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 processHere 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.

Access more details about how charter school are held accountable here.

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 CSI_info@csi.state.co.us.

How are charters providing a safe return to learning during COVID-19?

In the Spring of 2020, each CSI school identified a committee of stakeholders, including teacher and family representatives, that developed a COVID-19 Response Plan for 2020-2021 school year. Plans addressed in-person and remote learning structures, layered mitigation strategies to reduce virus transmission, and strategies for implementing federal, state and local health mandates and Colorado Department of Education school specific recommendations. To learn more about the 2021-2022 school year click here.

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