General FAQs

Please find the answers below to the most frequently asked questions at KIPP Austin.

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What is a Charter School?

Open-enrollment charter schools are public schools that have the flexibility to adapt to the educational needs of individual students. Open-enrollment charter schools vary in mission and model, serving a wide range of students, many with needs beyond the one-size-fits-all traditional public school. Often, these charter schools provide a personalized learning environment that promotes greater student achievement. In exchange for some autonomy, charter schools have increased accountability, and must meet the testing standards dictated by the state.

On charter campuses, school leaders are permitted more freedom in managing their school, allowing them to respond in the best interest of both parents and students. Teachers at charter schools are encouraged to structure lessons to the specific needs of their students. Some charter schools even provide curriculum that specializes in a certain field such as the arts, mathematics or science while others provide a more general education. Charter schools vary depending on the specific educational mission set forth in their contract with the State.

Charter schools offer quality, non-traditional public education options

Charter schools receive state funds based on the average daily attendance of students (same as traditional public schools); however, they do not receive funds from local tax revenue and the majority, including Texas charters, do not receive state facilities funding. Texas Education Agency (TEA) data indicates that charter schools receive approximately $1200 less in total revenue per pupil than traditional public schools.

Charter schools were authorized by the Texas Legislature in 1995 to provide an alternative to traditional public schools. Texas has a 215 state cap on open-enrollment charters. To date, open enrollment charters serve approximately 102,000 students on over 437 campuses across the state. In the State of Texas, charter schools operate under and receive academic accountability ratings from the Texas Education Agency. All charter students in Texas take the same State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) and End of Course (EOC) tests as traditional public school students. Enrollment in Texas charter schools has increased. Last year, there were over 40,000 students on waiting lists for charter schools. Where space at a charter school is limited, admission is frequently allocated by lottery-based admissions.

Are KIPP schools public schools?

Yes. KIPP schools are tuition-free, public charter schools open to all students. There are 209 KIPP schools across the country educating early childhood, elementary, middle, and high school students.

Every KIPP school is approved to operate by a charter school authorizer—typically a district school board, university, or state department of education—that makes sure the school is living up to the commitments in its charter and is in compliance with relevant federal, state, and local requirements. KIPP schools are primarily funded through public federal, state, and local dollars, along with supplemental funding through charitable donations from foundations and individuals

How are KIPP schools funded?

KIPP schools are public charter schools that are primarily funded by local and state dollars, along with some funding from the federal government.

Local and state per-pupil funding covers the vast majority of KIPP’s operational costs. To fund KIPP’s expansion and ensure the sustainability of KIPP schools, KIPP regions raise additional funding from local donors and foundations.