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Is Charter Arts a Public School?

Charter Arts, opened in 2003, is an audition-based public charter school and celebrates its nineteenth year as one of the most respected high schools for the arts in the nation.  More than  2,000 Charter Arts graduates are now making a positive impact on our community, our nation and our world.

What is a Charter School?

Charter schools are elementary or secondary schools in the United States that receive public funding but operate independently.   Charter schools were created to provide innovative curriculum and empower parents to have a choice in their child’s education.

On June 12, 1997, The Pennsylvania Senate passed Bill No. 123 which allowed for the establishment of charter schools in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

After developing the curriculum and submitting a charter application to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Performing Arts (now named the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts) opened its doors in 2003.

The Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts (Charter Arts) is held to obligations and responsibilities with the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) like a traditional public school.  Charter Arts students are assessed like other Pennsylvania students through Keystone Exams (and prior to 2013, the PSSAs).  Charter Arts teachers use PA Common Core Standards to drive their curriculum planning. The Student Performance Profile (updated to PA Future Ready Index in 2018) for the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts is posted with PDE just like the traditional public school.

Read more about Charter Arts’ curriculum.

A charter school’s charter is approved by its sponsoring district(s).   A school’s charter defines the school’s mission and the implementation of that mission.  The sponsoring districts for Charter Arts are the Bethlehem Area School District and the Northampton Area School District.  These two districts renew the charter every five years. Northampton Area School District renewed the Charter Arts charter in 2022, and the Bethlehem Area School District renewed the Charter Arts charter in 2017 (the new charter renewal process is in progress for 2023).

Read more about charters on the PDE website.

Charter schools receive public funds from the sending school district of a child who chooses to attend.  The student’s sending/home school district utilizes a funding formula developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (form 363) and can deduct more than 20 categories of expenditures from their budget that are not passed on to charter schools.  Home school districts may deduct for services such as Nonpublic School Programs, Adult Education Programs, Facilities Acquisition, Construction, Improvement, Community / Junior College Programs, and Student Transportation Services.

Charter Arts is an independent charter school, it is not affiliated with any other charter school.  Charter Arts is a non-profit organization.