2018 PPI Score
School Choice Score: 0%
Charter Schools Score: 82%
Colorado rose in this year’s rankings to receive a “B.” Colorado has seen increased net growth
in the charter sector and has allowed for more innovation in established schools. In addition to districts, a semi-independent institute authorizes Colorado’s charters. However, the law prevents the institute from authorizing schools in districts where the State Board of Education has granted exclusive chartering authority. This limits opportunities for operators to establish more diverse schools.
CER also ranks Colorado highly because it provides charter schools with significant operational autonomies and a comparatively strong funding base.
- Law passed in 1993
- Number of charters: 250
- Estimated charter enrollment: 114,700 (up 5 percent from 2015- 16)
- Colorado does not cap the number of students who are attending charter schools
- Colorado allows charter schools to contract with all education service providers and virtual charter schools are allowed
- Charters are entitled to 100 percent of the per-pupil operating funds their students would receive in district schools minus up to 5 percent in administrative fees
- A study by the University of Arkansas concluded that charter schools in Denver receive 21 percent less in per-pupil funding than traditional public schools
- Colorado receives only 9 of 15 possible points for “authorizing” because the Colorado Charter Schools Institute (CCSI) can only authorize in locales where the state has not granted districts exclusive operating authority. Because the CCSI cannot authorize schools in every part of Colorado, districts authorize most charters in the state. While districts like Denver have earned a reputation for strong authorizing practices, many districts still challenge or deny high quality charter applications. They may also provide inequitable funding for charters.
- Colorado receives a high “growth” score because the state does not cap the number of charter schools and there is steady expansion of charters.
- Charter schools receive automatic waivers from many laws and regulations that govern districts. This provides a reasonable amount of autonomy.
- Facilities funding for charter schools is extremely limited ($98 per-pupil in 2017). The law provides for operations funding to be about 95 percent of that allotted to district schools, but there is little to no accountability for equitable funding, and equitable funding practices vary widely between authorizing districts.
Teacher Quality Score: 68%
Delivering Well Prepared Teachers D+
Expanding the Pool of Teachers F
Identifying Effective Teachers C+
Retaining Effective Teachers C-
Exiting Ineffective Teachers C-