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Charter schools are independently run public schools authorized by one of three different bodies under a New York State Education Law. The three bodies include local school districts, the State University of New York (SUNY) Charter Schools Institute and the state Board of Regents.
In comparison to other, “traditional” public schools, charter schools exchange greater autonomy for greater accountability. Charter laws differ around the country in the 40 states and the District of Columbia where they exist.
Autonomy: As independent school districts, charter schools have the freedom to choose their own staff members, curricular programs and budgets and to negotiate work rules.
Accountability: Charter schools are held to higher performance standards than traditional public schools. In New York State, charters operate under five year contracts (or charters) with the authorizer. Schools must meet exacting metrics each year in order to qualify for renewal of the charter at the end of each five year charter term.