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District and Authorizer Information

District & Authorizer Information 

Colorado charter schools are public schools that operate by way of a contract (charter) that has been authorized by a local school district or the Colorado Charter School Institute (CSI). The following links provide more information about Colorado school districts and charter school authorizers.

General Information

  • Charter School Institute (CSI) - Authorized to accept applications for schools (1) in districts without exclusive chartering authority (ECA) and (2) in districts which have retained ECA, with permission to the applicant from the district's board of education. Click on the link to be directed to the CSI Web site.
  • Exclusive Chartering Authority (ECA) - includes a list of Colorado districts with/without ECA.
  • Waivers - Information about how charter schools apply for state waivers, rules and laws that pertain to waiver requests, and a current list of waivers requested by each charter school.
  • Colorado Association of Charter School Authorizers (CACSA) - CACSA was formed by and serves the professional staff in Colorado authorizers who work on all tasks associated with charter school oversight. These education leaders created CACSA to support all of Colorado’s authorizers, with the goals of improving charter school authoring practices, the quality of charter schools, and the education for all students in the state.

March Authorizer Summit

The March Authorizer Summit was recorded on March 5th. During this summit, the Schools of Choice Unit shared COVID-19 planning updates and updates on the CCSP grant. Renee Martinez, Principal Consultant of the Office of Online and Blended Learning, presented Remote Learning vs. Online Learning Beyond COVID-19. Colorado Association of Charter School Authorizers (CACSA) presented updates and hosted a discussion on Community-Centered Charter Schooling facilitated by Dr. Karega Rausch, President, and CEO of National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA).

Authorizer Dissemination In Conjunction with Charter School Institute

As a part of the dissemination activities included in the Federal Charter Schools Program Grant that the Schools of Choice Unit received in 2018, the Schools of Choice unit and Charter School Institute have partnered together to release a series of case studies to support charter schools across the state enhance their practices in the following areas: annual reporting, charter renewals, and charter accountability, particularly charter accountability during COVID-19.

Charter School Appeal Dispositions

District & Authorizer Resources

The Schools of Choice Team has been working diligently in conjunction with the Colorado League of Charter Schools, the Colorado Charter School Institute, and the Colorado Association of Charter School Authorizers – incorporating feedback both from charter schools and charter school authorizers - to update the free, on-demand, governing board training that CDE has provided for many years. From this collaboration, we are now happy to announce Governance Board Training Resources accessible to all charter school practitioners .

To access this trainings please click here

Equal Access Series Authorizer Session: Authorizers’ Role in Continuous Improvement (Recorded on 4/17/2021)

Recently, there has been an increase of authorizers wanting to provide additional support to charter schools to improve students' outcomes outside of typical authorizer interventions (e.g., closure or non-renewal).  The session “Authorizer’s Role in Continuous Improvement”  recorded on April 7th, 2021 focused on the authorizers' role in supporting continuous improvement through the Unified Improvement Plan and a board strategic plan.


2018 Colorado New Standard Application and Evaluation Standards

This application has been developed in collaboration with the Colorado Association of Charter School Authorizers (CACSA), the Colorado Charter School Institute (CSI), the Colorado League of Charter Schools (CLCS) and the Colorado Department of Education (CDE).  The application is intended to assist authorizers with creating rigorous charter review processes that also incorporate spaces for local priorities. Furthermore, it is designed to assist charter school founders of various backgrounds with developing proposals that meet community needs.  This application is aligned with the Colorado Charter School Program (CCSP) grant to allow opportunities for schools to address eligibility criteria and requirements that are part of the grant application at the same time they are working on a charter application for the authorizer.
2015 Colorado Standard Application
This standard application was revised to accommodate the changes to statute and best practice circa 2015.  It is a comprehensive tool of application elements to be considered in the development of charter school applications for authorizers.  This application is aligned to the Colorado Quality Standards.
2011 Colorado Charter School Standard Application, Checklist, and Review Rubric 
Developed to provide guidance in the writing and review of new charter school submissions. The target audience for this document is both the founding group (the applicant) as they develop a charter school application and the potential authorizer (the school district or Charter School Institute (CSI)) as they review and evaluate the quality and completeness of the application.

Charter Contracts, Renewals & Closures

Colorado Charter School: Sample Contract Language and Attachments

Intended to assist districts and charter schools in developing contracts that clearly spell out the rights and responsibilities of both parties and support high charter school student achievement and competent school operations. This second revision incorporates changes to Colorado law made during the 2009 and 2010 legislative sessions, including SB09-163 (accreditation) and HB10-1345 (emergency powers), and feedback received from charter schools and authorizers. This document is a companion to “Colorado Charter School: A Resource for Developing Charter School Contracts”.

Sample Contract Language and Attachments (docx)

Colorado Charter School: A Resource for Developing Charter School Contracts

Developed to provide useful information to assist districts and approved charter school applicants in writing effective charter school contracts. Because the charter contract is the foundational agreement that establishes a charter school’s autonomy and accountability and the district’s rights and obligations, it is essential that the contract meet legal requirements and adhere to best practices. This resource guide is a companion to the “Colorado Charter School Sample Contract Language and Attachments,” and complements the “Charter School Standard Application, Checklist and Review Rubric.”

Colorado Charter School: Sample Renewal Framework

A Colorado-specific guide to charter school renewal. Considering renewal of a charter school contract is a process that an authorizer and a charter school undertake every three to five years, unless a longer contract has been signed to address facility financing issues. This resource provides guidance, within the framework of Colorado laws, for authorizers to establish a renewal process.

Colorado Charter School: Sample Closure Framework

A Colorado-specific guide to charter school closure. Closing a charter school can present many challenges, given the data that must be compiled and analyzed, public meetings that must be held, and the political considerations that must be addressed before a charter school chooses to voluntarily close or before the authorizer votes to not renew or to revoke the charter school contract. This checklist of tasks in a template format was developed to assist authorizers and charter schools with the closure process.

Related Links

NOTE: None of the documents represented on this page, or referenced under the provided links, are meant to represent legal advice or to lessen the need for charter school developers or operators to seek legal counsel.