1. What is a charter school?
A charter school is a type of public school. Charter schools provide education through a "charter," which is a type of contract granted by a chartering entity such as the State Board of Education or the board of trustees of an independent school district.
2. What are the purposes of charter schools?
- Improve student learning.
- Increase the choice of learning opportunities within the public school system.
- Create professional opportunities that will attract new teachers to the public school system.
- Establish a new form of accountability for public schools.
- Encourage different and innovative learning methods.
3. How long have charter schools been in existence?
The Texas Legislature authorized the establishment of charter schools in 1995, and some of the "first generation" charter schools have been in operation since the fall of 1996.
4. Who is eligible to attend Manara Academy?
Below is a list of School Districts from which Manara Academy will accept students:
- Arlington ISD (Independent School District)
- Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD
- Coppell ISD
- Dallas ISD
- Fort Worth ISD
- Frisco ISD
- Grand Prairie ISD
- Grapevine-Colleyville ISD
- Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD
- Irving ISD
- Lewisville ISD
- Mansfield ISD
- Northwest ISD
- Plano ISD
5. What are the school hours for Manara Academy?
Mondays-Thursdays: School will begin at 8:00 a.m. and dismiss at 3:30 p.m. Fridays: School will begin at 8:00 a.m. and dismiss at 1:00 p.m. This will allow our teachers and other staff members crucial staff development time.
6. What is the Student-to-Teacher Ration?
As with most parents, our target community shares the desire for students to mature with high self-esteem and respectful attitudes to others and their environment. Qualities such as respect, responsibility, courage, charity and compassion give students the means to achieve their maximum learning potential, and these same qualities enable them to meet life’s challenges. According to Emerson, “character is higher than intellect.” Manara Academy is equally committed to the moral and the intellectual development of children in their earliest years by the example of good moral citizens and role models. The maximum student-to-teacher ratio will be 1:18 for K, 1:21 for 1st-3rd grade and 1:26 for grades 4th-8th. This ratio will allow Manara teachers to:
- Spend more time on instruction and less time on discipline matters,
- Accommodate individual learning needs of particular students,
- Give attention when a child is struggling,
- Give particular instruction to students with language barriers or limited educational backgrounds,
- Increase participation among all students,
- Create a safer, more comfortable environment.
7. Who may be granted an open-enrollment charter?
The State Board of Education may grant an open-enrollment charter to one of the following types of entities:
- An institution of higher education.
- A governmental entity.
- A non-profit corporation that has tax exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
8. Is there a limit on how many open-enrollment charters the State Board of Education may grant?
Yes. The State Board of Education may not grant more than 215 open-enrollment charters. There are currently approximately 205 active open-enrollment charters, some of which authorize the sponsoring entity/charter holder to operate more than one campus under the charter.
9. Can charter schools charge students tuition and/or fees?
Open-enrollment charter schools may not charge tuition and may only charge fees that independent school districts are authorized to charge.
10. How are open-enrollment charter schools funded?
Like independent school districts, open-enrollment charter schools receive state funds based on the average daily attendance (ADA) of students. Unlike independent school districts, however, open-enrollment charter schools do not receive funds from local tax revenue and do not have access to state facilities allotments. Open-enrollment charter schools may also receive funds from private funding sources.
11. Are open-enrollment charter schools required to administer state achievement tests?
Yes. Open-enrollment charter schools are subject to the statewide assessment program to the same extent as other public schools.
12. Are students of open-enrollment charter schools required to attend school for a certain number of days during a school year?
No. While other public schools must provide at least 180 days of instruction per school year, open-enrollment charter schools have the discretion to determine the length of their school year. However, because open-enrollment charter schools receive funding based on average daily attendance, many of them provide at least 180 days of instruction per school year in order to receive full funding.
13. Are students of open-enrollment charter schools required to attend school for a certain number of hours each day?
No. Open-enrollment charter schools are not subject to the seven-hour school day requirement that applies to other public schools. However, a student must receive a minimum of four hours of instruction per day, exclusive of intermissions and recesses, in order for the student to be considered in attendance for a full day for funding purposes.
14. How long is the term of an open-enrollment charter?
The term for an open-enrollment charter is not set out in statute; however, the current practice has been to grant open-enrollment charters for a five-year period and then to renew the charters for a three- to five-year period.
15. Can a charter be revoked before its term expires?
- Committed a material violation of the charter, including failure to satisfy accountability provisions prescribed by the charter.
- Failed to satisfy generally accepted accounting standards of fiscal management.
- Failed to protect the health, safety, or welfare of the students enrolled at the school.
- Failed to comply with Texas Education Code Chapter 12, Subchapter D or another applicable law or rule
The Commissioner may also modify, place on probation, or deny renewal of a charter based on these same four reasons.
Yes. The Commissioner may revoke the charter of an open enrollment charter school if s/he determines that the charter holder:
16. Must an open-enrollment charter school be open to all students?
YES. In general, an open-enrollment charter school may establish no admissions requirements except that students meet the age, grade level, and residency requirements specified in its charter. An open-enrollment charter school may not deny admission to a student based on sex, national origin, ethnicity, religion, disability, academic ability, artistic ability, athletic ability, or based on the school district that the child would otherwise attend. If its charter so provides, an open-enrollment charter school may deny admission to a student who has a documented history of a criminal offense, a juvenile court adjudication, or discipline problems under Chapter 37, Subchapter A of the Texas Education Code
17. How do students enroll in an open-enrollment charter school?
Each open-enrollment charter school must have an application period. Each applicant must complete and submit an application within the application period that the school establishes. On receipt of more acceptable applications for admissions than available positions, an open-enrollment charter school must, in most cases, fill the available positions by lottery. An open-enrollment charter school that receives fewer applicants than available spaces does not need to conduct a lottery.
18. Is there a limit on the number of students that may be assigned to a classroom at an open-enrollment charter school?
Yes. Although state statue does not establish a student-teacher ratio or class size for open-enrollment charter schools, these schools must adhere to the limitations contained in their charters.
19. Are the teachers at open-enrollment charter schools required to be certified by the State of Texas?
It depends. State law does not require a teacher employed by an open-enrollment charter school to be certified unless the teacher is assigned to teach special education or bilingual education, in which case the appropriate state certification is required. The minimum qualification under state law for a teacher at an open-enrollment charter school, other than a special education or bilingual education teacher, is a high school diploma. However, the governing body of a charter holder may set the qualifications for teachers at a standard above what state law requires.
20. Are open-enrollment charter schools required to pay teachers and other professional employees according to the minimum salary schedules set out in the Texas Education Code?
No. Open-enrollment charter schools are not required to comply with the salary provisions in the Texas Education Code. They may set their own salaries for professional employees.