Colorado

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1993
Year Charter School Law Was Enacted
238
Estimated Number of Charter Schools in 2016-17
114,700
Estimated Number of Charter School Students in 2016-17
181
out of
240
Total Score

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Colorado’s law does not cap charter public school growth, provides a fair amount of autonomy and accountability to charter schools, and provides multiple authorizers or a robust appellate process for charter school applicants. However, it still provides inequitable funding to charter schools.

Potential areas for improvement in the law include ensuring equitable operational funding, ensuring equitable access to capital funding and facilities, and strengthening accountability for full-time virtual charter schools.

Component Scores

Are there caps on the growth of charter schools in this state?

Colorado law does not place any caps on charter school growth.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
1A
No numeric or geographic limits are placed on the number of charter public schools or students.
N/A
1B
If caps exist, there is room for growth.

Are a variety of charter schools allowed?

Colorado law allows new start-ups and public school conversions.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
2A
New startups.
Yes
2B
Public school conversions.

Are non-district authorizers available to which charter applicants may directly apply?

Colorado law allows all local school boards to authorize charter schools, provided that a majority of students (other than online students) at a charter school authorized by a district reside in that district or in contiguous school districts.
In addition, Colorado law has established an independent Charter School Institute with statewide chartering authority except in districts granted “exclusive chartering authority” by the state board of education. The law provides that exclusive chartering authority is a privilege and allows the state board to remove it for authorizers not meeting expectations. Colorado law automatically provides exclusive chartering authority to districts enrolling fewer than 3,000 pupils. It requires other local school boards to apply to the state board for exclusive chartering authority within the geographic boundaries of their district. It also provides that each local school board that was granted exclusive chartering authority by April 17, 2008 retains that authority until the local school board voluntarily relinquishes it or the state board revokes it pursuant to Colorado law.
The law allows an applicant rejected by a local school board or the Institute to appeal the decision to the state board of education. The law allows the state board of education to order the local school board or the Institute to authorize the school.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Some
3A
The state allows an applicant anywhere in the state to apply directly to a non-district authorizer(s).

Is an authorizer and overall program accountability system required?

Colorado law does not require local school boards to register or otherwise affirm their interest in authorizing to the state. However, it requires local school boards in districts with more than 3,000 pupils to apply to the state for exclusive chartering authority within the geographic boundaries of their district.
Colorado law does not provide for a regular review of authorizer performance by the state, but the legislature and governor can review the performance of the state charter institute as an authorizer at any time.

The law provides the state board with limited authority to sanction local school board authorizers through the power to grant (where not statutorily granted) or deny exclusive chartering authority and to revoke such authority if warranted. This sanctioning authority applies only to local school boards that seek, or seek to maintain, exclusive authority. Only the legislature may remove the chartering authority of the state charter institute.

Colorado law requires each authorizer to report annually to the state department of education information that the state requires for public school performance reporting. The law does not require authorizers to report annually on their authorizing activities.

Colorado law requires the state department of education to prepare a report and evaluation every three years for the governor and the state House and Senate education committees on the success or failure of Colorado’s charter schools, their relationship to other school reform efforts, and suggested changes in state law to strengthen the charter school program. It requires the state board to compile charter school evaluations from local district authorizers and the state charter institute. In preparing its evaluation of charter schools statewide, the law requires the state board to compare the performance of charter school students with the performance of ethnically and economically comparable groups of students in other public schools who are enrolled in academically comparable courses.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Some
4A
Registration process for school boards to affirm their interest in authorizing.
N/A
4B
Application process for other eligible authorizing entities (except a state charter schools commission).
Some
4C
Authorizer submission of annual report.
Some
4D
The ability for the state to conduct a review of an authorizer’s performance.
Some
4E
The ability for the state to sanction an authorizer for poor performance, including suspending an authorizer’s authority to approve new schools.
Yes
4F
Periodic formal evaluation of overall state charter school program and outcomes.

Is there adequate authorizer funding?

For district-chartered schools, Colorado law provides that district authorizers may retain the actual cost of each charter school’s per-pupil share of central administrative costs for services actually provided to the charter school, up to 15% of per-pupil funding for districts with 500 or fewer students and up to 5% of per-pupil funding for all other districts. For institute-chartered schools, the law provides that the institute may retain 3% of per-pupil funding (while the state department of education may retain up to 2% of per-pupil funding for its relevant administrative costs). Within 90 days after the end of each fiscal year, the law requires each authorizer to provide to each charter school it oversees an itemized accounting of all its central administrative overhead costs.

The law requires a separate contract for services purchased by a charter school from its authorizer.

The law prohibits the state charter institute from requiring charter schools to purchase services from the institute. The law similarly provides that a district-chartered school may purchase services at its discretion from the district.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
5A
A uniform statewide formula that guarantees annual authorizer funding that is not subject to annual legislative appropriations.
Yes
5B
Requirement to publicly report detailed authorizer expenditures.
Yes
5C
Separate contract for any services purchased from an authorizer by a school.
Yes
5D
Prohibition on authorizers requiring schools to purchase services from them.

Are there transparent charter application, review, and decisionmaking processes?

Colorado law sets forth a non-exclusive list of minimum general requirements for the content of all charter school applications. The law sets forth additional application requirements specific to conversions and educational service providers.
The law requires a public hearing but not an in-person interview for each charter application. The law requires the state charter institute to conduct a rigorous review of each application, but does not specify such a standard for local school board authorizers.

The law requires authorizers to make charter approval or denial decisions in a public meeting and state reasons for denial in writing.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
6A
Application elements for all schools.
Yes
6B
Additional application elements specific to conversion schools.
Yes
6C
Additional application elements specific to using educational service providers.
No
6D
Additional application elements specific to replications.
Some
6E
Requirement for thorough evaluation of each application, including an in-person interview and a public meeting.
No
6F
Application approval criteria.
Yes
6G
All charter approval or denial decisions made in a public meeting with authorizers stating reasons for denials in writing.

Are performance-based charter contracts required?

Colorado law requires a charter contract to be negotiated and executed between each charter school and its authorizer, based upon the approved charter application. The law specifies some administrative issues that contracts must address, but does not require clear articulation of the respective roles and responsibilities of charter schools and authorizers.
The law requires charter contracts to provide a description of the charter school’s measurable annual targets for the measures used to determine the levels of attainment of the performance indicators specified in state law and procedures for taking corrective action if student performance at the school falls below the described targets.

Colorado law requires that charter terms must be for at least four years. The law permits an authorizer and a charter school to agree to extend the length of a charter contract beyond five academic years for the purpose of enhancing the terms of any lease or financial obligation, but does not require periodic high-stakes reviews in such cases.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
7A
Being created as a separate document from the application and executed by the governing board of the charter school and the authorizer.
Some
7B
Defining the roles, powers, and responsibilities for the school and its authorizer.
Yes
7C
Defining academic, financial, and operational performance expectations by which the school will be judged based on a performance framework.
Some
7D
Providing an initial term of five operating years.

Are there comprehensive charter school monitoring and data collection processes?

Colorado law requires authorizers to annually review a charter school’s performance. At a minimum, the law requires the review to include the charter school’s progress in meeting its objectives and the results of the charter school’s most recent annual financial audit. The law requires authorizers to provide to the charter school written feedback from the review and include the results of the charter school’s annual review in the body of evidence that the authorizer takes into account in deciding whether to renew or revoke the charter and that supports the renegotiation of the charter contract.
Colorado law requires charter schools to meet generally accepted standards of fiscal management and to annually complete a governmental audit that complies with state requirements. In addition, the law requires all public schools, including charters, to post comprehensive financial information online.

If a charter school is required to implement a turnaround plan pursuant to state law for a second consecutive year, the law requires the charter school to present to its authorizer, in addition to the turnaround plan, a summary of the changes made by the charter school to improve its performance, the progress made in implementing the changes, and evidence, as requested by the authorizer, that the charter school is making sufficient improvement to attain a higher accreditation category within two school years or sooner. If the authorizer finds that the charter school’s evidence of improvement is not sufficient or if the charter school is required to implement a turnaround plan for a third consecutive school year, the law provides that the authorizer may revoke the school’s charter.

Colorado law requires authorizers to annually report to the state department of education state-required information to produce annual school performance reports on each school, which are made public by the state.

Colorado law allows authorizers to request, from the state commissioner of education, temporary intervention powers over a charter school or charter management organization in certain emergency situations. The law sets clear guidelines as to how, when, and for long an authorizer may intervene in such situations if granted authority by the state commissioner.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
8A
Required annual school performance reports.
Yes
8B
Financial accountability for charter schools (e.g., generally accepted accounting principles, independent annual audit reported to authorizer).
Yes
8C
Authorizer authority to conduct oversight activities.
Yes
8D
Authorizer notification to its schools of perceived problems, with opportunities to remedy such problems.
Yes
8E
Authorizer authority to take appropriate corrective actions or exercise sanctions short of revocation.
No
8F
Authorizer may not request duplicative data submission from its charter schools and may not use performance framework to create cumbersome reporting requirements.

Are there clear processes for renewal, nonrenewal, and revocation decisions?

Colorado law requires local school boards to provide an annual report on the performance of a charter school and to use such reports in renewal decisions. It also states that before a charter expires, the charter board must submit a renewal report and such report must be used in the renewal process. These provisions don’t apply to the state authorizer.
Colorado law requires charter schools seeking renewal to submit a renewal application.

The law requires authorizers to adopt and revise as necessary procedures and timelines for the charter renewal process. It requires authorizers to ensure that each of the charter schools authorized by them receives a copy of these procedures and timelines.

Colorado law states general grounds for non-renewal or revocation.

The law requires authorizers to consider in a renewal application the school’s performance and progress over the charter term.

For district-chartered schools, Colorado law provides that a charter may be renewed for successive periods. It does not define or limit the length of renewal contracts issued by districts. For schools chartered by the state institute, the law provides that charter contracts may be renewed for successive terms of up to five academic years and that a charter school and the institute may agree to extend the length of a renewed contract beyond five years for the purpose of enhancing the terms of any lease or financial obligation.

Colorado law provides that least 15 days prior to the date on which an authorizer will consider whether to revoke or renew a charter, the authorizer must provide to the charter school a written recommendation, including the reasons supporting the recommendation, concerning whether to revoke or renew the charter. It does not require authorizers to provide charter schools with the opportunity to respond.

The law allows schools to appeal a decision to revoke or non-renew the school to the state board of education.

Colorado law requires authorizers to make charter renewal, non-renewal, or revocation decisions in a public meeting and state reasons for non-renewal or revocation in writing.

Colorado law requires each authorizer to adopt procedures for closing a charter school following revocation or nonrenewal of the charter school’s charter. At a minimum, the law provides that the procedures shall ensure that:
• When practicable and in the best interest of the students of the charter school, the charter school continues to operate through the end of the school year. If the authorizer determines it is necessary to close the charter school prior to the end of the school year, the authorizer shall work with the charter school to determine an earlier closure date.
• The authorizer works with the parents of the students who are enrolled in the charter school when the charter is revoked or not renewed to ensure that the students are enrolled in schools that meet their educational needs; and
• The charter school meets its financial, legal, and reporting obligations during the period that the charter school is concluding operations.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Some
9A
Authorizer must issue school performance renewal reports to schools whose charter will expire the following year.
Yes
9B
Schools seeking renewal must apply for it.
Yes
9C
Authorizers must issue renewal application guidance that provides an opportunity for schools to augment their performance record and discuss improvements and future plans.
No
9D
Ability to have a differentiated process for renewal of high-performing charter schools.
Yes
9E
Authorizers must use clear criteria for renewal and nonrenewal/revocation.
Yes
9F
Authorizers must ground renewal decisions based on evidence regarding the school’s performance over the term of the charter contract in accordance with the performance framework set forth in the charter contract.
No
9G
Requirement that authorizers close chronically low-performing charter schools unless exceptional circumstances exist.
Yes
9H
Authorizers must have the authority to vary length of charter renewal contract terms based on performance or other issues.
Some
9I
Authorizers must provide charter schools with timely notification of potential revocation or nonrenewal (including reasons) and reasonable time to respond.
Yes
9J
Authorizers must provide charter schools with due process for nonrenewal and revocation decisions (e.g., public hearing, submission of evidence).
Yes
9K
All charter renewal, nonrenewal, and revocation decisions must be made in a public meeting, with authorizers stating reasons for nonrenewals and revocations in writing.
Yes
9L
Authorizers must have school closure protocols to ensure timely parent notification, orderly student and record transitions, and property and asset disposition.
No
9M
Any transfer of charter contracts from one authorizer to another are only allowed if they are approved by the state.

Is there transparency regarding educational service providers?

Colorado law requires the following within any charter application that proposes to contact with an ESP:
(I) A summary of the performance data for all of the schools the education management provider is managing at the time of the application or has managed previously, including documentation of academic achievement and school management success;

(II) An explanation of and evidence demonstrating the education management provider's capacity for successful expansion while maintaining quality in the schools it is managing;

(III) An explanation of any existing or potential conflicts of interest between the governing board of the proposed charter school and the education management provider; and

(IV) A copy of the actual or proposed performance contract between the governing board for the proposed charter school and the education management provider that specifies, at a minimum, the following material terms: (A) performance evaluation measures; (B) the methods of contract oversight and enforcement that the governing board will apply; (C) the compensation structure and all fees that the proposed charter school will pay to the education management provider; and (D) the conditions for contract renewal and termination.

The law requires that similar criminal history record checks and fingerprinting requirements applicable to other public schools shall also be mandatory for on-site employees of ESPs who regularly come into contact with students.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
10A
All types of educational service providers (both for-profit and nonprofit) are allowed to operate all or parts of schools.
Yes
10B
The charter application requires (1) performance data for all current and past schools operated by the ESP, and (2) explanation and evidence of the ESP’s capacity for successful growth while maintaining quality in existing schools.
Yes
10C
A performance contract is required between the independent charter school board and the ESP, with such contract approved by the school’s authorizer.
Some
10D
School governing boards operate as entities completely independent of any ESP, individuals compensated by an ESP are prohibited from serving as voting members on such boards, and existing and potential conflicts of interest between the two entities are required to be disclosed and explained in the charter application.
No
10E
Provides that charter school governing boards must have access to ESP records necessary to oversee the ESP contract.
No
10F
An ESP must annually provide information to its charter school governing board on how that ESP spends public funding it receives when the ESP is performing a public function under applicable state law.
Yes
10G
Requires that similar criminal history record checks and fingerprinting requirements applicable to other public schools shall also be mandatory for on-site employees of ESPs who regularly come into contact with students.

Are the schools fiscally and legally autonomous with independent charter school boards?

Colorado law explicitly provides for charter school fiscal and legal autonomy. The law also states that a charter school shall be administered and governed by a governing body in a manner agreed to in the charter contract and requires charter schools to organize as nonprofit corporations.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
11A
Fiscally autonomous schools (e.g., schools have clear statutory authority to receive and disburse funds; incur debt; and pledge, assign, or encumber assets as collateral).
Yes
11B
Legally autonomous schools (e.g., schools have clear statutory authority to enter into contracts and leases, sue and be sued in their own names, and acquire real property).
Yes
11C
Independent school governing boards created specifically to govern their charter schools.

Are there clear student enrollment and lottery procedures?

Colorado law requires public charter schools to provide open enrollment to any student in the state. However, it also provides that a prospective charter school may not execute a charter contract with a local district unless a majority of the proposed school’s pupils, other than online pupils, will reside in the chartering district or in contiguous districts.
The law provides that a charter school is subject to all federal and state laws and constitutional provisions prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, ancestry, or need for special education services.
Colorado law provides for charter schools to make enrollment decisions in a nondiscriminatory manner specified by the charter school applicant in the application and does not require the mandatory enrollment preferences specified in the model law. The law permits charter schools to negotiate optional enrollment preferences with their authorizer, but the only automatically permitted optional preference is for founders’ children.
The law provides that a charter school must admit students through a publicly verifiable selection process that is either random in nature or first-come-first-served.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
12A
Open enrollment to any student in the state.
Yes
12B
Anti-discrimination provisions regarding admissions.
No
12C
Required enrollment preferences for previously enrolled students within conversions and for prior-year students within charter schools.
No
12D
Lottery requirements.

Is there automatic exemption from many state and district laws and regulations?

The state board of education has promulgated rules identifying state statutes and rules that are automatically waived for all charter schools. Colorado law also allows a district authorizer or the state charter institute to apply to the state board, on behalf of a charter school, for a waiver of a state statute or rule that is not automatically waived for charter schools by rule.
Colorado law requires charter school teachers to be certified, unless a waiver is granted in the charter by the state board, which has happened without exception for over 200 schools since 1993.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
13A
Exemptions from all laws, except those covering health, safety, civil rights, student accountability, employee criminal history checks, open meetings, freedom of information, and generally accepted accounting principles.
Some
13B
Exemption from state teacher certification requirements.

Is there an automatic collective bargaining exemption?

The law doesn’t explicitly address this issue, but has been consistently interpreted to exempt charter schools from district collective bargaining agreements.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
14A
Charter schools authorized by nonlocal board authorizers are exempt from participation in any outside collective bargaining agreements.
Yes
14B
Charter schools authorized by local boards are exempt from participation in any district collective bargaining agreements.

Are multischool charter contracts and/or multicharter contract boards allowed?

According to Colorado law, a charter school network may hold one or more charter contracts through one or more authorizers for purposes of operating more than one school, may be governed by a single governing body, may use one or more charter contracts if the charter school network operates more than one school through the same authorizer, is authorized to make necessary and appropriate expenditures from any lawful source for central office purposes, and may allocate funds among the schools that it operates as permitted by law and consistent with the terms of the charter contract. The law requires independent accountability for each school.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
15A
Oversee multiple schools linked under a single contract with independent fiscal and academic accountability for each school.
Yes
15B
Hold multiple charter contracts with independent fiscal and academic accountability for each school.

Is there eligibility and access to extracurricular and interscholastic activities?

Colorado law states that charter schools are eligible to participate in all extracurricular and interscholastic activities available to noncharter public schools and allows charter school students in schools not providing extracurricular and interscholastic activities to have access to those activities at noncharter public schools.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
16A
Laws or regulations explicitly state that charter school students and employees are eligible to participate in all extracurricular and interscholastic activities available to noncharter public school students and employees.
Yes
16B
Laws or regulations explicitly allow charter school students in schools not providing extracurricular and interscholastic activities to have access to those activities at noncharter public schools.

Is there clear identification of special education responsibilities?

For a charter school authorized by a local board of education, Colorado law provides that the school district serves as the LEA for special education purposes. For a charter school authorized by the state charter institute, it provides that the institute serves as the LEA for special education. In either case, the district or the institute is ultimately responsible for providing and funding special education in the schools it charters.
The law specifies that the school district of residence is responsible for the excess costs of educating students with disabilities enrolled in a charter school. In addition, Colorado law provides for an insurance option, whereby charter schools may pay their district LEA a per-pupil amount for all students as a form of insurance for high-cost special education students.

The law requires districts to provide their charters with an itemized accounting of all district special education costs along with the basis for any special education charges imposed against their charters.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
17A
Clarity regarding which entity is the local education agency (LEA) responsible for providing special education services.
Yes
17B
Clarity regarding the flow of federal, state, and local special education funds to the designated LEA.
Yes
17C
Clarity regarding funding for low-incident, high-cost services for charter schools (in the same amount and/or in a manner similar to other LEAs).
No
17D
Clarity that charter schools have access to all regional and state services and supports available to traditional districts.

Is there equitable operational funding and equal access to all state and federal categorical funding?

Colorado law provides that charter schools are entitled to 100% of district per-pupil operating revenues for each pupil they enroll and 100% of the district per-pupil online funding for each online pupil they enroll, minus administrative costs up to a limit. The law also requires districts to share locally raised mill levy override funds with charter schools. A fund has been established to equalize funding for state-authorized schools, but resources still need to be allocated to that fund.Colorado law provides that charter schools are eligible for their proportionate share of federal and state categorical funding. In practice, there are some implementation problems with this provision where funds are passed through district LEAs.

The law provides that charter schools that meet state reimbursement criteria are eligible for transportation funding on the same basis as school districts.
State law requires school districts to annually report how much mill levy dollars they receive and how many of those are provided to charter schools.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
18A
Equitable operational funding statutorily driven.
Yes
18B
Equal access to all applicable categorical federal and state funding and clear guidance on the pass-through of such funds.
Yes
18C
Funding for transportation similar to school districts.
Some
18D
Annual report offering district and charter school funding comparisons and including annual recommendations to the legislature for any needed equity enhancements.

Is there equitable access to capital funding and facilities?

Colorado law provides a per-pupil charter facilities funding program. The state will provide $254 per student in 2017-18.Colorado law allows charter schools to apply for competitive grants from the state’s public school facility financing program, the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) program.

Colorado law creates the “Charter School Matching Moneys Loan Program,” which is set up to provide a state loan for qualified schools (i.e., investment grade schools) to meet any required matches under the state’s public school facility financing program (i.e., BEST).
The law requires school districts to invite charter schools to discuss their capital construction needs before the district submits a bond request or floats a bond for facilities funding. Districts are not required, however, to include charter schools as part of their requests or bonds.
The law requires school districts to include at least one charter representative on any long-term mill levy planning committees, invite each charter to participate in ballot submission discussions, and, if the district doesn’t include a charter’s needs, provide a written justification as to why these needs weren’t included. The law requires the creation of an annual report by the Colorado Department of Education that compiles the amount of mill levy revenue in each school district and the amount of the mill levy shared with charters in each school district.
Colorado law provides a mechanism for limited credit enhancement for eligible, highly rated bond transactions for charter schools by using the state’s moral obligation to back up to $500 million in debt.

Colorado law provides that the Educational and Colorado Cultural Facility Authority (CECFA) may issue bonds on behalf of charter schools. The charter school debt reserve fund, backed by the moral obligation pledge of the state, enhances charter schools’ ability to borrow funds from CECFA and to obtain more favorable rates.

The law specifies that a charter school may not be charged rent for using space in a school district facility, although other costs for facilities operations and maintenance must be negotiated between the charter school and the school district. The law explicitly allows charter schools to lease or purchase land from the state.
The law requires that each school district that authorizes a charter school must prepare a list of any vacant or underused buildings and land and provide the list, upon request, to charter schools authorized by the school district, charter school applicants, and other interested persons, and must also post on their website. Within 45 days after the list is made available, charter schools or applicants may apply to use the building or land as the location for the charter school, and make a decisions in a public meeting held no later than 90 days after the list is posted, including public disclosure of reasons for any disapproval.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Facilities Funding
Yes
19A
A per-pupil facilities allowance that annually reflects actual average district capital costs.
Yes
19B
A state grant program for charter school facilities.
Yes
19C
Equal access to existing state facilities programs available to noncharter public schools.
Access to Public Space
No
19D
A requirement for districts to provide school district space or funding to charter schools if the majority of that schools’ students reside in that district.
Some
19E
Right of first refusal to purchase or lease at or below fair market value a closed, unused, or underused public school facility or property.
Access to Financing Tools
Yes
19F
A state loan program for charter school facilities.
Yes
19G
Equal access to tax-exempt bonding authorities or allowing charter schools to have their own bonding authority
Yes
19H
Pledging the moral obligation of the state to help charter schools obtain more favorable bond financing terms.
Yes
19I
The creation and funding of a state charter school debt reserve fund.
Yes
19J
The inclusion of charter schools in school district bonding and mill levy requests.
Yes
19K
A mechanism to provide credit enhancement for charter school facilities.
Other
Yes
19L
Charter schools allowed to contract at or below fair market value with a school district, a college or university, or any other public or for-profit or nonprofit private entity for the use of facility for a school building.
No
19M
Certain entities allowed to provide space to charter schools within their facilities under their preexisting zoning and land use designations.
No
19N
Charter school facilities exempt from ad valorem taxes and other assessment fees not applicable to other public schools.

Is there access to relevant employee retirement systems?

Colorado law requires that charter schools participate in the public employees’ retirement association.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
Yes
20A
Charter schools have access to relevant state retirement systems available to other public schools.
No
20B
Charter schools have the option to participate (i.e., not required).

Are there provisions for full-time virtual charter schools?

Colorado’s law includes a small number of the model law’s provisions regarding full-time virtual charter schools.
The law requires the state board of education to adopt rules regarding quality standards for such schools covering areas such as: governance, vision, and organization; standards-based curricula and data-driven instructional practices; technological capacity and support; internet safety; sound financial and accounting practices and resources; student academic performance and improvement; monitoring and assessment of student academic performance and improvement; course completion measurements; attendance tracking procedures; data analysis, management, and reporting; guidance counseling; engagement of parents and communities in online programs and online schools; provisions for students with special needs, including gifted and talented students and English language learners; and program evaluation and improvement.

The law also requires annual reporting from such schools to their authorizers. It also requires such schools to submit a request to the authorizer and the department of education of any intent to amend the program's or school's application for certification to expand grade levels served by the program or school. Approval for such changes must be obtained from the department.

Subcomponents

Key
Yes
Some
No
No
21A
An authorizing structure whereby full-time virtual charter schools that serve students from more than one district may be approved only by an authorizer with statewide chartering jurisdiction and authority, full-time virtual charter schools that serve students from one school district may be authorized by that school district, and a cap is placed on the total amount of funding that an authorizer may withhold from a full-time virtual charter school.
No
21B
Legally permissible criteria and processes for enrollment based on the existence of supports needed for student success.
No
21C
Enrollment level provisions that establish maximum enrollment levels for each year of a charter contract, with any increases in enrollment from one year to the next based on whether the school meets its performance requirements.
Some
21D
Accountability provisions that include virtual-specific goals regarding student enrollment, attendance, engagement, achievement, truancy, and attrition.
No
21E
Funding levels per student based on costs proposed and justified by the operators.
No
21F
Performance-based funding whereby full-time virtual charter schools are funded via a performance-based funding system based on meeting the accountability performance provisions.