FAQs - CHARTER SCHOOLS
YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES IN A CHARTER COMMUNITY
Did You Know?
Charter schools are public schools operated by a group of parents, teachers and/or community members
Charter schools do not charge tuition
Charter schools are bound by federal and state public school laws
Charter schools do not discriminate
Charter schools accept students with disabilities and/or special needs
Charter schools do not teach religion
Parents must apply to charter schools; the local school district will not automatically assign students a place at a charter school
Charter schools are bound by contract to be held accountable for meeting performance-based objectives
What is a Charter Contract?
Similar to all other service contracts, the charter contract is a legal agreement that sets the expectation for the School and its Authorizer over a set term. It defines both the School’s rights to manage the school and the Authorizer’s monitoring and oversight responsibilities. Stargate School has been authorized through the Adams 12 School District since its founding in 1994. Stargate's charter contract is reviewed at intervals set in the contract.
Who has Oversight for a Charter School?
A Charter school is accountable to the families in the school, the authorizer who sponsored the school's charter contract and the state. Charter schools are also required to participate in the state-mandated Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP). It is through the CSAP that charter schools, along with all other public schools in the state, are measured. School Accountability Reports (SAR) are issued annually for public schools in the state including charter schools.
If a Parent has a Concern with Stargate School, Where Should that Concern be Directed?
At Stargate, concerns should be voiced following the school's Communications Pathways.
Are Charter Schools Accredited?
The State Board of Education accredits public school districts. School districts in turn accredit the schools that meet their district accreditation standards. Charter schools are subject to all accreditation requirements.
How is a Charter School Funded?
Charter schools receive funding based on the same Per Pupil Revenues (PPR) formula designated by the state Legislature each year for all public schools. However, unlike traditional public schools, stand-alone Charter schools do not have a district or management organization to handle things like managing the budget, transportation, food service, janitorial services, payroll, etc. In addition, Charter schools are required to finance their facilities from per pupil operating revenue instead of voter approved bonds. In general, Charter school students receive about 80% of the dollars provided for traditional public school students. Stargate has maintained a history of strong financial performance in large part because of a strong Chief Financial Officer, an engaged Finance Committee made up of qualified parent volunteers and a Board committed to financial stability.
Who Provides Transportation to a Charter School?
Due to finances and the need to pay for facilities out of operating revenue, most Charter schools do not provide bus transportation for students. At Stargate, parents are responsible for students' transportation to/from school. They often organize car pools and or make other ride-sharing arrangements.
Do Charter Schools Serve Students with Special Needs?
Yes. The Charter Schools Act [C.R.S. 22-30.5-104 (3)] prohibits discrimination on the basis of need for special education services. As a public school, a Charter school must comply with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) and any state special education laws.
Are Charter Schools Required to Adopt State Content Standards and Use State Assessments?
Yes. The Charter school application must include a description of the school’s educational program “that has been proven to be effective, pupil performance standards, measurable annual achievement goals that are based on the state accreditation indicators…” [C.R.S. 22-30.5-106 (e)]. Additionally, the State Board of Education will not grant waivers to the state-mandated assessment program (CSAP) or School Accountability Reports [C.R.S. 22-30.5-104 (6)] or any other accreditation requirements.
How Do I Find Out How a Particular Charter School is Doing?
All public schools, including Charter schools, receive a School Accountability Report. Those reports are available at the Colorado Department of Education's SchoolView site.
What is the Charter School Institute?
In 2004, House Bill 04-1362 created the Charter School Institute (CSI). CSI has the authority to approve or deny Charter school applications, monitor Institute Charter school operations, and assist in conversion of a district Charter school to an Institute Charter school. CSI may authorize Charter schools in districts that have not retained exclusive authority to authorize Charter schools within their district. The Colorado Department of Education maintains a list of districts where the Colorado Charter School Institute may authorize a Charter school.