|Charter schools are often started by people in a community who want an alternative to traditional schools. They want schools that are community oriented and focused on the special interest of the community, parents and students.|
There are currently 51 charter schools serving more than 16,243 students in six (6) counties of Maryland. These counties are: Anne Arundel, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Frederick, Prince George, and St. Mary's. Three new charters are projected to open during the 2010-2011 school year. (For more information on Maryland's charter schools click on the links, current or proposed charter schools)
Maryland's law defines a charter school as a public school that is nonsectarian, is chosen by parents for their children, and is open to all students on a space available basis. A public charter school can be either a newly created school or a conversion of an already operating public school.
Charter Schools in Maryland can only operate with the approval of a local board of education in accordance with a written Charter Agreement developed and agreed upon by the local school board and the administrative operator of the public charter school. Just like any other public school, a charter school must comply with federal, state, and local laws prohibiting discrimination and must also comply with applicable health and safety laws.
The Charter School Act in Maryland was passed and Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. signed the measure into law on May 22, 2003. The new law authorizes the establishment of public charter schools in Maryland. This Maryland Public Charter Schools Model Policy and Resource Guide is designed to guide local boards of education and school systems in Maryland in assisting individuals and organizations interested in establishing public charter schools.
With the enactment of the new law, Maryland joined a growing number of states that allowed the development and operation of public charter schools. The Maryland statute invites the creation of public charter schools to help introduce alternative means within the public school system to provide innovative learning opportunities and creative educational approaches to improve the education of all students.
Carol Beck, Charter Schools Director
Office of School Innovations
Division of Student, Family, and School Support
Maryland State Department of Education
200 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone: (410) 767-3678
Fax: (410) 333-0880