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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).
  • There are 238 charter schools in Colorado serving over 115,000 students.┬áThis 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

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