CHARTER SCHOOL 101
Charter schools are tuition-free, public schools that have the flexibility to be more innovative and are held accountable for student achievement. Below are some basic facts about Colorado’s charter schools:
- Charter schools are public schools.
- Charter schools do not charge tuition.
- Charter schools use non-discriminatory enrollment practices.
- There are no “test-in” requirements to attend charter schools.
- Charter school students must take state assessment tests.
- Charter schools are subject to the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
- In 2015-16, there are 226 charter schools in Colorado serving over 108,000 students. This represents over 12% of total K-12 public school enrollment in the state.
- Charter schools serve a broad range of diverse students, including low-income, racial and ethnic minorities, and students with disabilities or other special needs.
- Colorado charter schools continue to attract a variety of students and are located in diverse geographical areas across the state.
- Charter school programs and academic designs are as diverse as the students they enroll. Some charters implement longer school days, while others implement curricula specifically designed for at-risk students, gifted children, pregnant/parenting teens, juvenile offenders, and more.
- Charter schools value and rely on a high level of parental involvement.
Charter School Funding
The academic success achieved by charter schools is especially impressive in light of the financial challenges they face:
- On average, charter schools in Colorado spend $660 per student from designated per-pupil operating revenue on facilities costs.
- School districts finance their facilities using property tax, mill levies, and taxpayer-backed bonds. Charter schools generally do not receive a proportionate share of these monies. As a result, money often comes out of the classroom to pay for buildings.
Source: Colorado League of Charter Schools