Frequently Asked Questions

What is a charter school?

Charter schools are public schools. They operate under a “charter” contract between the charter school board and authorizer.

Charter schools commit to meeting performance goals outlined in their charter contract. These goals are usually academic, financial, and operational in nature. Charter schools have flexibility in how they achieve those goals.

Charter public schools are tuition-free and open to all students. They receive state funding based on a formula that considers the number of children enrolled in the school.


What is a charter authorizer?

Authorizers oversee charter schools. In Colorado, authorizers include the Charter School Institute and most school districts. Charter authorizers are responsible for:

  1. Setting and monitoring performance expectations.
  2. Reviewing and acting upon charter applications.

Learn more about Colorado’s charter school authorizer context and CSI.


There’s a charter school in my neighborhood, but it’s not listed on this CSI website. Why?

In Colorado, most school districts and the Colorado Charter School Institute can authorize charter schools. If a charter school isn’t listed on our website, then it is authorized by the local school district. In those cases, please contact the local school district for more information.


A charter school is proposing to locate in my community. How do I get involved?

The Colorado Charter School Institute (CSI) encourages parent and community engagement throughout the application process. Here are some ways to engage.


To whom is a charter school responsible?

A charter school is accountable to:

  • the families in the school,
  • the local school district or Charter School Institute, and
  • the state.

Learn how charter public schools are held accountable.


Where can I find out how the schools in my community are performing?

The Colorado Department of Education’s SchoolView online platform has information about each public school.  For information on how CSI schools are performing academically, financially, and operationally, visit the School Accountability page.


Do charter schools serve Special Education, Gifted Education, and English Language Learners?

Like all public schools, charter schools are open to all students. CSI schools serve all students, including students with special needs, students with gifted abilities, and students who are emerging multilingual learners.

Each CSI school has developed its own plan for identifying, serving, and evaluating students with special needs, students with gifted abilities, and students who are emerging multilingual learners. These program plans ensure schools are implementing programming in compliance with local, state, and federal requirements and in alignment with their unique educational models. If you have further questions, call 303-866-3299 or email


Where can I find parent and student testimonies of their experience with CSI charter schools?

CSI is committed to fostering high-quality charter school options that meet the needs of their communities. Each member of the 20,000+ CSI community of schools has a unique story on why they have chosen a charter school.  

Check out our selection of stories from CSI school staff, parents, students. Each story highlights what charter schools and choice mean to them.  


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