The Truth About Charter Schools - Separating Fact From Fiction

Q: Are Charter Schools public schools?

A: Yes, charter schools are public schools that are allowed the freedom to be more innovative with greater autonomy while being held accountable for improving student achievement.

Q: How many students attend public charter schools in South Carolina?

A: In 2021, there are nearly 50,000 students enrolled in South Carolina's 88 public charter schools.

Q: Is there any test or exam to get into a charter school?

A: No, entrance exams are not allowed for admission to any public charter school in South Carolina. By law, charter schools must have a fair and open admission process, conducting outreach and recruitment to all segments of the community they serve. SC Charter Act requires there be no barriers to entry. The SC Charter Schools Act requires schools to hold a lottery if there are more applications than open slots. Public charter schools are nondiscriminatory in admission and employment practices.

Q: How many "for-profit" charter schools are there?

A: ZERO. Public charter schools must be nonprofit corporations governed by a board of directors and follow state ethics laws. Public charter schools, just like district-run schools, purchase goods and contract for services based on the needs of their students. All of SC's Public Charter Schools must submit an annual audit to their sponsor and the SCDE and must file 990's with the IRS.