter for the school sets any student-teacher ratios or class size limitations.

  6. Charter school records for students and staff of formerly operating charter schools are housed at Education Service Center Region 13. To request a copy of records, please call 512-919-5418. Alternatively, a form may be downloaded from the service center’s website at: . The completed form should be returned to ESC Region 13. Instructions are available on that website.
  7. Are the teachers at open-enrollment charter schools required to be certified?
    It depends. Teachers at an open-enrollment charter school must have at least a baccalaureate degree unless they are a special education or bilingual education/ESL teacher. These teachers must also have state certification. The governing body of a charter holder may set the qualifications for teachers at a standard above what state law requires.
  8. Is a charter school required to have a full-time school nurse?
    No. Charter schools are not required to hire a school nurse. If a charter school does hire a nurse, that person is not required to be a full-time employee or to be full time at any one location. If a charter school wanted to hire only one person as a nurse, that person must be an RN because an LVN is not allowed to work without supervision.
  9. Must charter schools provide a minimum teacher planning period like traditional public schools do?
    Because does not apply to charters, the decision whether or not to have planning periods is a local issue. Even so, if the school's charter states it will provide a teacher planning period, it must do so.
  10. Must open-enrollment charter schools have written employment contracts?
    No. State law does not require that charters enter into employment contracts with professional employees. Instead, the governing body of the charter holder makes this decision. They may also set their own salaries for professional employees.
  11. What are the procedures for filing a complaint against a charter school?
    The process should begin by approaching the campus administrators with any concerns. If the problem is not resolved at the campus, the next level would be the superintendent. If the issue is not solved at this level, approaching the charter holder board is the next step. The charter’s board has the responsibility of ensuring that the charter follows all school laws.  Ensure that you are following the charter's listed grievance process; it is important to follow the steps and timelines required by a posted grievance process, as it allows the charter's governing board to make a decision. 
    If you have followed all of these steps but feel that your complaint still requires attention from the agency, and the complaint falls under an issue the TEA has the authority to investigate (except for Special Education), visit the TEA Complaints webpage. Instructions and more information are available there.  If your complaint involves Special Education, please visit this page instead.  The Texas Legislature has given TEA the authority to investigate issues involving:
     
    • student records;
    • teacher service records;
    • admissions and enrollment procedures;
    • tuition;
    • teacher qualifications (non-NCLB matters);
    • criminal history concerns;
    • governance;
    • conflicts of interest;
    • nepotism;
    • financial mismanagement;
    • state testing violations (TAKS, STAAR); and
    • special education programs.
  12. Can my child enroll at a virtual charter school?
    There is a requirement in that a student is eligible for full-time online schooling through the state virtual school network only if they attended school at a brick and mortar public school in Texas the year prior, are a dependent of a member of the United States military who was enrolled in a publicly funded school the year prior, or has been placed in substitute care of the state.  Please visit the Texas Virtual School Network page for more information about online school programs.
  13. Is K-12 a charter operator in the state of Texas?
    No.  K-12 is an educational service provider; they do not operate a charter school in the state of Texas.

If you have any questions about the information on this page, contact the Charter Authorizing Office by email at CharterSchools@18hsm.com or by phone at (512) 463-9575.