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Ask An Advocate: Charter Schools

Q. What is a charter school?

A. A charter school is a public school. Because they are public schools, they are required to provide students with disabilities a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) in the most integrated environment (least restrictive environment/LRE). Charter schools usually have a particular emphasis, such as a foreign language, art-focused, geared for students with a particular disability, science or environmental education. Charter schools are required to follow the same laws and regulations as any public school. They also must provide services to students in special education. Charter schools must be open and welcoming to all students. Parents must apply for admission to a charter school. The school cannot ask if your child has a disability or is on an IEP when you apply. When a student is admitted to a charter school, they must use the IEP your student has. They may meet with you later to discuss changes or edits to the IEP.
A directory of charter schools can be found at:

http://w20.education.state.mn.us/MdeOrgView/search/tagged/MDEORG_CHARTER_LEA%2CMARSSOperating