Charter Schools are tuition-free, public schools that have the flexibility to be innovative, self-governing, and yet are held accountable for student and operational performance. Charter schools are independent public schools with rigorous curriculum programs.
The "charter" establishing each such school is a contract detailing the school's mission, program, goals, students served, methods of assessment, and success measurements. This contract is between the school and the entity granting the charter (the authorizer). In New Mexico, the authorizer is the local school district or the NM Public Education Commission (NMPEC). RioGAFA is contracted through NMPEC.
NM Charter schools are accountable to both the authorizer and their board – as well as to the students and families they serve – to produce positive academic results and adhere to the charter contract. Charter schools must also follow all state and federal public school laws.
Charter schools exist to offer families a choice in the public education system. Each charter school offers different innovative educational programs. Differences also include school and/or classroom size, approach, and programming, allowing families to select a school that best fits their child's unique learning style.