Charter schools are independently managed, open admission, public schools funded by the state. First approved by the Texas legislature in 1995, charter schools are run by private operators and boards, much like private schools, and can offer a more specialized range of curriculum. While publicly funded by the state, charter schools receive significantly less public funds than comparable traditional public schools. Despite this, charter schools are held to the same accountability standards as other public schools but do have more freedom over hiring and removing staff.
Like traditional public schools, charter schools are tuition-free, must publicly report their financial and academic performance, comply with all federal laws and most state laws and administer state testing (STAAR/TAKS). There are some unique differences, however.