People feel strongly about charter programs. My role is to let parents understand all of their options. Charter schools are publicly funded programs. They are often housed in public school buildings. Sometimes the relationship is good, sometimes it is strained. It is good for parents to know if the school is going to have to move. This is very disruptive to any program.
Charter schools are not zoned. They choose their students by lottery. They are required to give priority in the lottery to families who live within the district where the school is located. When the school is new or under capacity they may often have extra seats and take children from outside of the district. There is no downside to registering for lots of charter programs. You don't need to rank them, or decide which one you like better until you are offered a seat. They often call families from their waitlist. Why not register for every one you like? Charter schools do not have Prek programs. They often begin in Kindergarten and may be K - 5, K - 8, K - 12, 6 - 8, 6 - 12, or 9 -12 programs.
Charter schools are not under the DOE's jurisdiction so they may use a different curriculum, different hours and hire teachers in different ways. They still have to take the same NY state tests and they answer to their own individual Board of Trustees to maintain their charter.
The Brooklyn New School and the Brooklyn Children's School accept their students by lottery but they are NOT charter schools. These schools do have prek programs. To search for Charters in a National Directory or SUNY authorized Charters.