Charter Schools in Arkansas

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Charter Schools in Arkansas Charter Schools Introduction charter schools have become a common site in many states today. Currently, there are over 24 states with charter schools established and many other states have passed legislation for the creation of charter schools. Arkansas passed legislation in 1996 that would allow for the creation of charter schools in the state. Governor Mike Huckabee made it a priority in his educational agenda in 1997 to allow a pilot program of 15 schools to be implemented statewide (Cohen, 1998). Even though Governor Huckabee and legislation is supporting this idea, there have been no successful applications so far. Charter applicants seek approval of the state department of education for the charter school but have meet with resistance so far. Fourche Valley School District in Yell County was the first to apply for charter school status in 1996, but was quickly turned down. The school has yet to reapply for the status. No other school districts in the state have attempted to file as of yet. Statement of the Problem. What is a charter school and what are the financial implications of creating a charter school? Review of Literature Charter schools are public schools but with a twist. They are created and operated by the educators, parents, community leaders, and others. The school must be sponsored by a designated local or state educational organization that monitors the school's progress, but that is as far as it goes. The school is free from the traditional bureaucratic red tape and policy makers from the state level. The school is basically governed at the local level. Some people view them as a local business meeting the demands of the community. The product they produce are educated children. If the quality of service is not being meet, the school answers to the community. This concept has high levels of accountability being placed on the school. As successful businesses know, if you produce a high quality product, the business will grow and succeed, if you produce anything less, you go out of business. Opening a charter school also brings with it the ability to choose the school where you want your children to go. The center for education reform has taken a strong view on the subject of choice with charter schools. They believe that if the students choose to attend a certain school and the teachers choose to teach at a certain school, then the chances of success are more likely because both have chosen to be there (Center for education reform, 1999).
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