No, OCHSA is a tuition-free, donation dependent public charter school and is part of the Santa Ana Unified School District.
Charter schools are not private schools and the charter law prohibits the conversion of a private school to a charter school. Charter schools must be nonsectarian in their programs, admission policies, employment practices, and all other operations. Charter schools may not charge tuition and may not discriminate against any pupil on the basis of ethnicity, national origin, gender, or disability.
A group of parents, teachers, administrators, community leaders or a local community-based organization typically creates charter schools. This group must write a petition and submit it for approval to the local school board or county board of education for a charter to open an independent school in their community. Charter schools are funded in the same way that all public schools are funded directly from the state of California. All public schools receive funding based on their average daily attendance (ADA).
Charter schools have their own boards of education and operate independently of local school districts. Local school districts and county boards of education, however, have an oversight responsibility over charter schools and review the progress of charter schools. Local school districts, county boards of education and the state can revoke charters. A charter school is generally exempt from most laws governing school districts, except where specifically noted in the law. There are currently 574 charter schools operating in California, serving over 200,000 students. Nationwide there are more than 1 million students attending more than 3,600 charter schools. The number of students attending charter schools is increasing at a rate of about 15 percent a year in the United States.
Charter schools in California are required to participate in the statewide assessment test, called the STAR (Standardized Testing and Reporting) (I bet you knew that already…) program. Charter schools are accountable to their sponsor – usually a state or local school board – to produce positive academic results and adhere to the charter contract. The basic concept of charter schools is that they exercise increased autonomy in return for this accountability.
Many charter schools focus on a particular subject area such as math, science, technology or the arts, like OCHSA. As a public charter school, OCHSA provides a uniquely challenging and nurturing environment focused on individual growth, opportunity and diversity, and U.S. Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Arts have recognized Orange County High School of the Arts as a model arts education program.