Frequently Asked Questions

What is a charter school?

Charter schools are organizations that have a contract or charter to provide the same educational services to students as district public schools. They are nonsectarian public schools that operate with freedom from many of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools.

The "charters" establishing such schools are performance contracts detailing the schools’ mission, program, goals, students served, methods of assessment, and ways to measure success. The length of time for which charters are granted can vary from three to 15 years. At the end of the term, the entity granting the charter may renew the school's contract.

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. They are accountable for both academic results and fiscal practices to several groups: the sponsor that grants them, the parents who choose them and the public that funds them.


What is River City Science Academy?

River City Science Academy (RCSA) is a locally-managed, not-for-profit 501(C)3 charter school organization. RCSA currently operates 6 locations and serves grades K – 12. The mission of RCSA is to ensure all students reach their maximum potential in a diverse, structured, and nurturing environment and to prepare students for a future in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math.


Do charter schools charge tuition?

No, charter schools are public schools that receive public funds. They cannot charge tuition for the regular school day. They may charge fees for before and/or after school care.


Are charter schools required to employ certified teachers?

Yes. Statutory provisions require teachers employed by or under contract with a charter school to be certified as required by current law.


Are charter schools required to perform background checks on their teachers?

Yes. All teachers employed by or under contract with a charter school must pass a background check that includes fingerprinting.


How are charter schools evaluated and assessed?

Every charter school must be evaluated on academic progress and the outcomes agreed upon in the school's binding contract. In addition, individual schools are evaluated and assigned a school grade using the same standards and criteria as traditional public schools.


Are charter schools graded?

Yes. Charter schools are evaluated and assigned a school grade by the Florida Department of Education using the same standards and criteria as district-run public schools.


How are charter school student enrollments funded?

Students enrolled in a charter school must be funded as if they are enrolled in a basic program or a special program at any other public school in the school district. Each charter school must report its student enrollment to the school district and the school district must include each charter school’s student enrollment in school district’s report of student enrollment that is submitted to the state.


What are the specific requirements for charter schools?

A charter school is required by the Florida statutes to:

◦ be nonsectarian in its programs, admission policies, employment practices, and operations

◦ admit students as provided in subsection (10)

◦ be accountable to its sponsor for its performance

◦ not charge tuition and fees

◦ comply with all applicable state and local health, safety, and civil rights requirements

◦ not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, sex, handicap, or marital status

◦ subject itself to an annual financial audit

◦ maintain all financial records that constitute its accounting system in accordance with current law

◦ annually adopt and maintain an operating budget

◦ provide an annual financial report and program cost report information

◦ be governed by a body that exercises continuing oversight over charter school operations and reports its progress annually to the school’s sponsor

◦ not levy taxes or issue bonds secured by tax revenues

◦ provide instruction for at least the number of days required by law for other public schools, and may provide instruction for additional days


What is a high-performing charter school?

According to s. 1002.331, F.S., a high-performing charter school is a school that has met each of the following criteria:

◦ Received at least two school grades of "A" and no school grade below "B" for the last three years

◦ Received an unqualified opinion on each annual audit in the most recent three years for which such audits are available

◦ Did not receive a financial audit that revealed one or more of the financial emergency conditions set forth in s. 218.503, F.S., in the most three recent fiscal years for which audits are available. (Exception: Charter school-in-the-workplace can meet this criteria if the audit determines that the school has the monetary resources available to cover any deficiency, or that the deficiency does not result in a deteriorating financial condition)


Who are the BOD of River City Science Academy?

The River City Science Academy Board of Directors are dedicated unpaid professionals who are required to go through required board trainings and who meet regularly to adopt policies and guide the direction of the River City Science Academy.


Why should parents send their children to River City Science Academy?

Excellence is the River City Science Academy standard, and this is well demonstrated by RCSA students who are consistently exceeding state and district averages on Florida standardized tests.


What is STEM Education? Why does River City Science Academy focus on it so closely?

STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach.

RCSA believes that STEM education is vital to our students’ success. The skills gained from STEM education extend beyond those needed to be successful in STEM fields, preparing children with varied interests who move into any industry to have valuable skill sets that allow them to be successful.


What is “Character-Based Education“ at River City Science Academy?

River City Science Academy's approach to learning does not stop with academics. Rather, beginning in elementary grades, River City Science Academy's goal is to grow its students, into principled and effective adult leaders possessing key characteristics such as honesty, courage, persistence, integrity, and kindness through Character Education. River City Science Academy treats Character Education as it does its STEM courses, teaching these vital character traits the same way it teaches academic subjects. RCSA Students practice and exemplify 4 core values every day.

Core Values:






May a charter school be religious in nature? 

NO. As public schools, charter schools must be non-religious in their programs, admissions policies, governance, employment practices and all other operations, and the charter school’s curriculum must be completely secular. As with other public schools, charter schools may not provide religious instruction, but they may teach about religion from a secular perspective. All activities of a charter school must be non-religious, as is the case for all public schools. Public funds may not be used for religious purposes or to encourage religious activity. In addition, even if funded by non-public sources, religious activity may not be conducted, promoted, or encouraged during charter school activities by charter school employees or by other persons working with charter schools.


Who can apply?

Anyone who lives in Duval and neighboring counties can apply. Please refer to application page for the process. It is necessary for parents to submit an online application to be considered. This is the only way we know you are interested in attending. There is not any criteria to apply, and ALL students would be accepted if the space is available.


Do students have to apply every year?

No. Once enrolled students can attend River City Science Academy through graduation. Students attending a K – 8 campus are automatically enrolled as they transition to the middle-school level.


Learn more about charter schools by visiting the following links:,that%20fits%20their%20students'%20needs



7450 Beach Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32216

(904) 855-8010 ex.2


8160 Baymeadows Way W, Jacksonville, FL 32256

(904) 855-8010 ex.3



12397 Philips Hwy. Jacksonville, FL 32256

(904) 855-8010 ex.6




7565 Beach Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32216

(904) 855-8010 ex.1


10911 Old St Augustine Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32257

(904) 855-8010 ex.4



2002 San Pablo Rd. S. Jacksonville, FL 32224

(904) 855-8010 ex.5


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