Understanding Charter Schools

As a North Carolina Charter School, Carolina International School is a public school that receives funding from the state and county for each enrolled student to help cover operational costs. As a public school, there is no tuition for attending. However, unlike traditional public schools, charter schools do not receive additional funding for facilities, transportation, or specialized programs. Charter schools depend on donations of time and money from families and the school community to bridge the gap between financial needs and the public funds available. For more information about the CIS Capital Campaign, click here.


Charter schools have the flexibility to set their own school calendar, though they must meet the state requirements for the minimum number of instructional hours in a school year. Charter schools also have more flexibility than traditional schools in the hiring and pay scale of teachers and administration, allowing the leadership of the school to attract the staff that best meets the schools’ needs.

Transportation and Lunch

Charter schools are not required to provide transportation and lunch. This is largely a funding and facilities issue as well. At CIS, we encourage carpooling or use of a third-party transportation service for families that need assistance with providing transportation daily. For meals, CIS works with private vendors to provide a hot lunch option for students who choose not to bring their lunch. In addition, we offer “pizza Fridays” by popular request for most of the school year. At this time, CIS does not have the facility for a cafeteria; students eat in their classrooms or outdoors.



Any North Carolina resident can attend any charter school regardless of their county of residence. A random lottery is held each year to select the students who will be offered available seats at the school. Visit the Enrollment section for more information about the CIS enrollment process.



Charter school students are required to take the same standardized tests as required by the state. The curriculum at CIS follows the North Carolina Standard Course of Study, which is built around the Common Core framework.